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Holiday shopping in Montreal made fun and easy



Looking for one of a kind items for those special friends and family members on your holiday gift list? Look no further than L'art des Artisans du Quebec for high-end crafts handmade by artists from Montreal and the rest of Québec. Here on Ste. Catherine St. West, you'll find textiles, pottery, ornaments, wood carvings and blown glass - all of which make great gift items.

To complete your holiday shopping list, continue further west along the same street, taking in the holiday decorations along the way to Simons, Quebec's department store. Here’s where you’ll find contemporary fashions from young Quebec designers; they're often on sale, as the collection changes seasonally.

Other good choices for holiday shopping include the boutiques that line rue St. Denis and St. Laurent in the Plateau District, where you'll find chic clothing and original accessories often at bargain prices. 

Old Montreal is ideal for more upscale gift items, including both decorative and functional glassware, arts and crafts and sculptures and paintings. The two main markets – Jean Talon in North Montreal and the Atwater Market in the west end of downtown – are ideal for the foodie on your list and those who appreciate fine Quebec wines and spirits.


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Place Ville Marie
Photo courtesy of The food court. Photo courtesy of Ville Place Marie.

Comprising four office buildings and an underground shopping plaza,it's known locally at PVM and is situated in the heart of downtown. You'll find over 80 upscale boutiques and stores offering ready-wear-collections and high-end products as well as a food court and several good restaurants. A clever cruciform structure designed by the Sino-American architect, Ieoh Ming Pei, allows natural light into the center of the building giving the plaza a light and airy feel complimented by some really great public art.The centre allows visitors direct access to key subway stations, the South Shore bus terminal, and the Windsor and Central train stations. Two major hotels are also linked to Galerie Place Ville Marie: the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure.


L'Art des artisans du Québec
Photo courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Tourisme Montreal

Looking for arty pillows for your sofa? How about hand- crafted blown glass pieces in an array of colors and designs? Here you will find an extensive collection of ever-changing pieces of functional art at very good prices from top Quebec artists. Choose from a large assortment of ceramic bowls, cups and bottles, an array of textile pieces or fine figurines hand-carved from attractive wood. This store is a real find for shoppers who seek top quality, unique items that are beautifully made by local and regional artisans. It's the ideal source for one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs from Montreal and Quebec.


Marché Jean-Talon
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Tourisme Montreal. Photo by Ron Stern

Open year round, this Montreal landmark has been supplying locals with fresh produce, local meats and cheeses, desserts and dry goods since 1934. This is the place everyone adores. It's a whole city block of nothing but stall after stall piled high with the best regional fruits and veggies, meats and seafood. Baked goods, cheese, maple syrup, ice cream, jams and jellies, charcuterie, wine and beer, olive oil, balsamic vinegar â€" you name it, if it's a "gourmet" food item, produced or grown locally, or imported from Italy, Japan or some other far off country, you will find it here.


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Ben & Tournesol

Ben & Tournesol is best described as high-end home decor. From the depths of Westmount - a bastion of taste in itself - comes some noteworthy objects for yourself or others. The latest cool weather must-haves include soft, natural, 100% wool throws from Avoca, Ireland's oldest woollen mill. The owners work hard to keep the store stocked with the most unique items including vegan-friendly shopping bags and porcelain table sets by Versace. There's even clothing by the likes of Paul Frank and Kate Spade's coffee table book to set beside your ginger-scented candles. Direct from Europe check out the Arte Italica ceramic and pewter collections.


Irreverent, cheeky, tasteless, chic, trendy, retro, contemporary, politically correct/incorrect - Bang-On has a t-shirt that suits everyone. If you've been dying to find a shirt with the Pillsbury Dough Boy emblazoned on the front, a pop art Che Guevara, or an old-skool Donkey Kong icon, check here. David Bowie, Iggy Pop or Kiss? Check here. Mr. Snuffleupagus, Grover or the Count? Yep,check here. The Toronto-based company has several locations across North America, and even a few in Mexico, Australia and Europe. But we like the Montreal location the best - honest. Plus, you can't beat the location on St. Laurent and the online store gets the orders out within days.


Gourmet Laurier
Photo courtesy of Photo Courtesy of Gourmet Laurier

A real foodies delight, Gourmet Laurier has been inspiring Montreal chefs - both amateur and professional for over half a century. This is the place to head for those hard-to-find ingredients. The imported treasures include spices, teas, mustards, chocolates, candies, jams, and a variety of oils and vinegars. This is one of the few places where you can score Puget oils, imported lentils from Le Puy and Lustucru pasta. Rare spices, top quality extra virgin olive oils, Quebec cheeses and meats and exotic soaps complete the grocery list. The shop also has a good selection of high-end coffee grinders, pepper mills and other kitchen gadgets. You can even get a sandwich to go too.


Maison Marie Saint Pierre is renowned for its use of unconventional fabrics and textures that balance natural and technological notions. Marie-Pierre carries her expertise to furniture, leather goods and perfume as well as her upmarket collections. This award-winning designer and Montreal native is known for her fashion-forward apparel, unique for its vivid color combinations and well-crafted detailing. Much of her clothing is made at an in-town workshop, although savvy shoppers will find it carried in such world capitals as Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Even if you don't buy, a trip to the shop will let you peruse the latest styles and catch sight of the extravagant designs.


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Downtown

Simons is a real local gem that is easy to miss. Most travel guide sites fail to mention this quintessential Quebec department store. Simon's focuses on quality fashions for the whole family. A particularly good value is the Twik line - a unique Quebec designer brand of fun, casual fashions for women and girls. Of the seven locations throughout the province, The downtown Montreal store in the Ste.Catherine West shopping district is the most popular. If you can't find it amidst the miles of shops in the area, just ask anyone on the street and keep your eyes open for the green and white banners and awning.


Welcome to eight blocks of shopping pleasure - if only because the shops and boutiques are evenly interspersed with cafes, bars and restaurants to relieve the strain of shopping and appease those who would rather be doing something else. In these blocks along Laurier Avenue west between boulevard St-Laurent and Chemin de la Cete-Ste-Catherine you'll find medium to high-end fashions, art galleries, gourmet food stores and upscale kitchenware shops. No member of the family is left out as toys and children's clothes can be found here along with books, music and decorative items- perfect for gift shopping too and all within a 10-minute walk of the Laurier metro station.


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Parc Mont-Royal
Boulevard St Laurent
Photo courtesy of Boutique M0851 by Mario Melillo. Courtesy of Toursime Montrel.

Since 1792, "The Main" has been the dividing line between the east and west sides of Montreal. Saint-Laurent Boulevard, a.ka. "the Main" is by far the busiest street in the city and the commercial hub of Montreal. The melange of cultures here is reflected in the crazy mix of stores. There's everything from the high-end to the low-end in fashion, home furnishing, jewelry, books, music, collectibles and shoes. If you're in town for the sidewalk sales, held in the spring and fall, you're in for a shopping frenzy of bargains galore. The Main is also a great place for eating, drinking and dancing.


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Meet Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best, About.com, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel

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