11 Montreal Spots You Will Wish Tourists Never Ever Ruin
Photo cred - Kevin Tataryn
Tourists are a blessing and a curse on any city. On the sunny side of things, tourists inject a lot of revenue into the city. On the bad side, well, in general, tourists kind of suck and are the worst to deal with, especially in Montreal. All of them seem to be perpetually in awe of people speaking two languages, can't stop spouting on about how their home city compares to MTL, and they're always on the hunt for "something to do tonight."
Helping out a tourist is always a good idea, because everyone deserved a good time in Montreal, though be wary. Once you tell one tourists about a Montreal hidden gem, you run the risk of letting the whole tourist community know. One Yelp review can spark a whole tourist migration, making them expand out of the downtown core and into all of the spots we love to go to, mainly because they are never tourists around.
Catch your tongue if you're ever going to namedrop the following places to a visitor, as it these are Montreal spots that should never be ruined by any tourist. Read on and see if you agree.
Mount Royal Park
I'm sure many a tourist walking towards the mountain on a Sunday in the warmer months were justifiably confused to find a bunch of stoners, a giant drum circle, many slackliners, and a medieval melee dominating the park, and proceeded to just walk up the mountain and bypass all the craziness, if they hadn't turned around back to their hotel yet. Prior knowledge to the strange-awesomeness that is Tams definitely prepares your brain for all the weird happnenings of the weekly tradition, which becomes quickly becomes anyone's got-to Sunday plan once you've been once. If tourists on a large scale (you can usually find one or three in the masses) find out about Tams, the mini park-festival would certainly lose its unique charm, becoming a tourist destination rather than a huge chill sesh for the entire city.
7700 Boulevard Décarie
Hard to miss, as their is a huge orange ball signifying its presence, the Orange Julep is overlooked by tourists simply because they don't know its a thing. Let's keep it that way. What makes the Orange Julep is great is that you can pop in, grab their signature orange-cream drink and a poutine, see a few sweet cars in the parking lot, then pop out in the span of five minutes. Let's keep it that way, because I also wouldn't be able to handle all of the Orange Julius comparisons that are a inevitability of American tourists visiting.
Photo cred - Nadia Not Included
Mount Royal Park and La Fontaine are often heralded as the city's best spots to chill on a sunny day, though Parc Laurier is the secret star of Montreal's park scene. Incredibly close to a huge grocery store and an SAQ (for snacks and drank) the park also boasts tons of green space and a pool that's free during the week. A lot of Montrealers don't even know how good it gets at Parc Laurier, though all of that would be ruined by the presence of tourists looking to get a "true Montreal park experience." The only silver lining to tourists finding out about Parc Laurier would be the bewildered looks when seeing people openly drinking in the open, which is barely a consolation for how much more packed the pool will get.
115 Rachel E
Montreal's obsession with certain foods goes well beyond poutine. Case in point: portugese chicken, and especially the PC to be found at Romados. Often cited as the best chicken in Montreal (aka crack chicken) the fantastical foul doled out by Romados is a true eating experience. Not to mention 'dat gravy. Foodie-tourists would no doubt cancel their trip to La Banquise to try out Romados, and with the online food world what it is, with the hcore foodies constantly instagrammin' and posting Yelp reviews, the word on Romados would catch on quick. It's already packed at Romados come lunch/dinner time, so lets keep this food gem to ourselves.
141 Mont-Royal E
Few places in Montreal are like Salon Daome. For one, people actually dance there, with the music always being pretty legit, with a minimum amount of creepers. Second, drinks and shots aren't grossly overpriced, adding to the fun of dancing. And third while it does get packed on a Saturday night, it's usually not too hard to get in (lines suck) and the clientele is mainly locals with a minimal amount of douchy students. All that could change with a massive upsurge of tourists. Salon Daome, being kind of small, would pack up quicker than Apt. 200, and you just know there would be tons of visiting bros "looking to get some" and ruining the whole vibe.
Jean Talon Market
7070 Henri Julien
All the tourists can go to Atwater Market, Jean-Talon is too out of the way for them anyway. Hopefully tourists won't be able to even find the exit to the market within the labyrinthine passages of the Jean-Talon metro stations, and just wander the streets all lost and confused. A little harsh, yes, though we can't have them ruining the JT shopping experience by flooding the place with too many bodies and awkwardly trying to buy produce in French. Why the hell are tourists even at farmer's markets anyway? Not like they have kitchens (unless they're airbnb'ing it) and Montreal has enough restaurants to choose from. God help us if any tourist does come to Jean-Talon Market then lets the world know about El Rey del Taco because I will be miff'd.
Dieu Du Ciel
29 Laurier W
Getting a table or a spot on the terrasse at DDC is already hard enough. We don't need tourist bodies adding to the problem. And you just know tourists would make their way to Laurier to drink at DDC so as to experience a "true Montreal bar." Boasting some of the best beer in the city, all brewed in-house, and normally populated solely by locals, DDC fits the bill.
124 St. Viateur West
Few places in Montreal boast as much coffee cred as Café Olimpico. Voted the best coffee in Montreal by Cult MTL readers and the winner of the MTL Award for the same category, not to mention the many positive online reviews, Olimpico's reputation precedes itself. Definitely worth the trip to Mile End, even if you don't live in the area, though don't let a tourist know that. Actually though, Olimpico is amazing because it can cater to many caffeine-craving while still rocking a quaint charm. Too many tourists will just make the coffee spot way too busy, and the line in the morning can already get a little crazy.
Photo cred - lindsey.burk
359 Bernard West
Let all the tourists stay on St. Viateur and get bagels, because if they knew there was a magical and authentic Jewish bakery only a couple blocks away, they wouldn't be able to resists. That goes double if someone mentions babka. Cheskie's is a staple of the Mile End/Outremont community, satisfying the sweet teeth of old Jewish men and young hipsters alike, and I don't want to think about what would happen if an influx of tourists made the bakeries shelves bare. For real, someone would throw a huge hissy fit if all the cheese crowns are gone, Cheskie's is that good.
5175 Sherbrooke West
NDG is home to only a select amount of bars, meaning if tourists exit their downtown/plateau comfort zone and head west, they'll take up all the seats meant for the locals of the area. It's not impossible. Some random tourists googles "places to watch the Habs game in Montreal," sees Nextdoor Pub as a suggestion, and with the massive amount of user-reviews praising the place, decides to head to the bar, with this entire bachelor party in tow. Oh yeah, that's why he's visiting the city, which seems to be why 40% of males come to Montreal. The end result: a bunch of rowdy out of towners stealing your table at Nextdoor...cheering for the other team. A dark day that would be indeed.
Cinema Du Parc
Going to the movies can be such a huge production. Not only are the tickets grossly overpriced, but then you have to deal with getting there early to get a good seat, the massive amounts of people, and the injustice of paying ten bucks for a bag of popcorn. Not at Cinema du Parc, which is one of the only movie theatres in the downtown area of Montreal still able to maintain that intimate, small-time theatre vibe. The screens aren't that big and there aren't too many seats, but at Cinema du Parc it's never really a problem...unless you add tourists to the mix. No doubt trendy and hip tourists would want to check out a local theatre, especially one that screens lesser-known indy films, and just take up all the seating space.
For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte