Sainte Catherine Street is Montreal’s most famous downtown street. From Westmount to the Gay Village, along the Green Line of the Metro, there are hundreds of stores and shopping centres. Between Guy and Saint Denis Street, there are over 1200 stores on Sainte Catherine Street and in its shopping centres and the Underground City.
You can find almost anything on Sainte Catherine Street, from hardware stores to sex shops, from family restaurants to strip clubs. There are universities, colleges, concert halls, movie theatres, department stores, TV and radio stations, and museums. It has been the centre of Montreal shopping, culture and nightlife for generations. There is always something interesting. Every July, Sainte Catherine Street is closed for a huge sidewalk sale for over two kilometres between Saint Marc Street (near our school) and Jeanne-Mance Street (near Metro Place-des-Arts). All the stories put tables out on the street for the weekend. There is live entertainment and hundreds of thousands of people come out to enjoy the fun. Saint Catherine Street is also used for parades like the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in March, the Canada Day parade on July 1st and the Santa Claus parade in November.
- From Metro Atwater to Metro Papineau
- Bus 15
Saint Denis is one of the most interesting shopping streets in Montreal. From bars and restaurants with classic Montreal “terraces” for eating outdoors to elegant shops and art galleries, Saint Denis Street is the heart of French culture in Montreal. The east arm of the orange line of the metro runs north and south near Saint Denis. At the south end, there is Old Montreal and UQAM – the University of Quebec in Montreal. Going north, the street passes through the “Latin Quarter” which is full of bars and restaurants and theatres. Above Sherbrooke, Saint Denis is a two-way street as it passes Saint Louis Square [Carré Saint-Louis] with its elegant old houses. From there to Mont-Royal Avenue, there is an interesting and surprising mix of dozens of shops, galleries, cafés and more.
- From Metro Berri-UQAM to Metro Mont-Royal
- Bus 30
Saint Laurent (Saint Lawrence) Boulevard is the dividing line between East and West streets in Montreal. It is also the traditional division between the French and English neighbourhoods in the city. East of Saint Laurent (also called “the Main”) was French and west was English. Today English and French live all over the city, but many people still think of the street like a boundary.
Between Ontario Street and Sherbrooke, there is the Just For Laughs museum. Above Sherbrooke, in the Plateau section, Saint Laurent crosses Prince Arthur street, full of outdoor restaurants. There are many interesting shops that reflect the multicultural city. Above Pine Avenue, you will find the famous Montreal smoked meat sandwich place: Schwartz’s. This is place where there is always a line up, and you might see a movie star or a prime minister getting a sandwich.
As you go north, there are many bars, cafés and shops that have a real Montreal atmosphere, where many cultures and languages meet. Above Mont-Royal Avenue, in the Mile End neighbourhood, you find many of the small music nightclubs where Montreal’s cool alternative music scene happens in English and French. Saint Laurent continues up to the old neighbourhood called Little Italy, famous for its Italian restaurants and shops.
For the past 100 years, Saint Laurent Boulevard has been a place where new immigrants settle, so it is a very multicultural area. It is also a favourite street for artists, writers and musicians. You can get the true flavour of Montreal on this famous street.
For a few days in early summer and again in the late summer, Saint Laurent closes for its street sale. All the shops put merchandise out on the street, and there is a festival atmosphere, with music and entertainment and lots of fun. There is also a section of the street closed for celebrations during the Grand Prix F1 race weekend in June.
Saint Laurent Boulevard is a one-way street north from the river in the Old Port all the way to Jean-Talon Street. There, it continues as a two-way street to the north shore of the island. An interesting way to see Saint Laurent is to take the famous number 55 bus up the street.
- Metro Saint Laurent
- Bus 55
Another interesting north-south shopping street is Park Avenue. Between Sherbrooke and Pine, it is the shopping street for the McGill Ghetto. Going north, it passes between Mount Royal Park and Jeanne-Mance Park (with playing fields for soccer and football). Above Mont-Royal Avenue, it is a different shopping street with shops from different nationalities. The cross street Laurier also has elegant shops and restaurants serving both the richer neighbourhood of Outremont and the multicultural neighbourhood of Mile End. It is an interesting street to explore to get another picture of Montreal life.
Metro Place-Des-Arts and Metro Parc
Bus 80, 535
Mont-Royal Avenue runs crosses Park Avenue, Saint Laurent Boulevand and Saint Denis Street, and it is the northern border of the Plateau neighbourhood. The street has an interesting mix of shops, bars, fast food restaurants, elegant shops, second-hand stores and many surprises that reflect the interesting make up of the neighbourhoods around the street. Looking east along the avenue, you can get a nice view of the tower of the Olympic Stadium. Mont-Royal Avenue Website
Bus 97 and 11
» Saint Hubert Street
A different shopping street is St. Hubert Plaza. It is a long stretch of shopping running north between Bellechasse and Jean-Talon. It is different because there is a glass awning covering the sidewalks on both sides of the street, which keeps the snow and rain off. There are discount stores and many others, including many bridal shops, where wedding dresses are sold. Prices are generally cheap. Just north of Jean-Talon, you will find many fabric stores, selling all kinds of cloth.
- Metro Beaubien and Metro Jean-Talon (orange line)