With two thirds of the populace
French-speaking, Montreal is rightly dubbed the "Little Paris of North America." Even before Canada's gay marriage victory in June, the city's gay population
(60,000 out of a total of 3 million) has benefited from the Quebec government's
progressive legislation--notably, a 1977 human rights charter that included sexual
Montreal is a fantastic walking town, with its best neighborhoods (Old
Montreal, The Gay Village, The Plateau, Mile End) within a half hour's
walk of each other. A walk up Mount Royal (more foothill than mountain) is a must; at its peak you are rewarded with a
stunning view--and a giant metal cross that lights up nightly (special purple
light bulbs are set to illuminate on the evening of the Pope's death). St.
Joseph's Oratory, on the other side of Mount Royal, is the city's
largest church and awesome enough to inspire religion in anyone. Lafontaine
Park, north of the Village, is particularly popular with gay men.
Walk north up Amherst Street from the Village,
taking in the antique and retro shops along the way, and then begin your sight-seeing
cruise through the park. The Montreal Museum of Fine
Arts is a city essential. Mark the Gay
Games on your calendar now, set for July 29 to August 5, 2006 (www.montreal2006.org).
The most luxurious hotel is a Montreal institution, the Ritz-Carlton
(1228 Sherbrooke West; 800-363-0366; doubles from $195). More modestly priced
is the Hotel Bourbon 1574 St. Catherine
East; 800-268-4679; doubles from $80) in the Village. An ultraaffordable though
charming option is Bed & Breakfast du Village
(1279 Montcalm; 800-228-8455; doubles from $50, but reserve well in advance).
Montreal's Village neighborhood is filled with excellent gay-owned and gay-friendly
establishments. Piccolo Diavolo (1336 St.
Catherine East; 514-526-1336; $20 per person) is among the city's best Italian
eateries (restrain yourself from asking for one of the hunky waiters with your
pasta). Although there's not much area at Area
(1429 Amherst; 514-890-6691; $20 per person), the 38-seat French bistro is always
crowded. Fusion cuisine followers head to Bazou (2004 H?tel de Ville; 514- 982-0853; $20 per person), a funky place where dishes
are named for automobiles (bazou translates as jalopy in French).
La Paryse (302 Ontario; 514-842-2040), a
lesbian-owned burger joint in a classic retro diner, serves extra-juicy burgers;
in true lesbian-inclusive fashion, vegans can find veggie burgers here.
The Sky (1474 St. Catherine East; 514-529-6969)
is the limit when it comes to the right place to people-watch (and people-meet),
especially over a pint in the late afternoon; it's also home to a popular nightclub.
Close by is La Track (1584 St.
Catherine East; no phone), a darker (some might say raunchier) place to dance.
The city's vibrant drag scene is on display at Cabaret
Mado (1115 St. Catherine East; (514) 525-7566), a lounge-karaoke
bar named for Montreal's celebrated drag personae. A mixed gay and lesbian crowd
congregates at Le Drugstore (1366 St. Catherine
East; 514-524-1960), a three-story pub-club noted for eclectic decor and music.
Montreal has also become a favorite
stopover for circuit aficionados, with all-night parties taking place year-round
(consult Bad Boy Club Montreal, www.bbcm.org).
airport is 30 minutes by cab from the city center (about $25). Airporter minivans
and buses cost $10. The train station, Gare Centrale,
is situated at De la Gaucheti?re and Mansfield streets, 514-989-2626.
The subway system, the
Metro, is clean, safe, and quiet (cars runs
on rubber tires).
Line, the ultimate reference for all things gay in town, operates
nightly, 7?11 p.m., 514-866-5090. For tourist information and links to gay information
sites consult www.ville.montreal.qc.ca.
Fall is ideal, with temperatures
in the 40s and low 50s.
For American and European tourists,
the Canadian dollar hovers at about 72 cents U.S.
The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. We suggest that you confirm all details directly with the establishments mentioned before making travel plans. Please feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com if you have any new information.