Our chips-loving Frenchman Seby was dying to try the famous poutine when we visited Montreal. And he wasn’t disappointed. After a night out exploring the gay scene of Montreal, this gravy-cheese-curd-fries concoction is the perfect hangover food your body needs!
Chad Callaghan stops by with a post on the upcoming Elevation Tremblant ski week:
If you’re anything like me, you’re already itching to be on the slopes. At least, let’s hopethat’s why you’re itching… Luckily, Daddy Christmas has been good to his boys this year and blessed us with plenty of early-season snow and…drum roll please… a brand new ELEVATION Gay Ski Week! (*waits patiently for a chorus of “Yas Kweens”*)
Producer Tom Whitman is bringing his Midas touch to the slopes of Tremblant, Quebec, the #1 ski resort on the East Coast. ELEVATION MAMMOTH has long been the gay ski week gold standard out West, so you’ll understand my excitement that the event is heading East. I know, I know, Canada sounds so exotic and distant, but it’s actually only a couple of hours drive from NYC to Quebec’s “trembling mountain.” (Yes, I googled it, that’s actually what Tremblant means in Algonquin, k?)
Plus, who doesn’t love a man from Montreal?
Whitman says he’s always wanted to expand East, and Tremblant checks all the boxes. “It’s one of the best ski towns in North America and Quebec is famously welcoming to the LGBTQ community. It’s a great place to taste a little Quebecois culture, drink in some natural beauty, and hang out with sexy, friendly boys and girls from Toronto and Montreal. Oh yeah, and our East Coast.”
This year, Whitman’s three ELEVATION events, the “Triple-Crown of Gay Ski,” are well-spaced enough that you could conquer them all.
First up is the freshman event in Tremblant. Taking place January 31stto February 3rd, it’s just far enough after New Years that you’ll be ready for a midwinter gay getaway. In its inaugural year, ELEVATION TREMBLANT is sure to draw a massive crowd of ELEVATION enthusiasts, sporty New Yorkers, and Canadian first-timers (be gentle, they’ve never done this before). Get in on this event early. Years from now, when Tremblant’s gay ski week has become an annual tradition for all the gays from Toronto to Boston, you can say you were one of the first.
Next up is the 9thannual ELEVATION Utah. Set February 21-24th, that gives you three weeks to recover from your Canadian kiki before you meet up with 1,000+ bromos and slope sisters for the annual invasion of the gays in Park City, home of Sundance, the Salt Lake Olympics, and plenty of former-Mormons who just wanna let loose. If you haven’t been recently, it’s worth noting that Park City and Canyons resorts merged a couple of years back, so that’s 7300skiable acres and some of the world’s most beautiful vistas. It’s now the largest ski resort in the U.S. While ELEVATION Mammoth keeps the party mostly contained to the Village, ELEVATION Park City takes you for a twirl on the town, to some of the best local night clubs and restaurants, so pack your dancing boots.
ELEVATION season ends with a little spring skiing. March 13-17 (St. Patrick’s Weekend) marks the 17thannual Mammoth Gay Ski Week, the crown jewel for ski huntys and board bros alike. This year, they’re expecting almost 3,000 guys and gals to take over the Village, transforming this sleepy ski town into a bona fide boy buffet. And if you’ve never been before, expect to be pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone is.
Whitman says he started ELEVATION MAMMOTH to offer an alternative to the gay party scene in the great outdoors. “What makes ELEVATION work is the attitude of the attendees, or lack thereof. We encourage everyone to leave their ‘city attitude’ at the door, to be friendly, to introduce yourself to new people. Every year people return because of the friends they’ve made and the connections they’ve forged.”
While each ELEVATION event has its own local flavor and flair, there are a few events I personally look forward to every year: The Onesie Apres Ski is a classic (seriously, don’t forget your onesie. If you don’t have one, you’re doing life wrong), the Mammoth Aprés at 10k is the only time I’ve seen someone twerk in ski boots, and the all-new main event, GEAR, is perhaps the sexiest party of the year. It’s like a warehouse party at altitude (don’t think about it too hard). The dress code is in the name: transform your ski equipment into something a little kinkier, just put some THOT into it… or go ahead and pack your harness. I know you’ve got one.
Every year, I have a different experience at ELEVATION, and I’ve loved every one of them. I’ve met some of my favorite people on the mountain at Mammoth, and spent whole days getting some one-on-one time in with one of my besties in Utah. You can ski all day and crash early, party hard and sleep in, or be the first-chair-last-call hero we all wish we were.
My body is ready. Let’s have a ski-ski.
Montreal is one of our favourite cities we’ve visited during our travels, especially during the summer months.
We came here during the Fierte Montreal gay pride and completely fell in love with the gay village. There are always many events going on Montreal not to mention many different foods to try.
One of our favourite gay travel bloggers, Barry from Toronto told us about his 5 favourite highlights from Montreal’s gay village following his recent visit during the gay pride:
Where to take the best selfies
I love La Graine Brûlée because it is super colourful and quirky. Check out the leopard printed seats, mini ferries wheel, graffiti covered cubby holes and small nooks that make it look like a play room with old Nintendo games. This unique cafe is located on the west side of the Montreal gay village right by the Berri-UQAM metro station. For me, this is THE place to take a selfie to kick off a great night out in the Montreal gay village.
I also love taking selfies by the rainbow crossings that mark the entrance of the gay village. Try to get the background ball installation in your picture, which is rainbow coloured during Pride.
Montreal also has some of the best street art murals, which are perfect backgrounds for your Instagram gallery.
“The city is romantic, it offers a wide variety of fine restaurants, has a European flair, and, most importantly, both visitors and residents find an openness of mind, an acceptance of differences.”
We started to get nervous as a burly police officer gave us that I’m-about-to-walk-over eye. My boyfriend and I were taking a quick-kiss selfie in front of Québec City’s Fontaine de Tourny. He steps over in unison with the banging of drums from a First Nations’ festival happening across the street at Parc de l’Esplanade.
“Hey guys, let me take that photo for you,” he says, in a deep Québec accent. We pose. I wrap my arm around Jason, but keep him at justfriends length.
“Come on,” he says. “Give him another kiss, act like you like each other,” he laughs while holding up the phone and crouching like a mom taking a picture of her kids before they leave for the first day of school.
We give one another a big kiss, the officer takes the snap, and then he gives us a gentle wave goodbye. “Happy pride,” he says walking back to the festival gates.
Both of us were in somewhat of a shock by the incident and had to take a minute to discuss what just happened. Being from New York, we are programed to be suspicious of strangers, never mind a cop approaching us. It was so sweet that we savored the scenario as we stood by the cascading fountain waters.
Montréal has long offered delights to fans of gastronomy, but there’s a major difference between the culinary scene of today and even just a decade back. Whereas Montréal used to be chock-a-block with amazing, homey French-style bistros and holes in the wall, today’s Québecois chefs have truly embraced the region’s indigenous farm-to-table bounty and flavors, and married them with contemporary technique and innovation.
A substantial melting-pot population (including Latino and Vietnamese) has also spawned an impressive international variety of cuisines and ethnic specialties from Peruvian Nikkei fusion at Tiradito to authentic Salvadorian pupusas(a sort of corn tortilla pouch stuffed with savory fillings) at neighborhood fave, Los Planes.
The excellent “Beyond the Market” walking tour from gay-owned, decidedly nontouristy Spade & Palacio Tours (Tel: 1-514806-3263. www.spadeandpalacio.com), features a pupusa tasting stop at Los Planes, bites from other venues including Montréal’s famed Jean Talon Market, where vendor Fromage Fermier’s local goat cheese and Havre-aux-Galce’s seasonal ice cream and sorbets alone are worth a visit. The tour concludes with a picnic lunch and takeaway “cheat sheet” with a map of their favorite restaurants and cafés.
Of course, here we have a Montréal “cheat sheet” of our own, which runs the gamut from a game-changing restaurant that has since launched Montréal’s biggest new generation of kitchen talents to a lesbian-owned craft beer pub to a new, buzzy Japanese-fusion bistro. Bonus: those with a penchant for international fine dining can find Canada’s first L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, from French superstar chef Joel Robuchon, at Casino Montréal.
Montréal’s craft-beer scene easily warrants its own feature article: there are some 35plus-brew pubs within the city at present, and around 150 microbreweries throughout the Québec region. A lesbian-owned, threeyear-old brasserie and microbrewer, straddling the Mile Ex and Little Italy neighborhoods, Brasserie Harricana represents a fabulous spot to give some of these brews, ciders, liquors, and even local kombucha a whirl. As indicated on the drinks menu, some draughts are served at specific temperatures, with alcohol content indicated.
The Brasserie’s space is lovely, and be sure to crane your neck and glance upward at the ceiling’s enlarged images of women’s body parts, which are partially obscured by wooden panels resembling window shutters. I created my own flight with tastes of several Harricana brews, including a sourapricot wheat beer, a Berliner Weisse infused with coffee from artisanal local roasters Dispatch, and a raspberry milk stout, plus lip-smacking ice cider from rural Québec’s Cidrerie Milton. The food menu, meanwhile, encompasses gastropub fare: deviled eggs, ale-braised lamb shank, beerroasted chicken, and generous veggie options. Weekend brunch sees crêpés, stuffed French toast, a bacon and egg brekkie sandwich with potato latkes, and decadent ribeye eggs Benedict. 95 rue Jean Talon West. Tel: 514-303-3039.
“Diversity is the engine of invention. It generates creativity that enriches the world”
…spoken by one of Montreal’s most famous (straight) residents, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who led the gay parade when the city was hosting Canada’s first nationwide Fierte Pride.
Canada has always been at the forefront of LGBT rights, being one of the first countries to legalise gay marriages and with one of the most progressive transgender laws in the world. Gay Montreal, in particular, has always been a bedrock of acceptance and cultural diversity, to the point where it has developed the largest gay village in North America, and hosts many gay events throughout the year. Here are our 5 interesting gay facts about Montreal, celebrating its evolution as a haven for the LGBTQ community in North America.
Le Village Gai: Montreal’s huge gaybourhood
Montreal’s gaybourhood, otherwise known as Le Village Gai or just The Village is famous for being the largest gay neighbourhood in North America. It’s literally an entire district of the city, officially recognised in tourist city maps and searchable in social media location tags.
This is the heart of the city’s LGBTQ community, based along the mile long Saint Catherine street, bordered by St Hubert Street to the west, De Lorimier Avenue to the east, Sherbrooke Street to the north and René Lévesque Boulevard to the south.
The Gay Village dates back to the 1980s when it used to be a poor working-class neighbourhood. It was first occupied by gay and lesbian businesses after they were forced out from downtown Montreal. Over the years, the area gentrified massively to become the pink bubble of fun it is today.
During May-September, St Catherine Street is closed to cars, allowing the cafes, bars and restaurants to spill out onto the pavements to create outdoor terraces, giving the village the exciting buzzy atmosphere we love about it. It also has a rainbow crossing to mark its starting point. You can read more in our gay guide to Montreal.
Montreal has one of the biggest gay villages in the world. It’s literally an entire neighbourhood, officially recognised in city maps and social media tags.
And it’s got balls. Lots and lots of balls!
Seriously – each year, between May-September, Le Village Gai has a large display of around 200,000 pink balls hanging down across the main street, the mile long Rue Sainte-Catherine.
This is also the heart of the gay scene of Montreal, with plenty of bars, clubs, after hours clubs, saunas, strip bars, cafes and more, to suit everyone. This is our gay guide to Montreal featuring the best bars, clubs, hotels and things to do, following our visit during the Fierte Canada Pride in August 2017.
Gay bars and clubs in Montreal (open till 3am)
There are many gay bars in the Gay Village of Montreal. We recommend to just head there and see where the night takes you – there’s always something happening every single night of the week.
Note that in Montreal, there’s a blur between what is a bar/club. Most are both and are open until 3am due to the licensing laws. After 3am, people head to “after hours” clubs. These are a few of our favourite gay bars/clubs in Montreal, which close by 3am, unless otherwise stated:
Canada hosted its first ever national pride in 2017 in Montreal and we were lucky to be there to soak it all up.
There were world famous drag queens, super sexy boys, incredible outfits and more.
Watch our latest vlog about it right here, and please remember to subscribe.
One year ago, gay actor-director extraordinaire Xavier Dolan shot Adele’s Hello video just outside his native Montreal. The world watched transfixed as our still-heartbroken heroine, wrapped in faux-fur, emoted amid rolling hills, epic maples and twirling leaves. The clip was a love letter to Canadian autumn. And yet, almost paradoxically, it was filmed in black and white. Don’t get me started. Similarly, standing atop Montreal’s imposing Mount Royal in fall, exploring the picturesque Parc du Mont-Royal thereon, is your chance to channel your inner-Adele in rich, explosive technicolor. Yes, the surrounding countryside provides the perfect playground for foliage followers. But gay Montreal – home to 1.65 million, the largest in the Quebec province and the second-largest French-speaking city worldwide after Paris – is the natural start to such an adventure.