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April 2010 Email this to a friend


By Robert David Sullivan

Nobiz, Montreal

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded article on Montreal click DailyXtraTravel

Montreal has a reputation for decadence among gays in the northeastern US, but that's not exactly right. This is not a hedonistic capital like Rio or New Orleans. Rather, gay life here is very urban, in a pre-gentrification way. Montreal is what New York might have become if that city had found a way to lower crime without pricing the Village People out -- that is, if the Village People had all got iPhones and developed a fondness for hockey and karaoke.
The largest city in Quebec still has a large "gay ghetto," full of specialized bars that manage to stay in business even without overflow crowds and $12 drinks. There are a number of bathhouses competing for business, with theme nights and spanking-new equipment and several strip clubs catering to various tastes. Downtown, there are grand department stores and plenty of bookstores, both things that are quickly disappearing from major cities in the US.
Though everyone seems connected to the web here, the gay scene is not yet dominated by Craigslist and Grindr: it's still considered good form to chat guys up in a bar or on the street. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Getting here
Montreal-Trudeau Airport is about 20 km (or 12 miles) southwest of the city and is not served by the Metro system. A taxi to downtown costs about C$38, but an Aerobus shuttle is only C$16. It leaves every half hour in the daytime and drops you off at the central bus station, which happens to be one block from the Gay Village.

Getting around
Central Montreal is quite walkable; strolling from Campus in the Gay Village to La Baie department store downtown takes about 20 minutes. But if you're looking for a street address, remember to distinguish between "Est" and "Ouest" on the major thoroughfares. The Metro is clean and reliable, and it operates until roughly 12:30am. Single fares are C$2.75; three-day passes are C$14. You can also get one-day access to BIXI, the city's new public bike-sharing system, for C$5.

The Gay Village, or simply Le Village, is the obvious destination for gay travelers, but if you're in Montreal for more than a day, you should take advantage of the citywide gay-friendliness.
Old Montreal. The riverfront district is undeniably touristy; still, it's a must-see for art gallery and architecture fans.
The Plateau. With Boulevard St-Laurent at its heart, this area has the most vibrant nights-and-weekends scene in the city. There aren't many specifically gay places, but there's plenty of eye candy on the streets.

in focus
Montreal's 'meet' market
There are great restaurants to experience in Montreal, but not everyone wants to devote half their travel budget to eating out. You might want to save your dough for drinks, cover charges and maybe the occasional lap dance.
Your best bet for food is one of the public markets scattered across the city, and the biggest is Marche Jean-Talon (7070 Henri-Julien Street; 514-937-7754; marche-jean-talon.com), about a three-minute walk from the Metro stop of the same name.
The market is open from 7am to at least 5pm on all but four days of the year. You can almost make a meal out of sampling the fruits and vegetables; the competition here is fierce enough that most sellers put out sample plates of their wares. For lunch, there are small cafes, or you can snack on walking-around food like elk on a stick. Jean-Talon also has specialty shops for meat, fish, cheese, pastries and ice cream, plus a vendor of fresh olives with orange rinds and other unexpected stuffings.
If it all seems overwhelming, ask for advice from any of the healthy-looking boys doing their weekly shopping. You might even be able to do some trading -- say, a juicy cantaloupe for a nice bunch of asparagus.
A great picnic spot is 3,600-acre Jarry Park, a short walk from the market (four blocks down Rue Jean-Talon, in the oppo-site direction from the subway stop, then a right on Boulevard St-Laurent and up four blocks). In warm weather, you can always scope out joggers and sunbathers hanging out by the artificial lake. There are softball and soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts and a public pool -- all almost entirely tourist-free.
Alternatively, you can head back to your hotel for a more private meal. And if you happen to meet someone that evening, you can entice him with something more appealing than cold pizza for two.

Top experiences
Get greased. Village Resto, on Rue Wolfe off Rue Ste-Catherine, a 24-hour hangout popular with boys needing to recharge after a night of dancing. Go for poutine or pork pie (see restaurants below).

Get smart. McGill University has had an active gay community since the early '70s. Check out the campus or go to queermcgill.ca.

Get bugged. See thousands of creepy-crawlies, safely contained behind glass, at the Insectarium, part of the spectacular Montreal Botanical Garden.

Get exfoliated. Make reservations for a visit to one of the spas near the Village. People know how to pamper their epidermis in this cold climate.

Get new threads. Head downtown and go upscale at Ogilvy (1307 Rue Sainte-Catherine W), find bargains at Simons or go for the art fag look at Le Chateau.

Get thighs. Rent a BIXI and glide among the guys on the Lachine Canal bike path.

Local media
The free monthly Fugues is the best source for gay events and attractions in the city. It is almost entirely in French, but certain key features (like the bar listings) have English translations, and the not-so-subtle ads are pretty easy to figure out.
2B Magazine is a new English language magazine from the same publisher as French-language RG Magazine and Etre.
The Hour, a free weekly in English, has general arts info as well as alternative-press news.
For "hard" news of interest to the gay community, log on to the Montreal section of Xtra.ca.

Pride day
A queer-specific arts festival on the edge of the Village that includes free concerts and outdoor tea dances.
July 25-August 1, 2010

Montreal Pride Celebrations
The official event, with a parade and endless dancing.
August 12-15, 2010

Event planner

White Party Week
Bal en Blanc 16
Six nights of dancing.
April 1-5, 2010
Montreal Convention Centre

Hot & Dry
A Bad Boys Club Montreal event
May 13-17, 2010
Various Village venues

Festival International Montreal en Arts
Open-air art show in the Village.
July 1-11, 2010
Rue Ste-Catherine

Twist Weekend
Another package of Bad Boys Club dances.
July 30-August 3, 2010
Various locations

Black & Blue Festival
The autumn roundup of dance parties, arts events and gay athletics.
October 6-12, 2010
Montreal Olympic Park and other venues

A gay independent film festival
October 21-31, 2010
Cinema Imperial, (1432 rue de Bleury)

Accommodations: Hotels

Abri du Voyageur Hotel (9 Ste-Catherine; 514-849- 2992) appeals to the budget-conscious traveler, also has efficiency suites.

Hotel Bourbon (1574 Ste-Catherine E; 514-523-4679) 31 rooms and 5 suites.

Hotel Dorion (1477 Dorion; 514-523- 2427) convenient to Bar Taboo with overnight or short-term rooms, each with private bath, some with Jacuzzis and fridge.

Hotel Felix (1274 Ste-Catherine E; 514-525-2424) across from Beaudry Metro, some rooms have hot tubs, outdoor terrace.

Hotel Gouverneur (1415 St-Hubert; 514- 842-4881), large high-rise chain hotel with indoor pool, above the Place Dupuis shopping arcade.

Hotel Manoir Des Alpes (1245 St-Andre; 514- 845-9803) French/Portuguese flavor, late continental breakfast, modern comforts at modest rates, free parking.

Hotel St- Andre; (1285 St-Andre; 514- 849-7070) hotel with modern decor, moderate prices, in-room continental breakfast, free parking.

Hotel Ste-Catherine (1674 Ste-Catherine; 514-527-4440), spacious and inexpensive basic rooms by the hour or the day at the heart of the Gay Village.

Hotel Stay Centreville (910 Blvd Maisonneuve E) modern, urban renovated en suite rooms, 32 inch TVs, breakfast, Wi-Fi, in Gay Village near Berri-Uqam Metro and bus station.

Accommodations: Bed & breakfasts
At these B&Bs, most hosts and guests are gay. Full breakfast is the norm.

Absolument Montreal (1790 Amherst; 514-223- 0017) hip urban B&B, film-themed rooms, luxury amenities, gourmet breakfast until noon, all-season garden hot tub.

Alexandre Logan (1870) B & B (1631 Alexandre de Seve; 514- 598-0555), centrally sited prestigious house restored to original splendour, gourmet kitchen, tranquil garden with sundeck and shower.

Aubergell.com (L'Un et L'Autre) (1641 Amherst; 514- 597-0878) has affordable rates, cozy rooms, underfoot comfort with heated floors and plush carpets, semi-private & private bath.

BBV Bed & Breakfast Du Village (1279 Montcalm; 514- 522-4771) great values, hot tub, private baths, interior parking, engaging owners.

Belles Vues B&B (1407 Panet #2; 514-521- 9998) central location with great views above Second Cup, large rooms, home comforts, apartment-sized suites.

Escogriffe B & B (1264 Wolfe; 514-523-4800) elegant Gay Village guest house, full American breakfasts, affectionate cats and smart dog, rooftop terrace.

Le Chasseur (1567 St-Andre, 514-521-2238) relaxed and very affordable, shared or private bath by Baudry Metro station in Gay Village, also with private apartment.

La Conciergerie (1019 St-Hubert; 514-289-9297) indoor whirlpool, roof deck, cruisy gym, glass-enclosed breakfast nook overlooks garden.

La Loggia (1637 Amherst; 514-524-2493) B&B/Gite with urban garden, includes workshop brimming with works of Canadian artists.

Maison Des Jardins (1365 Logan) gay men only relaxed B&B at heart of Village. Generous breakfast, year-round outdoor spa and massage.

Ruta Bagage (1345 Ste-Rose; 514-598-1586) grand Victorian on quiet street, huge windows, full breakfast, sunny terrace.

Sir Montcalm Gite/B&B (1455 Montcalm; 514- 522-7747), urban chic decor, two and three-room suites with private bath, community room with fireplace where four-course breakfast is served, free gym passes.

Click HERE for more places to stay in Montreal.

An easy two-hour drive west of Montreal, the Inn on Somerset (282 Somerset St, W Ottawa; 613-236-9309) offers simple getaways -- or complete gay wedding packages. For romping or resting, this inn's custom beds have a reputation as some of the best, and longtime host, George, takes special pride in them.

Circuit parties

Bad Boys Club Montreal (Bbcm.org) circuit parties include: Hot & Dry; Twist Weekend; Black & Blue Weekend; Bal des Boys Weekend, December 31- January 3, 2010 and Red Weekend in February.

Bars: Strippers
In Montreal, dancers can strip down to the bare essentials, and hard-ons are permitted. Lap dances are fine in secluded lounges.

Campus (1111 Ste-Catherine E) a world-favorite with buff guys who strip for men daily 3pm-3am (except Sunday for women), with dimly lit VIP private section.

Stock (1171 Ste-Catherine E) shower shows, large VIP lounge, two backrooms, seven nights. See their website for live feed of performances.

JP Cabaret (1681 Ste-Catherine E) replaced Bar Adonis. After a brief change of pace they returned to the old ambience, and slender nude strippers.

At Taboo (1950 De Maisonneuve E), agile, smooth nude dancers with imaginative routines, every night from 7pm.

Bars: Leather, bears

Black Eagle (1315 Ste-Catherine E) leather, rubber, kink and fetish men's bar, pool table, intense murals.

Stud (1812, Ste-Catherine E) men-only bar favored by bears and leathermen but friendly to all guys. Dancing, wide music variety, theme nights, non-stop sex videos.

Tunnel (1296, Amherst) all-male mixed age leather, fetish bar and dance club beneath Club Parking. Men-only backroom K-Lub with glory holes, labyrinth, sling, porn films, showers and cabins.

Woof Bistro Bar (1661 Ste-Catherine E) men's bear bar with fetish theme nights, spaghetti supper karaoke, and rock n' roll nostalgia nights.

Bars: Drag

Cabaret Cleo (1230 St-Laurent) real-girl strippers at street level, and drag shows on the second floor.

Cabaret Mado (1115 Ste-Catherine E) the campiest drag shows in Montreal, seven nights a week.

Bars: Other

Bar Cocktail (1669 Ste-Catherine E) lounge & karaoke bar with amateurs and performers in drag, plus games.

Bar Relaxe (1309 Ste-Catherine) unassuming local pub with pool tables and older crowd.

Club Date (1218 Ste-Catherine E) popular piano and karaoke bar with diverse crowd.

Gotha (1641 Amherst) mixed crowd, cozy cocktail lounge with fireplace and local art.

Le Cajun (1574 Ste-Catherine E) second floor bar for cocktails and conversation, pool and video lottery games.

Le Drugstore (1360 Ste-Catherine E) large multi-level complex, open patios, pool tables, weekend dancing, drag shows, women's favorite Village venue.

Rocky (1673 Ste-Catherine E) older locals' neighborhood bar, all-day erotic male videos, karoake nights.

Dance clubs

Circus (917, Ste-Catherine E) mixed 18-plus after-hours dance club, three rooms of house-urban-techno-trance music til the sun comes up.

Club Bolo (2093, rue de la Visitation) country line dancing lessons Fridays and Sundays, open house 16th anniversay celebration dance, April 30 2010.

Club Unity Montreal (1171 Ste-Catherine E) city's largest gay dance club in three rooms, international DJs, live shows.

Parking Pub (1296 Amherst) shirtless crowd, all-gay dancing, Wednesday through Monday. They're planning to relocate to a big new home under the Olympia Theater (1004 St-Catherine E) by sometime this summer (2010). See website for updates.

Sky (1474 Ste-Catherine E) popular dance complex for gay, straight, young and old, with cabaret, pub, and roof terrace.

Stereo (858 Ste-Catherine E) mixed gay/straight after-hours dance club until noon next morning, top-class DJs.

Tools (1592 Ste-Catherine E) weekend disco dance club, playing 80's to now music. (Playroom sex club presently closed).

Bath house heaven, Montreal has more of these pleasure palaces than most anywhere else in North America. Common facilities include dry saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, massage rooms,labyrinths, porn lounges, snack bars, and towel-clad cruising.

456 (456 de la Gauchetiere W) largest facility in Montreal with swimming pool, internet cafe, massages, and all other comforts.

Colonial Bath (963 Colonial) old- fashioned style in the Plateau with natural stone steam system, mature clientele.

G.I. Joe Sauna (1166 Ste-Catherine E) big leather guys.

Sauna 5018 (5018 St-Laurent) terrace, massages, porn cinema, popular with students, in the Plateau.

Sauna Centre-ville (1465 Ste-Catherine E) in the Village on two levels. Room specials and long-term stays welcome.

Sauna Du Plateau (961 Rachel E) summer rooftop terrace, labyrinth, "hotel"rooms.

Sauna Ste-Cath (1836 Ste-Catherine E) five floors of pleasure at Papineau Metro station, with bear, leather and fetish special nights.

Sauna Oasis (1390 Ste-Catherine E) very popular, also in the Village, with Thursday foam parties.

Sauna St-Hubert (6527 St-Hubert) small alternative sauna with bisexual and transsexual crowd, popular "lingerie Tuesdays."


Many of the following places are popular for dejuner (breakfast), diner (lunch) and souper (supper). Most waiters routinely offer separate checks.

Bato Thai (1310 Ste-Catherine E) good Thai, easy on the wallet.

Cafe Depot (1800 Ste-Catherine E) coffee and sandwiches.

Cafe Europeen (1560 Ste-Catherine E) North American fare,patio.

Chez Cora Dejeuner (1017 Ste-Catherine E) fabulous breakfast, fruit bowl.

Club Sandwich (1570 Ste-Catherine E) over 60 different sandwiches, tasty breakfasts, poutine (gravy over french fries and cheese -- try it, you'll love it).

Le Commensal (1720 St-Denis) veggie and vegan buffets.

DSens (1330 Ste-Catherine E) French cuisine, elegant setting.

EstAsie Restaurant (1320 Ste-Catherine E) East Asian food, stylish decor.

Folies En Vrac (1368 Ste-Catherine E) nicely priced made-to-order sandwiches.

Le Gout du Viet Nam (1389 Ste-Catherine E) a trip to Saigon.

Kilo Cafe (1495 Ste-Catherine E) hangout with sandwiches, cake, great cheesecake.

Liquid Nutrition (1303 Ste-Catherine E) smoothies, healthy snacks.

Lotus Royal Thai (1694 Ste-Catherine E) chic Thai restaurant.

La Perle de l'Extreme Orient (1350 Ste- Catherine E) fine Vietnamesedining.

Pizza Madona (1487 Ste-Catherine E) budget-friendly pizza slices.

Planete (1451 Ste-Catherine E) global cuisine, exotic cocktails like Up Uranus and I'm Your Venus.

Restaurant 100 Secrets (1440 Amherst) eclectic cuisine, romantic setting.

Resto du Village (1310 Wolfe) quaint gay 24-hour restaurant.

Saloon (1333, Ste-Catherine E) tres gai restaurant for salad, pizza,grilled meat.

Second Cup (1351 Ste-Catherine E) coffee, tea, lots of eye contact.

Starbucks (1301 Ste-Catherine E) a caffeinated buzz.

Strega (1477 Ste-Catherine E) pasta heaven.

Tabla Restaurant (1329 Ste-Catherine E) Bangladeshi-Indian fare.

Vallarta (1327 Ste-Catherine E) city's best Mexican.

Shopping & services

Priape (1311 Ste-Catherine E) casual clothing, underwear, beachwear, leather.

Wega Complex (930 Ste-Catherine E) the porn place, with peep shows, movies,merchandise.

Dollarama (911 Ste-Catherine E) bargains for a buck.

SAQ (1250 Ste-Catherine E) affordable connoisseur booze.


Nautilus Plus (1431 Saint Andre) and energie- Cardio (845 Ste-Catherine E) each offer daily, weekly, monthly memberships.


Septentrion B & B (Leseptentrion.qc.ca) in the Laurentians, is Quebec's only five-star gay inn. Les Chutes (waterfalls) de Ste- Marguerite du Lac Masson, are nearby in Ste Adele.

Tremblant (Tremblant.ca) is a ski resort 90 minutes north of the city. In the summertime the great expanses of waterways are great for an odyssey by canoe.

For a night in Quebec City two hours from Montreal, Le Coureur des Bois (15rue Ste. Ursule) is a Franco-Canadian gem.


Montreal Museum of Fine Arts/ Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal (1379-1380 Sherbrooke W; Mmfa.qc.ca) is the grand dame of Canadian museums.

Museum of Contemporary Art/ Musee D'art Contemporain De Montreal (185Ste-Catherine W; Macm.org) opposite Complexe Desjardins, has many exhibits of interest.

Notre-Dame Basilica (116 Notre-Dame; Basiliquenddm.org) is a 350 year-old neo-gothic basilica where Celine Dion got married.

Pointe-a- Calliere (350 Place Royale, Pacmuseum.qc.ca) showcases archaeology and history in Old Montreal.

Biodome de Montreal (4777 Pierre-de- Coubertin; Ville.montreal.qc.ca/biodome) illustrates the continent's four ecosystems beneath the dome.


Parc Jean-Drapeau (1 Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve; Parcjeandrapeau.com),Quebec's largest amusement and water park, is on St Lawrence River Island.

Montreal Amphi-Bus Tours (Montreal-amphibus-tour.com) lets you view the city skyline and Mont Royal and cruise the St Lawrence River.

Casino de Montreal (514-392-2746) free shuttle from downtown at the Centre Infotouriste on Square Dorchester (Peel at Metcalfe).

Pedestrian mall

In 2008, city officials decided to close the street running through the Gay Village from mid-May to mid-September to see if street life would blossom without disrupting traffic. Most people declared the experiment a huge success so the practice has been continued.


For details, see Squirt.org.

Local gay media

You can find the gay magazines Fugues, RG and Etre in the gay bars and shops, all or mostly in French, and 2B in English.

Gay pampering

Physotech Plus (1657 Amherst) exclusively male. Massage, hair styling,tanning, skin care, laser hair removal.

Events planner

Winter and Spring 2010
Montreal Jazz Events
Concerts scheduled from January to June so far.

June/July/August 2010
International Fireworks Competitions
all summer affairs filling the skies above the city

July 2010
Montreal International Art Festival
The Interantional Festival of Arts
dates have been set for July 1-11

November 2010
The Montreal International LGBT Film Festival
October and November each year.

Coming 2010
Village Scene Gay Theater
has stage presentations of interest in French and English.
Dark at present, check online for updates

Resources & Information

Our pull-down menus have more listings and links to most Montreal websites plus additional photos. See also Bonjourquebec.com.

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