Guys, if you've ever been to Montreal, then you know we're unique AF. We do things a little different here, so that something as simple as eating a bagel or drinking a coffee is a whole new, awesome experience.
You read that right, guys. Montreal Pool Room first opened its doors in 1912, founded by Bulgarian immigrant in Filipoff Dakov.
Which makes it a little over 100 years old. And although there were functional pool tables at one point, there aren't anymore. (Unless you count the ones used as counter space... but you can't exactly use those for playing pool).
In 1989, a fire broke out through the restaurant, which forced them to rebuild the whole interior... which, obviously, is not that fun, but it's worth mentioning that despite a huge setback, they returned stronger than ever.
Today, although it's in an all-new location, the love Montrealers have for this spot is clearly strong enough to weather anything.
In Montreal, summer means more than just fun in the sun. It's a season that brings people together — something many Montrealers have been missing over the past year.
There's no doubt summer 2021 is particularly special. With restrictions easing for the first time in months, the spirit of celebration is in the air, and people are ready to make this season one for the history books.
Is there any better way to kick off summer in this city than with Saint-Jean-Baptiste? As a celebration of Quebec's heritage and history, it’s one of the province's favourite holidays and with good reason. From bonfires and barbecues to fireworks and fêtes, St-Jean is when Montreal truly comes alive.
This summer, Pepsi® may even help you to seriously upgrade your plans. The Drink Pepsi Get Summer Stuff contest is giving Canadians the chance to win thousands of prizes like bicycles, paddleboards, barbecue grills, merch and more, including a weekly chance to win $10,000.
Whenever you grab a Pepsi cola this summer, submit the unique codes found on specially marked Pepsi products at www.pepsistuff.ca for your chance to win! Make this June 24 one to remember with one of these seven outdoor ideas.
Why You Need To Do It: No St-Jean would be complete without a feast to match the fête, so fire up the grill and get cooking.
With COVID-19 gathering restrictions shifting in Montreal, you might be able to even kick it up a notch and have a backyard potluck — while following all pertinent COVID-19 safety guidelines, of course. Include some fave Quebec cuisine, like the famed poutine, to really go all-in on the holiday.
Watch Fireworks From A Rooftop
Why You Need To Do It: You're never too old for fireworks, and there's nothing quite like watching this spectacular display each St-Jean.
This holiday, call up your crew and find your way to a viewpoint, like a rooftop terrasse, to catch a glimpse of the show for yourself.
Have A Picnic In A Park
Why You Need To Do It: Whip out your picnic basket and fill it up with your fave food and drinks for an idyllic — and free — way to celebrate the holiday. You could even pack a Pepsi for each of your friends and submit those unique codes for a chance to win some sweet summer stuff.
Montrealers are spoiled for choice when it comes to parks. From Mont-Royal to La Fontaine, Jarry, Angrignon and more, the only hard part is deciding where to meet up.
Why You Need To Do It: Band together with your roomies or friends to host a pandemic-friendly celebration in your backyard. Organize food, drinks, games, a playlist, and don't forget to decorate with all things white and blue to commemorate St-Jean.
The best part about this one is that you'll never have to go looking for a bathroom.
Grab A Drink At A Terrasse
Why You Need To Do It: With Montreal terrasses open, soaking up the sun while sipping margs, mimosas or an alcoholic-free beverage is a splendid option for a summer afternoon. And on St-Jean, there's no better way to catch up with friends and celebrate all at once.
Why You Need To Do It: Since St-Jean honours Quebec's heritage, it's also a chance to embrace some local history too.
Place Vauquelin Fountain and Dorchester Square are a few of Montreal's fascinating historical sites that you can check out. Plus, with few visitors in the city right now, it's a great time to play tourist in your own town.
Go Swimming At An Outdoor Pool
Why You Need To Do It: During peak summer, especially on a day like St-Jean, escaping to an oasis in the heart of the city can be exactly what's called for. Thankfully, Montreal is home to many outdoor pools, some of which are free and others that require a small fee.
With the Drink Pepsi Get Summer Stuff contest you can make the day one you'll never forget. With a chance to win a weekly Grand Prize of $10,000 and thousands of instant prizes like barbecue grills, bicycles, paddleboards, shirts and more epic summer gear, there may be no better time to sip a Pepsi.
Be on the lookout for specially marked products with on-pack codes. All you have to do to enter is redeem your code on www.pepsistuff.ca for a chance to win.
As the world gradually begins to reopen, you might be itching to head out on an adventure. Thankfully, Québec City's lively culture, vibrant history and many attractions make it one of the province's most sought-after staycation spots this summer.
Just a stone's throw away from Montreal, Québec City and its European charm might make you feel like you're on a different continent — minus the travel, expense and crowds. And this summer, the city promises to be better than ever with a season-long lineup of outdoor activities, new urban developments and more.
While COVID-19 guidelines remain in effect, Québec City has ensured all attractions and activities respect provincial safety measures including physical distancing, ensuring you stay safe while still having a good time.
If you're looking to get away this season, there are a few reasons why Québec City is the perfect place for a summer staycation.
It's A Foodie's Paradise
Québec City's food scene is renowned across the province. With fare inspired by French flavours and the city's Indigenous roots, no matter your palate, there's a place for you. You can spend an entire trip just checking out the city's restaurants.
From snack shacks and farmers markets to food tours and fine dining, you may need to loosen a belt buckle or two to get it all in. The city's open-air terrasses make it the ultimate place to soak up some sun and enjoy a refreshing beverage.
With colonial architecture dating back over 400 years, Old Québec is one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Québec City. As a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, strolling through its cobblestoned streets can feel like stepping into a fairytale.
The Place Royale, situated in the Petit-Champlain area, is particularly magical: said to be the site of North America’s first French settlement, Place Royale is steeped in centuries of history, and the perfect spot to grab a coffee!
The architectural treasures and public art may make you feel like you've left North America (and this century) altogether, creating a reminiscent and romantic experience all at once.
It may be a metropolis, but there’s plenty of nature to be found in and around Québec City.
You can discover its scenic beauty at spots like Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in Québec, or Montmorency Falls, which are 30 metres higher than Niagara Falls. Plus, if you're feeling particularly active, this is a great place to take your mountain bike.
Québec City is one of the province's go-to destinations for all kinds of art and historical architecture. Outdoor sculptures, masterpieces, poetry on rooftops, live shows, churches and castles make this destination a feast for the senses - in fact, there are over 1000 activities for tourists and locals alike!
There's no shortage of things to see. Bring your camera and get ready to capture every magical moment, including a selfie or two, at beautiful spots like rue Sous-le-Cap and Morrin Centre, to name a few.
Québec City really is a playground, and you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it.
The city is known for its multiple entertainment spots, like the Aquarium du Québec, Village Vacances Valcartier, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and plenty more. Plus, with amusement parks, pick-your-own farms, wildlife tours and treetop adventures, there's no shortage of fun to be had no matter what you or your family are into.
One of the best parts of visiting a different place is getting the chance to explore its museums, and there's plenty to be found in Québec City. From art history to Indigenous stories and more, you'll take away a lot from these enlightening exhibits.
It's an opportunity to really get a sense of what makes Québec so unique while making memories to last a lifetime.
No matter where within Québec City you are, you're sure to find somewhere to shop. Explore one of its many boutiques to discover some unique items.
With its designer and artisanal boutiques, Quartier Petit Champlain is North America's oldest shopping district. Rue Saint-Jean is also a popular shopping destination, along with Saint-Roch and Place Royale.
If you haven't yet made the trip to Québec City, now is a great time to consider it. With plenty to do for everyone, plus delicious food and stunning scenery, it's like taking a European holiday without the hassle.
Plus right now, Québec City has a promo going on where if you book a minimum of two consecutive nights at any participating hotel directly, you’ll receive a $75 gift card to spend at any participating business in the Québec City area.
Québec City Tourism continues to ensure each and every activity and attraction respects all COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Address: 150, ave. Mont-Royal E., Montreal, QC (Plateau)
Why You Need To Go: They're famous for their watermelon and pineapple bowls but have a big menu full of fun and delicious Hawaiian-themed treats. We can't wait to try the Strawberry Shortcake Sundae and birthday cake ice cream, which uses actual chunks of birthday cake.
Address: 1274, boul. de Maisonneuve E., Montreal, QC (Ville Marie)
Why You Need To Go: Some of the most refined and elegant soft-serve twists you can find, Sachère always keeps balanced flavour profiles in mind. Think toasted pistachio & sour cherry, Matcha & dark chocolate, and olive oil & grapefruit mint.
It will join the Schlesinger Library's collection of historical menus so it can be used as an artifact for food history buffs and researchers — meaning a little piece of Montreal culture has found a new home at Harvard.
"I think it's pretty cool ... like I can make something lasting," said owner Feigang Fei, the man behind the menu that made waves around the world — garnering attention from The Guardian, CNN, The New York Times, and more.
It was after reading The New York Times' article that a Harvard history professor reached out to Fei, asking for a copy of his menu to add to the archives.
Aunt Dai is my favourite Chinese restaurant in Montreal, but the REAL treat is the menu, featuring extremely honest… https://t.co/N5dZlilil0
"When I look back at least seven or eight of the [menu comments] — pretty funny," Fei told MTL Blog.
"I wrote them five years ago, or maybe some of them even six years ago. I didn't realize ... it's not appropriate."
For example, Fei said he's always watching his weight, leading him to caption the Braised Pork Belly with: "You may not want to have it every time if you are watching your weight because you know you cannot stop if you have started on this one."
The Orange Beef is a fan favourite: "This one is not THAT good," Fei wrote.
Fei said his blunt comments started when customers were confused by traditional Chinese dishes on the menu. They'd order things with familiar names not knowing what to expect, only to be disappointed.
"That's why I have to put more information [...] on the website, to kind of let them know," he said.
"But as I always like to joke around, [...] I sometimes probably went astray."
Prior to his newfound fame, Fei said he liked to stay behind the scenes. But now that his face has been on TV and all over the internet, he said the "floodgates have opened," and he's no longer afraid to step into the spotlight.