Old Montreal, Montreal
As you head down through the Old Town, you cannot miss seeing the Marché Bonsecours. This very substantial building, dating from 1847, once housed the Canadian Parliament, but also has served as the Montréal City Hall before becoming the main markets for Montréal for over a century. Now it has been renovated and houses restaurants and upmarket shops selling a range of collectable, fashion and tourist-related products. I’m more attracted to things like newsagencies, camera and hardware shops, but looked in vain for one while Pauline happily chased souvenirs. The website link below has a listing of the shops currently there, should you be proposing a visit.
I considered putting this tip under “to do”, but finally decided that the main activity is shopping. Frankly, as far as the building itself is concerned, the outside is where the architectural interest lies: the interior has been fitted out with the shops in what appears to have been an empty shell (photo 2) – though I understand the upper level is fitted out with rooms.
What to buy: Collectable, fashion and tourist-related products
What to pay: Let's just say this is not an arcade of discount shops!
this is a gift shop based in Old Montreal without the Old Montreal prices..mostly souvenirs to bring back home..but not one single tacky souvenir in the place...mostly Jewelry, wine accesserios, tableclothes, sushi sets etc..lots of local artisans..some things are over priced..but most is reasonable.
What to buy: they will gift wrap anything you buy..just ask its free of charge..I buy stuff for myself all the time and get it gift wrapped..my favorite item they carry is vases...I have one now for every room in my house and my desk at work..if you are reading this get on it send flowers..Joke
As luck would have it, our visit to Marché Bonsecours coincided perfectly with the semi-annual Grande Braderie de Mode Quebecoise held in the lower level. Carol, being the consummate clothing shopper and expert bargain hunter, tells me that this is a genuine "event-not-to-be-missed"!
What apparently happens is that twice a year many of the local fashion designers offer their original designs for sale at greatly reduced prices. The atmosphere is somewhere between a carnival and a bazaar with a lot of scurrying for the best deals and loooong lines at the fitting rooms.
Carol was successful at buying a really nice jacket directly from the designer at a price that she assures me was a "steal".
What to pay: Advertised as 50% - 80% off the original price
This tip could just as easily be filed under "tourist trap". The grand-slash-bland Marche Bonsecours is a historic old trading spot, and a regular stop for tour busses stocked with pink-legged tourists and wobbly octogenarians. However, off-season, the shops slash their prices, and the Marche serves as a great place to sample a variety of shops in one convenient setting. The clothing boutiques are stylish(this is Montreal, after all), and the craft shops are refreshingly light on kitsch. And, let me tell you, the bathrooms look like a page from Architectural Digest. Amazing. Hey, stop in to use the bathrooms, at least.
What to buy: I shopped, here ,the Quartier Latin, The Plateau, and Downtown...on the whole, the clothing boutiques were competitive at The Marche Bonsecours. But, again: This was October. Hesitate during the Summer.
What to pay: Less than average if on sale, off-season
Bonsecours Market Is and can't miss sight In Old (port) of Montreal. It's 17th century Building Is an unmissable sight there.
There are about 15 Boutiques inside as well there are Restaurants inside.
They sell all kinds of stuff such as jewery, Art, Antiques ect.
Prices vary and I can not give you any pricing as I have not purchased anything there.
Also they have different arts and crafts exhibitions that are free admission.
All along the cobblestone Rue St. Paul est, you can find shops, galleries and restaurants. You will also find the very large Marché Bonsecours building that has several shops inside. Along this route is a very nice wine store with lots and lots of wine related items. It makes for an interesting shopping experience.
What to buy: Clothing, Paintings, Sculptures, Jewelry, etc.
Despite the fact that Vieux-Montreal has plenty of touristy souvenir shops, a shopping stroll in that area can be worthwhile. There are many fashion boutiques, art galleries and small shops with unique stuff.
As the name implies, this gallery, located in the beautiful and historic Bonsecours area of Old Montreal, presents ceramic art both from recognized artists from around the world and recent graduates of the centre's own school.
The pieces are for sale at reasonable prices; watch for group exhibitions from Quebec ceramists, rotated on a semi-annual basis, and year-round student exhibits. This is a great place to find that unique ceramic gift for that special person.
Well, this is a decent Farmer's market if you go early and you love to cook. Unfortunately, on travel, you don't get an opportunity to cook your own meals unless you rent an apartment (flat) or house to stay in. I did buy a few things that we don't come by too easily such as maple hard candies and Turkish Delight.
What to buy: Meat, vegetables, fruit & cheese
There are several souvenir shops along St. Paul Street and also on Notre Dame Street... you can find all kinds of stuff there (t-shirts, sweat shirts, keychains, maple syrup, post cards, etc.), a little pricey, but it looks like they're all the same everywhere... The advantage is that there are several shops gathered around the same place, so you can see a lot of them without walking too much.
What to buy: Souvenirs of all kinds!
If you love Christmas (as I do) watch out for this shop! Stepping in to this boutique and seeing all those cute Christmas decorations is a serious threat to your wallet. The high prices are the only reason I didn't empty this store out in a minute =) The decorations also make for a nice souvenir.
What to buy: Check out the electronic Santa doing abs...!
What to pay: As you could expect in a small, specialized boutique like this the prices are not too low
The Marche' Bonsecours hosts a variety of specialty stores. The shops are open seven days a week. There are only 15 shops and 3 cafes so the experience is a bit limited. I wasn't overly impressed.
You can have your parking stub validated in any of the shops.
Situated in Vieux Montreal, down by the river, the Marche Bonsecours certainly is one of the city's most impressive buildings with its silvered dome and imposing frontage. The present building dates back to the mid 19th century when the then Municipal Council commisioned it as a public market with meeting rooms. It was briefly home to the Canadian Provincial Government in April/May 1849 whilst the Parliament was temporarily homeless after Tory rioters burnt down the Sainte-Anne Parliament Building. By all accounts the Parliament sat with the building protected by bayonetted troops!
From 1852 to 78 it was the seat of the City Council during which period it was extended for use as a concert, exhibition and banquetting hall.
The building continued as a farmers and public market until 1963 when economic factors brought about its disuse.
In the 1990's the building was restored to its original grandeur, firstly for the 1992 350th anniversary of the city and later as once again a market place.
What to buy: The market area is on the ground floor but is no longer a farmer's market, instead comprising various upmarket boutiques and restaurants. This was all a bit upscale for me but makes for a pleasant enough wander around and you can oooh and aaaah at the prices!
What to pay: $$$$$!
The Bonsecours Market is a must-see on any Montreal visit, because it combines insights into the fascinating city's past, present and future. Designed by prominent architects George Browne and William Footner, and opened in 1849, the market's shops and stalls feature a wide range of furniture, crafts, and clothing, as well as a range of cafes and restaurants. Moreover, space inside the halls may be rented for conferences, weddings and other occasions.
The handsome silver dome is a familiar landmark in this part of Montreal.