It's nearly time to take your singing out of the shower and into the heart of the Plateau, as the borough will be hosting several public karaoke sessions this fall.
A combo project created with la Société de développement du boulevard Saint-Laurent, the Plateau's public karaoke events hope to foster new bonds within the community, because nothing strengthens relationships better than bad singing. That wasn't even sarcasm, poorly singing karaoke with people really is a legit bonding experience.
The Plateau's public karaoke sessions will be held on Saturday afternoons at parc du Portugal, and will run 'til about 6pm, so no one gets pissed about noise levels late at night. Three events will be held, all occurring sometime between September 15th and October 15th.
You got a few months to choose your perfect karaoke song (dibs on Total Eclipse of the Heart) but make sure not to practice too much. The best part about karaoke is how everyone is kinda sucky. If you can actually sing, please resist the urge participate, no one likes a showoff.
For more on all things Montreal, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte
If you're reading this, you probably love brunch as much as I do — which means you know that, as great as it is to revisit Montreal's classic brunch spots weekend after weekend, sometimes you want to shake up your routine. That's where Barranco, a new Peruvian brunch spot in the Plateau–Mont-Royal, comes in.
Barranco just launched its brunch service on September 17 and, as the brunch lover I am, I was there two days later to try it. Between the $30 bottomless mimosa option, the good vibes and the Montreal-meets-Peru concept, anyone looking for something unique and delicious should add this place to their weekend brunch roster.
The real Barranco is a neighbourhood in the heart of Peru's capital Lima, which Barranco MTL owner Fidel M. Vasquez described as "romantic and urban, very artistic." But Montreal's Barranco is in the heart of the Plateau on Rue Saint-Denis, across from Clébard.
"I'm in the [restaurant] industry for about 10 years now and I come from Cusco, Peru," Vasquez told me. "It's always been my dream to open a restaurant here in Montreal [so] that I can show you guys a bit more about our culture."
We were struck by the cool atmosphere that effortlessly blends two different worlds: Montreal and Peru.
On one wall, you'll find a mural that transports you straight to the streets of Peru with palm trees and colourful houses. On the other wall, you'll find mixed media collage-style art that's common on the streets of Montreal.
The menu was created as a collaboration between Passé Composé's Arnaud Glay and Barranco's chefs Daniel Silva and Michelangelo Miceli. Like the decor, puts a Montreal twist on Peruvian favourites. My friend got a Peruvian take on a bagel lox and cream cheese: a St-Viateur bagel with trout gravlax, cilantro sauce, red onions, radishes, jalapeño yogurt, cilantro sprouts, corn and jalapeño salsa. He loved it.
I had the Ceviche de Hongos, a mix of mushrooms, sour marinade, chives, red onion, corn, crunchy corn, quinoa, and coriander seeds. It was a perfect excuse to eat ceviche for breakfast — something I haven't done since I visited Peru several years ago and it brought back yummy, fresh, citrusy, seafood memories.
I opted for a house passionfruit (maracuya) juice instead of the $30 bottomless mimosas that day. My juice was delightfully refreshing and beautiful to look at. That said, the bottomless mimosas are a fun option and it looked like the party atmosphere was starting picking up the pace when we headed out, as a DJ spun happy beats and old-school retro music.
If you're looking for a tasty new brunch spot that'll make you feel like you have one foot in Canada and the other in South America, then I definitely recommend checking out Barranco, whether for brunch or for dinner. The restaurant is open for brunch on weekends from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner Monday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Cuisine: Peruvian meets Montreal
Address: 4552, rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: From the $30 bottomless mimosa option to the Montreal-meets-Peru concept, Barranco is a unique and delicious new brunch spot that should be added to any Montreal brunch lover's brunch bucket list.
To the surprise of many, Quebec City also made the Top 10 — and it ranked higher than Montreal, with Quebec City at #4 and Montreal at #6.
This ranking looked at the cost of living, internet speeds, the percentage of young people, levels of safety, and more.
Our province may have been blessed enough to score two top spots in this ranking, but we still didn't make it to #1, which was Tokyo, Japan.
If ever you were thinking of going to study abroad, you may want to put Tokyo high on your list, considering it "ranks well in nearly all categories helping it to come out on top of the study. It has a good amount of high-ranking unis, great food options, and offers cheap tech. It has high levels of free speech and is above average for safety and high-ranking institutions."
Staycations are where it's at 2021, and Quebec — with its rolling hills, beautiful lakes and endless drives — is a wonderful place to go exploring near to home. As Canada's largest province, it's chock-full of memories just waiting to be made.
Quebec offers an abundance of both history and nature, from its townships brimming with European charm to its vast provincial parks. You can fly, train or bus to many of Quebec's must-see destinations, but the best way to explore this far-reaching province is by car.
If you're craving the open road, take a cue from 95.9 Virgin Radio host Vinny, who knows a thing or two about road trips. As one of the hosts of Montreal's favourite radio station (and a born-and-bred Montrealer), he reaches road trippers and commuters every weekday morning.
Vinny knows that when it comes to exploring Quebec, you don't have to travel far to uncover lush scenery, wildlife and get some R&R. In fact, his favourite spots are all less than three hour's drive from Montreal.
Just imagine hitting the open road with the windows down and the radio pumping, cruising your way around picturesque villages, quaint architecture, lazy rivers and towering fjords.
Once you've checked out your favourite stops from Vinny's list of must-sees, all you need is a car, snacks for the road and 95.9 Virgin Radio on full blast.
Time From Montreal: 2 hours
Why You Need To Go: With so much to do and see, Mont-Tremblant is one of Quebec's most popular destinations no matter the season or the reason. From a panoramic gondola ride with a bird's eye view of the Laurentians to bike riding through one of the mountain's many trails, this spot is ideal for explorers and adventurers alike.
After a day spent wandering through nature in all its glory, you can wind down with a shopping spree in Mont-Tremblant's famed pedestrian village. Follow it up with an Instagram-worthy dining experience at one of the dozens of restaurants for a vacay done right.
Why You Need To Go: Less than two hour's drive from Montreal (during which you can jam out to tunes on 95.9 Virgin Radio), Saint-Sauveur is another popular Quebec destination that makes for a great day trip. With a massive outdoor pool and water park, restaurants like Gibby's and spas like Vinny's fave, the Polar Bear's Club Spa, Saint-Sauveur is a must-visit for Montrealers.
Spend the day soaking and steaming in the spa's thermal waters, view the Laurentians from horseback or shop to your heart's content. No matter how you choose to spend your time, there's no shortage of fun to be had at Saint-Sauveur.
Why You Need To Go: According to Vinny, Estérel Resort is "an oasis." With a four-season spa that boasts lake and mountainside views, it's easy to see why. Estérel Resort is all about escaping the daily grind, so what better way could there be to make use of a vacation day? Estérel's all-inclusive packages make it a one-stop-shop for all things R&R.
If you're in the mood for a solid sweat sesh, you can venture through the Laurentians via paddleboard, canoe, kayak, pontoon boat or bike. Foodies will especially love the range of fine dining, including the renowned Bistro à Champlain restaurant.
Why You Need To Go: With more than 225 species that call it home, Zoo de Granby is the largest zoo in the province and offers a great day out for the whole family. Due to continued health and safety guidelines, reservations are required for the summer 2021 season, so be sure to save your spot to get in on all the action.
Slender-tailed meerkats, white rhinos, Japanese macaques and snow leopards are just some of the many animals you'll get to spy here. Learn all there is to know about Granby's conservation efforts while you're at it, too.
Why You Need To Go: Just off the island, La Ferme Quinn is a go-to destination for farm-fresh fruits and veggies, including apples, cucumbers, kale and almost every type of berry you can think of. With fall just around the corner, now's the time to plan your apple-picking adventure to stock up for all those pies you're sure to make.
If baking isn't quite your thing, don't stress. According to Vinny, La Ferme Quinn has the "best apple pie ever." You can also load up on muffins and a ton of other baked goodies that may or may not make it through the car ride home.
Why You Need To Go: Combining rustic charm with jaw-dropping architecture, Le Château Montebello might just take your breath away in the best way as it's situated within nature itself. Fun fact: Le Château Montebello is the world's largest log cabin, and it was rated one of the top 10 resort hotels in Canada by Travel & Leisure.
To make your staycay complete, there's an outdoor pool and cabanas, a sports chalet boasting everything from tennis to mini-golf, a nautical pavilion for those who like to kayak, canoe or paddleboard, hiking trails and even 90-minute guided ATV rides.
Why You Need To Go: You don't need to travel far to uncover the beauty of Quebec. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Centre de la Nature is a massive urban park that spans 50 hectares.
Whether you're in search of a chill picnic, wanting to uncover nature via the Centre's five kilometres of pedestrian paths, or looking to entertain the family at Piscine Saint-Vincent or the on-site petting zoo, Centre de la Nature has it all. There's even a tropical greenhouse that boasts a stunning array of plants and animals, so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
Why You Need To Go: Charm and character combine with history to make Quebec City a must-see (and see again) spot. Walkable and sure to satiate your wanderlust, Quebec City is a great spot to spend your vacation days. Crank up the radio while you're en route and listen to 95.9 Virgin Radio hosts talk all things pop culture and more before you pull up in one of the province's most iconic destinations.
Once you're there, soak up a bit of history at Château Frontenac then traverse the Plains of Abraham, the site of the famous Battle of Quebec. You can also peep a stellar view of the St. Lawrence River from Dufferin Terrace, zipline above Montmorency Falls, shop and eat to your heart's content — however you choose to spend your time, Quebec City has plenty to offer.
Why You Need To Go: Touted as a "super cool experience" by Vinny himself, Parc Omega is a safari park with a 12-kilometre route that winds throughout. You're likely to see wolves, deer, bears, bison, birds and more at this year-round attraction.
For the brave-of-heart, you can also spend a night or two in a cabin, chalet, lodge or pod that's surrounded by a pack of wolves. Each accommodation has a glass facade to allow uninterrupted views of nature and wolves alike.
Why You Need To Go: Since it's always five o'clock somewhere, what better way to spend a day than at a winery? Located just minutes from Montreal, La Bullerie is the first Quebec vineyard that specializes in sparkling wines. With the likes of white, red and, of course, rosé, you can sip and santé while you take in the picturesque views of wine country.
If you fancy a picnic while you're there, La Bullerie offers one of their very own that includes choice cheese, fruit and a local dessert. It's the ultimate daytime date location.