Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Out in Montreal: A City on a Page

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Out in Montreal: A City on a Page

Article excerpt

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 orientation.

SIGHT SCENE

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).

SLEEP SCENE

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 ultra-affordable though charming option is BED & BREAKFAST DU VILLAGE (1279 Montcalm; 800-228-8455; doubles from $50, but reserve well in advance).

FOOD SCENE

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 Bf 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 Hotel de Ville; 514-982-0853; $20 per person), a funky place where dishes are named for automobiles (bazou translates as jalopy in French). …

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