The sun has set on finals season and students are free from the stifling shackles of stress. It’s time to bundle up, gather some friends, and venture outside the McGill bubble this weekend. With the bitter cold of the January snow, there is no better way to explore new neighbourhoods of Montreal than via the conveniently-underground and warm metro system. Grab an STM day pass and enjoy a day filled with delicious food and incredible sights, and discover all that the orange line has to offer.
Start the day in the heart of Little Italy: Jean-Talon market, a local mainstay features a rich array of local produce and artisanal products. Once there, grab a coffee from Café Saint-Henri for a locally-roasted blend to keep warm while strolling the aisles and exploring all that the vendors have to offer. Students can stock up on all their local grocery needs: Find an array of charcuterie at Les Cochons Tout Ronds, mouth-watering confections at Kingsley Desserts, or regional Quebec cheese at La Fromagerie Hamel.
Hop back onto the metro and head south toward Mont-Royal Station. Mont-Royal Avenue is an eclectic street buzzing with energy and creativity, making it the perfect spot to grab brunch along the journey. Head to L’Avenue, a crowd-pleasing restaurant that serves up generous portions and scrumptious twists on breakfast classics. Try the famous eggs benedict with duck confit or a stack of French toast, that comes with toppings such as caramelized bananas, Nutella, coconut, and Captain Morgan’s rum. Wash the meal down with a milkshake, a mimosa, or one of L’Avenue’s signature boozy coffees.
With your belly full, ride the orange line to Places D’Armes station to explore Old Montreal. Begin walking down Saint-Sulpice Street towards the Saint-Lawrence River. Don’t forget to stop in front of Notre-Dame Basilica to admire its majestic gothic architecture. The destination is Pointe-à-Callière, the Montreal Museum of Archeology and History, a unique museum that takes visitors on a journey through the history of Quebec. Start off the visit with an immersive multimedia show of lights, visuals, and audio, all featured in the remains of the original cobble stone buildings of Montreal. Next, travel back in time, as the museum takes its guests through an original underground tunnel to explore a real-life archeological excavation. This museum offers an unparalleled experience Old Montreal through its innovative use of the architectural skeletons reminiscent of a different time.
After a few hours travelling to the past in Old Port, head to the Lionel-Groulx to relax for a bit. Once a working-class industrial area, in recent years, Little Burgundy has quickly become one of the trendiest up-and-coming neighborhoods in Montreal with some of the best restaurants in the city. Among them is the Burgundy Lion, a classic British pub with a modern Montreal flair. Diners can enjoy one of their many draft beer selections while they watch a game of English football on the television. Burgundy Lion also offers the largest whiskey collection in all of Quebec and offers over 600 choices.
The last stop on the day long metro expedition is Villa-Maria station located in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG). Filled with cultural activities and local businesses, NDG is a unique suburb that combines family-friendly small town charm with the amenities of big city life. Complete a day-well-spent at Café Mariposa, a cozy boutique designed to feel like an extension of the living room with a 60s feel. On the weekends, Montrealers can enjoy the live local music while they delve into a homestyle meal, and, on Thursday nights, the hangout features an open mic night, where guests can discover Montreal’s hidden musical talents. Mariposa effortlessly achieves a hospitable feel by way of its comforting food, intimate decor and vivacious entertainment. Before long, you will feel like you are at home among family and friends.