St-Henri is the Hip Heart of Montreal
So I've recently been spending a lot of time in the Montreal borough of St-Henri and I just have to tell you guys about how I have fallen in love with this place.
Tucked between Westmount and the Lachine Canal, St-Henri has long played a vital role in the Montreal economy. Former industrial centers and workers' housing dot the neighborhood.
Recently, the neighborhood has undergone major changes. As new condo developments sprout along the canal, new investment and "trendy" business have also come into the area. The main commercial street, Rue Notre Dame Ouest, has also been completed renovated to be more accessible and aesthetically pleasing.
Of course, such developments have also led to gentrification. As prices increase, longtime St-Henri residents and institutions have been displaced. So when visiting or moving to the area, it's important to be responsible and shop locally.
Listed below are some of the restaurants, activities, and features that make St-Henri truly unique in Montreal, including both old and new institutions.
St-Henri is accessible by Lionel-Groulx and Place St-Henri metro stations. It's definitely worth a day trip!
The Greenspot is an insanely popular staple of life in St-Henri. It is a classic American-style diner founded in the 1940s with a Quebec twist. Besides diner classics like milkshakes and burgers, it also has an entire menu devoted to different kinds of poutine. The place is like a time capsule with juke boxes at every table. Though recent improvements also keep it up to twenty-first century standards. And please, if you go there, try the cheese cake!
The Atwater Market is one of the city's largest. The sprawling complex is right next to the Lachine Canal and includes both indoor and outdoor shops. The main structure is an incredible piece of architecture from the 1930s with clocktower that is a symbol of the neighborhood. Right between the canal and market is also a large deck that is a favorite hang-out spot among locals. It even has above-head mist sprinklers to keep visitors cool!
Atwater Market restaurants
The restaurants deserve their own post. At the front of the market is a food court featuring about one dozen local vendors. Everything is absolutely delicious. I've spent hours at one of the picnic tables sipping bear and eating tacos.
The Lachine Canal forms the south-eastern boundary of the neighborhood. This water passage enabled ships to bypass the Lachine rapids and led to an economic boom that first put Montreal on the world map. Today, it features dozens of parks and a bike path that stretches all the way from the Old Port to the neighborhood of Lachine. The ride is as beautiful as it is educational. Posters provide information on the many nineteenth-century industrial buildings that line the waterway. Just across from the Atwater Market in Poine-St-Charles you can also rent a paddle boat!
There's a bar on the canal
The Canal Lounge is an actual boat on the canal! If you're lucky you can sit right at the bow and get sweeping views of the waterway and people enjoying its many recreational activities.
The Foiegwa has quickly become one of the most popular brunch spots in the entire city. At the corner of Ave. Atwater and Rue Notre-Dame, the restaurant is a chic take on classic American diners.
Marmite Su'l Feu
This charming little restaurnt serves classic cuisine from the French island of Réunion. Let me tell you: my life has never been the same since dining there. Its cheery bright atmosphere complements the bursts of flavour in its food.
Murals and graffiti
St-Henri is quickly becoming a destination for street artists. It not only features dozens of murals, including a brand new one by Samira and Andreas von Chrzanowski, but also gorgeous graffiti on vacant industrial factories. The mural pictured above by indigenous artist Jessica Sabogal has received a lot of attention because of the recurrent vandalism that has defaced it. You can check out the artist's Instagram account here.
There's a store entirely devoted to pie
The Rustique Pie Kitchen and café is a must-visit for Montrealers with a sweet tooth. It's a lot of fun just to gaze upon the cute little store's wide selection. There are even miniature pies for those who only want a snack.
Arthur's is a delicious Jewish nosh bar that serves all kinds of incredible baked and breakfast treats. There's also bagel and lox on top of Caesars. And you have to check out the restaurant Instagram account.
Ask any resident of St-Henri for food recommendations and they'll insist you go to Satay Brothers. What began as a stand at the Atwater Market is now a famous restaurant serving Singaporean street-food cuisine to a wider audience! Check out the website here!
McAuslan Brewery Terrace
The McAuslan brewery is tucked away among abandoned industrial buildings. But its terrace is one of the neighborhood's best-kept secrets. It's the perfect shady spot to enjoy some beers with friends.
St-Henri has an architectural variety that might be greater than any other area in the city. With several art-deco buildings, workers' row houses, and merchants' mansions, the neighborhood offers much visual interest to the common pedestrian.