Visiting Montreal or being “forced” to explore the city due to the current travel restrictions? Then check-out this one day itinerary in the Mile End, the artsiest and coolest district in the city.
Edit on September 29, 2020: With Montreal now in the Red Zone (Level ‘red‘ is the Quebec government’s highest alert), you can not dine in restaurants or go to bars, brasseries, taverns and casinos. They are closed for 28 days. Public venues like cinemas, libraries and museums are also closed until October 28, 2020.
Self-care is a full time job, and the Mile-End has amazing places for that. MY self-care routine starts with coffee. Well, it’s more of a daily ritual that I can not let go of. I start the day with prayers and coffee (and Instagram too. I am trying to do less of that). I make my own coffee at home but I still enjoy going to the many cafés in the Mile-End.
Are you a coffee person too? then check out Café Olimpico 124 Rue Saint- Viateur W. Due to Covid-19, they only do takeout.
While Café Olimpico is very popular in the Mile-End, there are many other cool places for coffee lovers. Pastel Rita on 5761 St Laurent Blvd is one of my favorite places. I love the colours and how vibrant it is! If you are not into coffee, you can still try their Chai Latte. The late-night Café Club Social, on 180 Rue Saint- Viateur W, is also worth a visit. Their patio seating is really nice !
If you need some bagels with that coffee, Saint-Viateur Bagel got you! Saint-Viateur Bagel is quite an institution in the Mile-End. You may be lucky and see some famous faces there, you know… famous faces like Idris Elba or Mika (Mika was so sweet to my sister and I!).
Let’s talk real self-care right now. When was the last time you went for a massage or had a facial? Since you are roaming in the Mile-End, check out the following places. These are places that I go to and I am confortable suggesting to you.
Nubia Spa vert is an eco-friendly Spa on 5344, Saint-Laurent Boulevard. They offer services such as massage therapy, osteopathy, private sauna infrared therapy, organic spa treatments and organic facials, just to mention a few. For a waxing session or a Lash lift, check out La Loge on 5237 Park Avenue. I love the fact that they use bio products that are environmental friendly.
Want to get a vegan manicure or pedicure done instead? Salon Vong on 4541 St Laurent Blvd, is the place to go. The owner is really nice! If you want to support a young black woman who started her own home based nail salon in the Mile-End, reach out to the talented The Nailogist.
I know “coffee” is not breakfast but I can’t really eat that much before 10 am. If you do more than coffee in the morning, there are many places to get brunch in the Mile-End. Pastel Rita has some nice Sandwich Déjeuner (breakfast sandwich) or you could go to Arts Café on 201 Fairmount W.
Arts Café has brunch daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can have a breakfast sandwich, shakshuka, fattoush with labneh or a breakfast poutine. Terrasse service is also available.
Restaurant B&M, on 120 Rue Saint- Viateur W, is next to the Café Olimpico. I used to like the ambiance before Covid-19. I don’t know if sit-ins are allowed right now but you can definitely order for takeout.
My latest discovery is Le Dépanneur Café, a simple daytime cafe with bohemian decor & live music, for breakfast & fine grilled cheeses, on 206 Rue Bernard W. Terrasse service is also available.
I am the “nap type” after brunch. But if you are not like me (kudos to you), there are a ton of activities you can do. Some people feel the need to rest, others feel the need to walk off all the food. A self-guided walk tour of the neighborhood might be something to consider.
You can walk to the Mont-Royal. It is home to a sloping park and forested pathways that make it a popular spot for joggers, cyclists, picnickers, and during the winter, even cross-country skiers. It’s a large park with different levels, including various lookouts that offer great views of the city skyline, a human-made pond, trails, and green fields.
Little Italy is also 20 mins walk from the Mile-End. It origins reach back to between 1946 and 1960. There are Italian-Canadian restaurants, cafés, bars, and shops, and the neighborhood has a friendly and ambient atmosphere. You can also visit the Church of the Madonna della Difesa, built by Italian immigrants and inaugurated in 1919. It’s celebrated for its beautifully painted cupola and ceiling frescoes.
If shopping is what you feel like doing, I recommend the following second-hand or vintage stores:
- Ruse Boutique, 5141 St Laurent Blvd
- Annex Vintage, 5364 St Laurent Blvd
- LNF SHOP, 5319 Park Avenue
- Empire Exchange, 5225 Saint-Laurent Boulevard and 6796 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
- Bohême Vintage, 206 Rue Saint- Viateur W
It’s the evening and that afternoon walk or shopping may have made you really hungry. Don’t look too far, La Khaïma on142 Fairmount W. is the place to go!
It is one of my favorite places in Montreal. The owner is a lovely soul. I love the service and the warm ambiance. You can sit in or order for take out (I do the latter since Covid-19).
What do you think of these suggestions?