Montreal fashion is a confluence of European and American sensibilities, showcased during Montréal Fashion Week and at Montreal’s annual Fashion & Design Festival. Montreal designers like vibrant young duo UNTTLD (José Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger), Denis Gagnon and Philippe Dubuc have international reputations, and revolutionary unisex Haute Couture designer Rad Hourani – lauded in Paris and New York as one of the finest designers of his generation – is the first designer invited by La Chambre Syndicale de La Haute Couture in Paris to create and showcase a unisex line.
In other words, Montrealers know style and how to dress.
You can find a wide array of brand names at downtown department stores The Bay and Simons, and high-end Ogilvy’s and Holt Renfrew. Also, most of the city’s shopping complexes are connected to Montreal’s famous underground city – used by 500,000 people everyday – that stretches 32 km (20 miles) over more than 12 square km (4.6 sq miles), with more than 120 exterior access points and seven Montreal Metro stations.
Place Ville Marie
The Galerie Place Ville Marie is connected to the landmark PVM skyscraper and features nearly 75 shops and boutiques such as Murale, Jean-Paul Fortin, Tristan and Les Cuirs Danier. Two major hotels are also linked to Galerie Place Ville Marie: the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure.
Place Montreal Trust
Place Montréal Trust is located at the intersection of McGill College and Montréal’s busiest shopping street, Rue Sainte-Catherine. The downtown complex houses retailers on five levels – notably flagship tenants Zara, Pandora, Mexx and the only Winners in the downtown core – and is linked to two Montreal Metro stations.
Les Cours Mont Royal
Housed in the former Mount Royal Hotel – where international stars headlined the legendary rooftop Normandy Room during Montreal’s Sin City heyday (a publicist there gave Liberace his showbiz name) – Les Cours Mont Royal is home to such fashion retailers as DKNY, Harry Rosen, Club Monaco, Matinique and Ursula B.
Architect Peter Rose was awarded a prize by the Ordre des architectes for this eco-friendly, European galleria-inspired shopping mall. The Eaton Centre boasts 175 stores, including such popular fashion retailers as The Gap, Old Navy, Levi’s, Aldo and Little Burgundy. The Eaton Centre is also home to the Montreal Grevin wax museum.
Complexe Les Ailes
Located in the heart of downtown, Complexe Les Ailes has over 60 retailers, including XXI Forever and Tommy Hilfiger, while its upper floors house the offices of such high-profile occupants as L’Oréal Canada.
Montreal’s Rockland centre has been around for over 50 years and is recognized as one of the city’s top upscale fashion destinations. There are nearly 170 stores and boutiques, from Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman and Lily Simon to H&M, Mango and Zara. You’ll need to take the Montreal Metro and bus from downtown Montreal (click here for directions).
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Have you hit the shops in Montreal? Which of these malls to you think offers the best shopping experience? Share your thoughts with us below.
Written by Richard Burnett
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About the author: RichardBurnettRichard Burnett
Montreal journalist Richard Burnett self-syndicated his column Three Dollar Bill in over half of Canada’s alt-weeklies for 15 years (Canada’s first-ever and still-only syndicated gay column in the mainstream and alternative press); was Editor-at-Large of HOUR until the Montreal alt-weekly folded in 2012; is a columnist and writer for The Charlebois Post, Fugues and Xtra magazines, and writes the POP TART blog for The Montreal Gazette.