Where’s the Culture and Music?

Paul’s Boutique on Mt Royal Ave. Photo Adrian Sousa

For you res kids who want to stick close to home, Concordia has its own galleries. The VAV is located in Concordia’s VA building and is student-run. There is also the FOFA Gallery in Concordia’s EV building. The two host a ton of student work, so it’s a great way to support your colleagues.

In March, be sure to check out Concordia’s Art Matters, an amazing student-run art festival showcasing the huge creativity of Concordia students.

Sticking to downtown, there is, of course, our neighbour the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (1380 Sherbrooke St. W.), that is host to a number of big-ticket exhibitions, including the current Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective. Steps from our own Hall Building, it’s definitely worth checking out. There is also the Canadian Centre for Architecture at (1920 Baile St.), which has a pretty awesome bookstore. Optica (372 St. Catherine St. W.) will introduce you to a host of contemporary artworks.

If you find yourself taking in the beauty of Montreal’s Old Port, you should also stop by the DHC/ART (451 St-Jean) Foundation for Contemporary Art, which has film screenings and educational workshops.

St. Henri, just a short walk or metro ride away from our downtown campus, is host to a multitude of gallery spaces, including the newly located Galerie Coatcheck (5180 Notre-Dame W.), where both art exhibits and vintage clothing sales are found. There is also Parisian Laundry (3550 St. Antoine W.), an airy warehouse space that’s almost as beautiful as the works it houses.

In the Plateau/Mile End, you’ll find a variety of artist-run spaces, catering to both emerging and established artists working in many different forms. Articule (262 Avenue Fairmount W/), CTRL LAB (3634 St. Laurent Blvd.), la Galerie ESPACE (4844 St. Laurent Blvd.), Eastern Bloc (7240 Clark) and La Centrale Galerie (4296 Blvd St Laurent) are just a few worth checking out.

For those who like their live music a little rough around the edges, you can’t beat $5 punk shows on St. Denis. The street is great to experience a whole different nightlife than downtown, so head into l’Absynthe (1738 St. Denis St.) or l’Esco Griffe (4467 St. Denis St.) to brush up on ordering drinks in French and jump into the mosh. Stop at Chez Baptiste (1045 Mont-Royal Ave. E.) for a casual drink and a decent bar band, but you better be a Habs fan if it’s game night.

Get off the beaten path at Il Motore (179 Jean-Talon St. W.), an old converted garage that you’d miss walking down Van Horne Ave. if it wasn’t for the music. The only thing separating the stage from the street is the giant garage door. Enjoy the music on the elevated bar or at the heart of it all in front of the stage.

In the Mile End, you can catch student performers, side projects and solo acts at Le Cagibi (5490 St. Laurent Blvd.), but don’t expect to get your drink on until they upgrade their license. You can see the city’s latest buzz band or touring act at historic Montreal cultural centre La Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent Blvd.), or—if you’re the type that likes to be the first to see an act—head across St. Laurent to sister venue Casa Del Popolo (4873 St. Laurent Blvd.) The sound may not be the best, but it’s hard to beat $5 pints of beer in the intimate live setting, and their nachos are to die for.

Record stores
For the audiophile who swears by the warmth of vinyl, there are an abundance of independently owned record stores in the city. Get your tickets for all the shows at l’Oblique (4443 Rivard St.), a little store where you’ll find new releases and obscure local pressings.

Excite your inner DJ (and scare off your inner pack rat) at Paul’s Boutique (112 Mont-Royal Ave. E.), a yellow house filled to capacity with old records, VHS tapes, video games and seemingly random literature. It’s a challenge to flip through over-stuffed milk crates of vinyl, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to gather material to mix and match.

Head further east down Mont Royal to Au 33 Tours (1379 Mont-Royal Ave. E.) for a great selection of recent releases. If you can’t find tickets for your fave band’s upcoming gig try here, it’s worth the trek even if you’re not the type who insists on unwrapping new vinyl.

This article originally appeared in Volume 32, Issue 02, published September 6, 2011.