No hyperbole here: Montréal’s Mile End is noted the world over as one of, if not the coolest neighbourhood in the entire world. It’s a small-q quartier (read here for a description of the city’s Quartiers and quartiersand why we call them like we do) beloved by both locals and tourists, forever linked to both the immigrant populations who made Montréal what it is and the hipsters and artists who give it its unique edge. And that’s just one reason why the Mile End is unique – the newest, coolest shops and restaurants co-exist side-by-side with old favourites active for nearly a century.
WHERE IS IT?
Stretching north to south between Mount Royal and Van Horne Avenues, and west to east between Hutchison Street and Saint-Denis Street, the Mile End’s cozy area is easily explored on foot – albeit not without a myriad of intriguing distractions.
BACK TO THE BEGINNING
The Mile End Hotel and Tavern opened in the area in 1810, yet the area was an important crossroads on the edge of Montréal as early as the 1790s. The coming of the railway in the late 1870s connected Mile End and its denizens to Québec City, Ottawa and other areas, promoting rapid growth. The tramway arrived in 1893, and full township arrived in 1895 when the area was re-named Saint-Louis (check out the gorgeous town hall on the corner of Saint-Laurent Boulevard and Laurier Street – now a fire station and museum). Following waves of immigration created one of Montréal’s vibrant Jewish enclaves, still present today. Commemorated in the works of author Mordecai Richler who grew up here, the Mile End became the city’s literary and artistic hub and by the 1980s and 1990s became a de rigeur visit for arts fans and hipsters.
TODAY’S MILE END
A haven for artists, writers and musicians, the lineage of world-renowned Mile End denizens includes Arcade Fire, Grimes, and Giller Award-winning author Sean Michaels. In fact, it’s not entirely uncommon to spot these folks wandering the streets to their favourite hangout spots.
With an influx of technology companies and independent businesses throughout the neighbourhood (you can’t miss sight of Ubisoft at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Saint-Viateur Street East), the Mile End makes for a perfect host area for meetings for groups with independent spirit or start-up inclinations. Venues like Never Apart, an innovative contemporary arts gallery with a backyard pool, are available for events of all stripes.
MUST-TRY FOOD AND DRINKS
- The Mile End’s world famous bagels await at either Fairmount Bagels or Saint-Viateur Bagels, both named after their home streets.
- Take a coffee and stay for the people watching amongst locals at Café Olimpico or Café Club Social. Tea drinkers won’t want to miss the Salon de thé Cardinal.
- Grab an expertly-made pizza at Magpie, or brunch like champions at Lawrence, and enjoy a candlelit dinner at Sparrow.
- Grab after conference drinks at Pub Sir Joseph or L’Gros Luxe (whose deep fried pickles are an area hit).
SHOPPING SPOTS YOUR ATTENDEES WILL LOVE
- The record racks at Phonopolis Records are bursting with local favourites, and the shelves and regular readings at the Drawn & Quarterly flagship store on Bernard Street showcase a who’s who of cutting-edge literature and graphic novels.
- Popular music venues include Casa Del Popolo, La Sala Rossa, and jazz club Résonance Café, offering a rich variety of nightly programming.
- The neighbourhood’s countless clothing shops both new and vintage are full of one-of-a-kind treasures. Try on something new at Boutique Unicorn or Frank & Oak (including an old school barber shop) and search the racks at Annex for something a pre-loved.
The Mile End is a neighbourhood that’s endlessly inspiring and popping with innovation, making it an ideal meeting location your attendees won’t soon forget.