Exploring Les Quartiers du Canal

Les Quartiers du Canal consists of three neighbourhoods: Griffintown, Little Burgundy, and Saint-Henri. Situated along the popular Lachine Canal in southwest Montreal, the historically industrial area is quickly becoming a collection of trendy neighbourhoods, each with their own unique character. The McGill Tribune compiled some of the exhibits, restaurants, cafés, and shops to explore throughout the neighbourhoods of Les Quartiers du Canal. 

Griffintown

In the heart of the neighbourhood’s evolving landscape of old and new buildings, the Montreal Art Centre showcases work from local artists. The “Emerging Artist Exhibition” is an upcoming show that will run Nov. 16–28, displaying the work of Montreal-based artists who are new to the scene. They also offer a variety of events, from concerts to comedy shows. 

For more contemporary art, head over to Arsenal. Inside a repurposed shipyard, the space houses many exhibitions from both Canadian and international artists. This fall, the “In Conversation” series of events provide an opportunity to learn more about current artists’ collections and creative processes. 

There is no shortage of good places to eat in Griffintown. One of two locations in Montreal, Griffintown’s La Bête à Pain is a large, colourful café. Their open kitchen allows the customers to get a peek into the baking that goes on behind the scenes. La Bête à Pain serves both breakfast and lunch, along with numerous tasty pastries and breads available throughout the day. 

For an evening out, the upscale Bird Bar is best known for its unique combination of fried chicken and champagne. However, its extensive menu includes vegan options, ensuring that there is something for everyone in this restaurant. Bird Bar’s warm atmosphere and live DJ makes it a great spot to celebrate a special occasion.

Little Burgundy

While the Atwater Market and Corona Theatre are popular staples of this neighbourhood, many visitors overlook the many antique shops along rue Notre-Dame. Wander into Milord Antiquites Inc. for a one of a kind collection of furniture spanning three centuries, or try Baronne de l’Insolite to find an eclectic mix of old and modern decor, including vintage items from the 19th century and the Art Deco era.

Central to the neighbourhood, Little Burgundy has a number of unique places to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Drinkerie Ste-Cunégonde, a retro bar, is a popular evening spot for people in this neighbourhood, offering a large assortment of drinks and a terrace in the summer season. Though food options are limited, it is surrounded by restaurants and within walking distance of the canal, making it a great place to relax with a drink after a day out. Just across the street from the neighbourhood’s famed Joe Beef restaurant is Burgundy Lion, an English pub with a Montreal twist. This lively spot hosts a variety of events throughout the week. They often have soccer matches playing on their TV screens, making it a perfect place to enjoy a drink and camaraderie while cheering on your favourite team. Swing by on Monday nights to catch the bar’s weekly trivia night or try their Sunday afternoon high tea service in their year-round solarium. 

Saint-Henri

A little further from downtown, Saint-Henri offers lots of green space to relax in. The Lachine Canal is a well-known spot to enjoy views of the water and city. However, tucked between two metro stops, Parc du Premier-Chemin-de-Fer runs through the neighbourhood parallel to rue Saint-Jacques and provides a nice area for an afternoon stroll or bike ride. On a side street off of rue Notre-Dame, Librairie Saint-Henri Books is an independent bookstore that offers a wide collection of English and French books for all ages. A corner with some armchairs gives the space a homey and welcoming feel. Numerous cafés scatter Saint-Henri, but for those looking for something sweet, check out Rustique. The small café offers a wide selection of delicious cakes, pies, and cookies. Drop in to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee with a sweet treat. Rustique is best known for its excellent selection of pies, including seasonal flavors such as blueberry camerise, pumpkin, or lemon meringue.

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