Map: Downtown and the Golden Square Mile

The southeast corner of Rue Ste.-Catherine O. and Rue St.-Urbain used to be the hub of Montreal’s nightlife during the Prohibition era, when the Gayety Theatre, a vaudeville house that featured famed burlesque artists like Lili St.-Cyr, stood there. Now, it’s the stylish, modern (1) Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (84 Rue Ste.-Catherine O;, where vanguard works by Quebec playwrights like Robert Lepage have their premieres. After having a snack in the café of the TNM, walk past the vast arts complex (2) Place des Arts (175 Rue Ste.-Catherine O.;, and enter the (3) Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (185 Rue Sainte-Catherine O.; where works by contemporary Quebec modern artists are world-class touring shows. Then, head west down Rue Ste.-Catherine, past the headquarters of (4) Quebec’s MTV, MusiquePlus (355 Rue Ste.-Catherine O.; Peer in the windows to see if Madonna or Jean Leloup is taping a concert that day.

Continue on past Rue St.-Alexandre and past the recently restored and historically important (5) St. James United Church (463 Rue Ste.-Catherine O;, where a well-timed peek in the doors may render a chance to hear a recital or practice of their 30-voice church choir. Further west, on the corner of Rue Aylmer, the (6) Hudson’s Bay Company (585 Rue Ste.-Catherine O.; sells their famous striped wool blankets, as well as everything else under the sun. Under The Bay is one of the many entrances to Montreal’s so-called Underground City, which is really a network of several shopping malls linked by tunnels—useful during the winter months when pedestrians want to minimize their time spent walking outdoors.

You’ll now walk past several mall complexes: (7) Les Promenades de la Cathédrale (625 Rue Ste.-Catherine,, which lies underneath Christ Church Cathedral, the upscale (8) Complexe Les Ailes (677 Rue Ste.-Catherine,, and the (9) Eaton Centre (705 Rue Ste.-Catherine St. O.).

Turning right, walk up Avenue McGill College, to enjoy a view of (10) the gate to McGill University (corner of Rue McGill College and Rue Sherbrooke O.), with Mont-Royal behind. Once you’re on Rue Sherbrooke O., you’re on the south edge of the famed Golden Square Mile. Behind you is the (11) Musée McCord (690 Rue Sherbrooke O.;, which exhibits handcrafts and artifacts from Montreal’s history, and was once administrated by McGill University. Going west along Rue Sherbrooke O., you’ll travel along a chic shopping stroll, as well as the (12) Ritz-Carlton Hotel (1228 Rue Sherbrooke O.,, which houses visiting dignitaries and royalty, as well as movie stars. Across Rue de la Montagne is (13) Holt Renfrew (1300 Rue Sherbrooke O.;, Canada’s luxury department store. Linger in the racks or in the lunchroom (a favorite spot for the well-heeled ladies who lunch), or continue on to another reward: (14) The Musée des Beaux-Arts (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) (1379-1380 Rue Sherbrooke O.;, where the city’s share of the world’s art treasures are housed.


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