Even before the shop in Mile End, Catherine and I were already regular visitors. We’d bike up from Verdun on weekends and spend the day exploring the bustling streets and stores. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the past ten years, but that same vibrant feeling is still there.
Mile End is brimming with history, known for its bagels, music and artists. It’s an old manufacturing district, but the industrial buildings along the railway track have mostly now been taken over by film, technology and communications companies at this point. There are still vestiges of its textile past, like the enormous rusted billboard under the overpass, and places like our shop. Our workshop-boutique was a clothing manufacturer in the 1940s and then home to a hat manufacturer, from 1953 right up until we moved atelier b in, in 2011. The neighborhood is changing, but it’s still a place where trends begin and cultures come together.
We’ve been exploring up past the tracks, to nearby Mile Ex and Little Italy, so I’ve included some of the places we’ve discovered over the past few years, even though they’re a little further. Enjoy our little list, and happy touring around town!
You can also stop by our shop for a paper version of the list, so you can take it along on your long walks. And we’re in the process of creating one for Old Montreal too!
For those slow weekday mornings or a special treat on an easy Sunday, here’s a list of delicious brunch spots with menus you can’t make at home!
Authentic Italian coffee, trendy pink décor, a cozy coop—all just steps away. We love taking a walk down to Club Social to sit on the patio with a book, or just to people-watch. When it’s hot, try their Bob-au-lait—a unsweetened iced coffee. Pastel Rita is pink, pink, pink. And their welcome’s as warm as their walls. I like sitting there to write in the quiet and the natural light. Try their ham and pickle sandwich made with bread from nearby Chez Guillaume bakery. Cagibi is a Mile End institution that was forced to relocate after rents skyrocketed in the area—sadly this is becoming the new Mile End reality. Now they’ve crossed the tracks over to Little Italy. You’ll find live music and vegan eats, and the same vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, where everyone’s free to be themselves.
For the best atmosphere and ingredients, these are our first choices: a comforting bowl of soup, a raw bar, and something out of the ordinary.
We may not be in our twenties anymore, but we still love going for a drink! Whether it’s a pint, an Old Fashioned or a glass of organic white wine.
Publisher Drawn and Quarterly’s two beautiful bookshops can be found along Bernard Street—one for adults and one for kids. You’ll find a curated collection of fiction, poetry, graphic novels and magazines, including a wide range of indie presses. Make a post-brunch stop at their main store or their kid’s shop just down the street.
Writing and drawing materials, or beautiful wrapping paper: here are four spots to find everything from notebooks, paper and pens to lovely little objects.
We love hunting for vintage pieces in these well-curated consignments shops, finding treasures from classic leather jackets or jeans to cheerful sequins, embroidery or neon.
Bernard is where it’s at for new and vintage vinyl. And don’t be shy—the knowledgeable staff are more than happy to help find just what you’re looking for.
You can find a little cluster of galleries on De Gaspé in one of the industrial buildings, but when it’s nice out, walk a little further and you’ll find two more—they’re well worth the detour!
From left to right:
Articule, 262 Av. Fairmount. Photo: Guy L'Heureux.
La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, 4296 Saint-Laurent.
Centre Clark, 5455 de Gaspé #114.
Diagonale, 5455 de Gaspé #110.
Optica, 5445 de Gaspé #106.
A quiet spot, ice cream and flowers
Our three favourite places to take a little time for yourself. A walk in the field along the desire lines, a bouquet picked along the path or bought from Tamey under her beautiful birdcages, and an ice cream that’s worth waiting in line for.
Thank you to Al Gofa for the cover illustration (2013).