If it feels like the year is already going by so fast (hard to believe with everything that's happening or should we say not happening), so you can just imagine how fast the weekend will go. Don't let it pass you by!
Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your trip.
Why You Need To Go: One of our top destinations for a spontaneous summer getaway with your favourite person, Parc René-Lévesque, a sprawling peninsula at the western end of the Lachine Canal, is a great place for a picnic, bike ride or stroll among its wacky, towering sculptures.
Why You Need To Go: Now that the weather's nice and it feels like the city has its colour back, check out all of the colourful places around Montreal that are sure to bring some cheer back to your soul.
Boucherie Slovenia, a boulevard Saint-Laurent institution for 50 years, will soon serve its last spicy sausage.
The iconic home of enormous Eastern European-style sandwiches — Slovenian sausage and towering cold-cuts were staples — will close its doors forever on January 29, said the owners, Lourdes Rodrigues and Jean Teixeira, in a Facebook post.
"Thank you to all our loyal customers, for the wonderful years," they said.
With a menu overflowing with huge, yet affordable, meat and mustard sandwiches — sauerkraut, pickles and Cherry Cokes were also standard — Boucherie Slovenia is the latest of the Main's iconic old-school institutions to close.
The beloved Moishes steakhouse announced its closure under the strain of the pandemic in the summer of 2020.
The Boucherie Slovenia Facebook post asks readers to share their memories of the restaurant and butcher shop, with many offering childhood stories of visiting for a pepperette sandwich or their "underrated" smoked meat, which is "the best in the city," according to one commenter.
Many apparent long-time customers said they wouldn't know where to go to find dishes comparable to Boucherie Slovenia's treasured menu items.
Others remarked on how yet another classic Montreal restaurant is closing its doors. "Nothing replaces these fantastic old shops," said one person. "It's a loss. The rich character of the boulevard is disappearing."
Montreal is certainly no stranger to a traffic jam, which makes taking public transit a more viable option to not only get around faster but do more good for the environment.
As Canadian cities take the initiative to improve their transit systems and reduce their carbon footprints, Montreal has become one of the country's greenest metropolitan areas when it comes to transport, according to one ranking.
A December report from Kijiji Autos analyzed green transport options in Canada's most populated cities, evaluating their use of electric cars, bikes, scooters, and the number of electric charging stations.
With its metro and bus systems, BIXI rentals, bike lanes, and availability of electric cars, Montreal found itself in third place among Canadian cities that offer the greenest transport with a score of 5.5/10.
Although Vancouver and Ottawa/Gatineau snagged the top two spots, Montreal takes the lead as the most bicycle-friendly city in all of North America, with a total of 2,163 bicycle paths, says the Copenhagenize Index.
Montreal's third-place ranking is encouraging news, said McGill University Assistant Professor of Geography, Grant McKenzie, who specifically boasted about Montreal's metro system, "especially compared to other Canadian cities," as well as its "substantial investment towards electric buses."
While McKenzie said "we can always do better" and bemoaned the city's ban on e-scooters, he called the popularity of the BIXI and the inclusion of electric bikes in its fleet an "excellent move in the right direction."
As for electric cars, Kijiji Autos looked at new registrations of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2021, as well as total charging stations. Montreal landed second to Toronto with a total of 3,633 new registered electric cars, and 1,258 electric charging stations throughout the city.
Kijiji Autos also looked at the number of hybrids and electric vehicles for sale on their platform. Montreal led the way with 1,063 hybrid vehicles and 375 electric vehicles, states the report.
With the province of Quebec offering residents a rebate for the purchase or lease of electric cars, Quebec estimates that there will be 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
Montrealers clearly love BIXI bikes, as illustrated by the company's record-breaking statistics for the 2021 season, which has just come to an end. If you have any doubts about that love, just take a look at the 5.8 million trips taken over the year.
Alexandre Taillefer, chairman of the board of directors of BIXI Montreal, called the company's historic figures "a testament to the ever-growing importance of the bike-sharing service, particularly the popularity of the growing number of stations and electrically-assisted bicycles."
BIXI says it had a record number of new riders in 2021, as well as a record number of people who signed up for memberships for the first time, "with a 70% increase over last year."
"As for the total number of trips, it has increased by 74% since last year, to 5.8 million, which is one of the best years since the birth of BIXI," a release from the company says.
Thanks to promotions and an early start date, BIXI was able to eclipse its previous records by a large margin. BIXI, in fact, says the 2021 season was the "longest season ever."
With the end of the season and bike stations coming down throughout Montreal over the next few days, BIXI is poised for even more success after the winter. The mayor, for instance, has promised to promote the service by adding thousands of new electric bikes to its fleet and will add even more stations around the city.
"While the majority of customers used to frequently use the service to commute to work or downtown, more and more people are now discovering the benefits of riding a standard or electric BIXI to shop, rediscover their neighbourhood or simply for fun," added Christian Vermette, director general of BIXI Montreal, in the release.
"This is just the beginning as we promise to continue to innovate in order to maintain our status as a leader in the bike-sharing industry."
Women will lead five of Quebec's eight largest cities following the 2021 municipal elections.
The biggest headline of the night may have been Valérie Plante's triumph over old foe Denis Coderre in Montreal, but across the province, the faces of municipal politics have become more gender-balanced.
According to the latest counts and projections, France Bélisle (Gatineau), Catherine Fournier (Longueuil), Évelyne Beaudin (Sherbrooke) and Julie Dufour (Saguenay) are all also on their way to their respective (and figurative) city hall corner offices.
In Quebec City, it seemed for a while like Marie-Josée Savard would join them. Multiple outlets had even called the election for her until the vote count for her opponent surged into the evening. Bruno Marchand ultimately claimed victory.
Mayor Plante commented on the historic nature of her second mandate in her victory speech Sunday night.
"Four years ago, Montrealers elected the first woman mayor in the history of the City of Montreal," she said.
"Tonight, they told us again, 'yes, this mayor, we're going to continue to work with her, we trust her!'"
This year, for the first time, Montrealers will have two women leading the city, as Projet Montréal's Dominique Ollivier is set to take over as president of the Executive Committee.