If you read the article I wrote a couple weeks ago, declaring Cote-des-Neiges as the best neighbourhood in Montreal, then you know already that I love and appreciate many things about this oft-overlooked and underrated borough.
But one of the very best things about living in CDN is the one-and-only Plaza Cote-des-Neiges.
While for many it is a place of nostalgia, for me it is a shining gem of possibility, opportunity and... well, savings. (Let's be real.)
I know I'm not alone in this adoration because when I wrote my original love letter to Cote-des-Neiges, some guy in the comments called me a "Fugazi reporter" because, according to him, I didn't show the Plaza enough love.
He was right in the sense that I didn't wax poetic about the Plaza... because I already knew I was going to write this article. Instead, I just mentioned the Renaissance, which is arguably the biggest and best in the city, as one of the great highlights of the Plaza and neighbourhood as a whole.
But the truth is, there is so much to love about the Plaza.
From the quirky shop names to the no-chains-allowed food court, the Plaza really does offer a special place where small business owners are able to shine.
And in being able to shine, they end up standing out as fantastic places of business, regardless of their location in the Plaza CDN. And with intensive renovations underway, I'm sincerely hoping the focus on independent businesses continues.
Here are some of the best things to check out, next time you're in the hood. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
The All-New Massive Renaissance
Renaissance's new 25,000 square foot location in Plaza Côte-des-Neiges is truly a sight to behold. They've moved to the lower level opposite Dollarama and if you thought you could kill a day at Renaissance before, now you can be certain it's possible.
For those unfamiliar, Renaissance is a second-hand store that will get you those Mile End fashions at a CDN price. Nice.
Find your closest Renaissance and the CDN location's information here.
Cheap Movies @ Ciné Starz
Cine Starz is one of the last non-Cineplex theatre options in Canada. They've got a couple locations in Ontario and Quebec and they survive because they actually offer movies for $5. Yes, you read that correctly, no I didn't forget a 1 in front of that 5. All day Tuesday and all day Wednesday you can watch any new release for $5. Other days it's only $7.
To check movie times, head to the Cine Starz webpage here.
That Childhood Arcade
The photo really says it all with this one. Another perk we can thank Cine Starz for. Head over to the Cine Starz to get your Air Hockey on for your next date and see if they're actually chill or not.
Check out their opening hours here.
The Food Court
Pick one of the many various and unique choices at the Cote-des-Neiges Food Court. No Thai Express or Subway here. Just a bunch of awesome independent restauranteurs, slinging delicious, well-priced and authentic food.
Is there anything Canadian Tire doesn't have? While the RONA on Cote-des-Neiges is technically closer to my house, I will still always go to Canadian Tire because I just know I'm going to find what I need. And six things I don't need. Which is perfect, cause then I can be that girl on the 165 bus with three huge Canadian Tire bags.
Opening hours here.
Marché Fu Tai
Another massive space that is as amazing as it is unique. There aren't many Asian food markets in Montreal of this size, meaning if you're planning a stirfry, hot pot or dim sum brunch, you should really consider stopping by Marche Fu Tai first.
Check out their hours and weekly flyer here.
Your source for fresh-made Montreal bagels right in Cote-des-Neiges! Check out their pastries or go for a classic cream cheese and lox bagelwich.
Read some awesome reviews on their Yelp page.
Restaurant Kam Shing
BE AWARE: At the time of writing this article, Kam Shing is on vacation for most of the month of July.
This is some of the best Chinese food in all of the city. They don't do delivery cause they don't need to: the food is so good, they know you'll come back.
Head to their website for more details. Go by after July 28th to grab some grub.
Swag City is on this list for more than their hater-proof name. They've expanded to a larger store space in the basement of the changing Plaza layout and they've got fresh threads and awesome sales.
Check out their Facebook page here.
Econofitness is probably the best budget-friendly gym chain in Montreal, with memberships as low as $12 a month ($10 if you opt for the Thursday-Sunday weekend membership).
Learn more about the nearly 70-gym-strong Econofitness gym network in Quebec here.
The Giant Ardène
There is always a sale going on at the massive Ardène right by the entrance. So if you're ever in need of a new, cheap bathing suit or pair of earrings, this should be your first stop.
Speaking of sales, there is currently a sidewalk sale happening at the Plaza, so ignore the ridiculous renovations and go take in the awesome deals.
If I haven't convinced you to head over to the Plaza this weekend or next... well, it's clearly your loss.
WHAT: Plaza Cote-des-Neiges
WHERE: 6700 chemin Côte-des-Neiges
WHEN: Open at 10 AM every day of the week.
Closes at 6PM Monday to Thursday, 9PM on Friday and 5PM on Saturday and Sunday.
For more information, head to the Plaza Cote-des-Neiges website here.