Although Montreal's economy has been booming in recent years, the city remains remarkably affordable compared to other major cities in Canada and the United States. There's shopping for every taste and budget here.
Rue Ste-Catherine, between rue Guy and boulevard St-Laurent, has most of the big department and chain stores as well as a few major malls. Avenue Mont-Royal has funky consignment and gothic clothing stores from boulevard St-Laurent to rue St-Denis, and a mixed bag of neighborhood stores, used record shops, and gentrified boutiques heading east towards avenue Papineau. Rue St-Viateur is one of the city's most interesting streets, with its amazingly varied range of businesses crammed into the short stretch between St-Laurent and avenue du Parc. Boul. St-Laurent remains one of the city's prime shopping streets, more or less along its whole length. Just about anything can be found there, with different blocks having different clusters of businesses (Asian groceries and house wares near de La Gauchetière, cheap electronics a little farther up, hip boutiques between Prince-Arthur and des Pins, anything and everything Italian between St-Zotique and Jean-Talon, etc.). Rue Sherbrooke, west of the Autoroute Decarie, boasts an increasingly interesting concentration of largely food-oriented businesses.
Trendier boutiques can be found on rue Saint-Denis, north of rue Sherbrooke and south of avenue Mont-Royal. Rue Sherbrooke itself has a number of high-end stores (notably Holt Renfrew) and commercial art galleries in a tony strip running approximately from McGill University west to rue Guy. Farther west, Sherbrooke intersects with Greene Ave. in Westmount, which boasts a short but luxurious retail strip. Rue Laurier, between St-Laurent and its western end, is one of the city's prime spots for eating and shopping in high style, though there are still a few affordable spots here and there.
Furniture and antiques
On boul. St-Laurent, a cluster of high-end home furnishing stores has grown up in recent years. It starts roughly at the corner of rue Marie-Anne and is very prominent in the block between Marie-Anne and avenue Mont-Royal, with sparser but still interesting stores as far north as rue St-Viateur. Antique buffs will find interesting stores all over the city, but they'll want to make a special pilgrimage to rue Notre-Dame, heading east from avenue Atwater. Rue Amherst, in the Gay Village, also has a significant concentration of antique dealers.
Quality wine and liquor can only be purchased at SAQ shops, most of which are open until 6pm Sunday - Wednesday and 8 or 9pm on weekends; the smaller SAQ Express outlets are open daily from 11am to 10pm, but selection is restricted to the SAQ's most popular items. Beer, and a small selection of lower-quality so-called "dep wine" (not what you'd usually bring to a dinner party, but sometimes drinkable — it's plonk that has been imported in bulk and bottled and sometimes blended in Quebec) can be purchased at corner stores and supermarkets. All retail alcohol sales stop at 11pm and bars and clubs stop serving at 3am.
Montrealers are largely unaware of how blessed they are by the selection of beer to be found in the humble corner store. Two local breweries in particular are world-class: McAuslan (brands include St-Ambroise and Griffon) and Unibroue (Belgian-style ales such as Maudite, La Fin du Monde, etc.; the U and U2 lagers are rather ordinary). Boréale also makes a good if unspectacular range of brews. Other micros and imports jostle for shelf space with the mass-market stuff; visitors with the time and inclination would do well to sample and to shop around a little, as selection will vary from store to store. The SAQ does not carry domestic beer, and generally has few imports that can't be found elsewhere. Again, selection varies by outlet, so it can pay to shop around, but in general the SAQ is simply not the place to buy beer.
Note - The SAQ Stores Are Divided Into Categories.
• 1) SAQ Express
• 2) SAQ Selection
• 3) SAQ Classique
• 4) SAQ Depot
• 5) SAQ Signature
• 6) SAQ Art De Vivre
Some types of Alcohol will only be available in certain stores.
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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