Explore The Dynamic Chinatown District During Your Corporate Stays In Montreal
Like all great cosmopolitan cities, Montreal has had its own Chinatown since the late 1800s. But as you’ll witness, it’s got a bit more going for it. It is one of the oldest Chinatowns in North America. It has also been home to many Jewish, Irish, and other immigrant communities at times as well. The area went through a revival in the 1980s, with the city supporting artists to add Chinese-themed public artworks.
Another phase of renovations recently has seen a new mural, featuring a Chinese opera singer, near the north gate, unveiled in 2015, and the renovation of the four “paifang” – city gateways. The north and south sides of Chinatown are marked by the gateways on St Laurent (at René-Levesque and Viger), and on de la Gauchetière to the east and west. Montréal’s Chinatown is unusual in that it still has all four of its gates. The centrepiece is the memorial park and statue of Dr Sun Yat Sen, the founder of modern China.
A PLACE OF HISTORY
Although not as large as the Chinatowns in Vancouver or San Francisco, Montréal’s Chinatown holds well in its range of great places to eat and drink. Chinatown is situated just north of Place d’Armes metro, the streets between St Urbain and St Laurent, and between Avenue Viger and Boulevard René-Levesque. There are stores selling all sorts of arts and crafts, groceries, gifts, and traditional medicines. From Chinese lanterns, to clothing, to herbal teas. There is a pedestrian area around rue de la Gauchetière. It makes for a great place to wander and take in the sights and the delicious flavours and scents that drift on the air.
TONS OF GREAT FOOD
As well as Chinese food, there are Mongolian, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese restaurants. Vietnamese pho and Korean barbecues having become especially popular recently. Many Montréalers seek out the simpler, casual restaurants. Many feature large round tables and white plastic tablecloths, or the buffet-style restaurants. The food is usually excellent and great value. Several stay open late into the night – Mon Nan stays open until 4am (except for Mondays, but then it still stays open until 3am!) Stroll along Rue de la Gauchetière between St-Urbain and St Laurent and take your pick. And look out for the artworks and plaque featuring the Monkey King. For a more sophisticated experience, just to the west of St-Urbain on de la Gauchetière, is Orange Rouge, which has been pushing the boundaries of traditional Chinese cuisine since it opened in 2013.
A full meal isn’t the only way to sample Chinatown’s food. There are patisseries selling sweets and treats – like the bakery Bao Bao Dim Sum. There are also many cafés and bars selling bubble tea. For an in-depth “foodie” experience, there is even a half-day guided food walking tour that outlines the history of Chinese immigration to Canada over the centuries, and offers five different “tasting stops”.
We hope this guide has been helpful. As you can see, there’s tons of culture and pleasure in Montreal’s Chinatown during your stay in Montreal!