Last weekend my cousin got married in the beautiful, romantic city of Montreal. As a kid, I grew up visiting Montreal every summer, where my Polish grandparents – Babcia and Dziadzio – lived. I can remember walking with my sister and Babcia to the small grocery store at the end of the street to pick up fresh bagels, bread, yogurt, cheese, and other food items to complement the deliciously fresh produce from Babcia’s backyard garden. Every meal was homemade and scrumptious. Breakfast always included some type of fresh fruit, homemade jam, and fresh bread. For lunch I can remember eating raw, sliced radishes, Polish coldcuts, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, and bagel sandwiches with some sort of Polish soup – potato or cucumber. For dinner Babcia would concoct some type of Polish meal – cabbage rolls; kasha, beets, and meat; stew; pierogies; or some other yummy, hearty food. My sister and I would often be given the chore of picking raspberries, strawberries or some other fruit from the garden for dessert. Of course we would eat everything we picked, and come back inside, empty handed but with bright red lips, tongues, and fingers and try to convince Babcia that there were no more berries on the bushes.
While I have such fond memories of Montreal, it’s been wonderful to explore the city as an adult. My husband and I have had the opportunity to visit the city twice in the last 4 years. The first time we stayed in the English section of town and this past time in the French section. The city is walkable and bikable, has an amazing public transportation and subway system and an amazing arts and culture scene. We definitely ate and drank well, walked everywhere, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Here are some of the places we visited:
Jardin Communautaire L’Eglantier | Parc Maisonneuve, Boulevard Rosemont, Montreal, QC
While biking around Montreal, we had the opportunity to visit a community garden. Unfortunately everything had already died, but we were impressed by its size and number of composting bins and the view of the Olympic Stadium in the background. For more information about Montreal’s extensive community garden system, click here.
Cafe Santropol | 3990 Rue St-Urbain, Montreal, QC H2W 1T7, Canada, (514) 842-3110
A quaint, cozy cafe in a converted corner row house in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood. The sandwiches are huge and delicious and come on fresh bread made down the street at a small bakery. Highly recommend the carrot and apple sandwich – delicious. Save room for dessert and coffee!
La Maison des Cyclistes | 1251, rue Rachel Est, Montréal, QC H2J 2J9, Canada
This small, cozy cafe shares space with Vélo Québec – a non-profit cycling member-based organization that has been defending the rights of cyclists since 1967. Try the coffee, chai tea, biscotti, and other baked goods. This makes the perfect pre- or post-pit stop for a day of biking on Montreal’s bike sharing program – Bixi.
St Viateur Bagel | 1127 Mont. Royal East, Montreal, QC
A great, local bagel chain. If you’ve never had Montreal bagels, you’re in for a treat. This bakery/restaurant serves up tasty bagel sandwiches, salads and soups and offers options to-go, including a dozen bagels.
Corner Stores | Integrated into all neighborhoods throughout Montreal
There is no shortage of healthy foods in Montreal – or at least in the neighborhoods we ventured to. It seems like there’s a corner produce shop or market on every other corner. Here are some pictures of a few of them.