The northeastern borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal is the most densely populated in Montreal. It is typically recognized as the liveliest and the “coolest.” Artists and students dominate this neighborhood, home to the city’s edgiest coffee shops, boutiques, bars and galleries.
Plateau-Mont-Royal is named after the flat region to the northeast of Mount Royal, the hill in the center of the island of Montreal. This borough consists mostly of heritage, low-level townhouses which are often brightly colored and ornate. Inspect the Victorian houses around Saint-Louis Square for some of the best examples.
The neighborhood of Mile End is one of the most famous parts of Plateau-Mont-Royal. A haven for creative people of all kinds, Mile End has produced many of Montreal’s world-famous artists. Actor William Shatner grew up in Mile End, and it served as the headquarters for famed indie rock band, Arcade Fire. Many consider Mile End the center of Montreal’s indie rock scene.
Part of Plateau-Mont-Royal is known as the “McGill Ghetto” due to the high concentration of McGill University students who take advantage of the area’s cheap apartments. The student population of the area adds to its countercultural reputation.
Most of the houses in the borough lack yards so on nice days crowds of Plateau-Mont-Royal residents escape to La Fontaine Park, the largest park in the area. Take a bike ride along the paths toward the park’s northern end. Cool your feet in the wading pools and discreetly observe the neighborhood’s hippest residents relaxing in the grass.
When it’s time to eat, Plateau-Mont-Royal has plenty of distinctive cuisine available. One place that simply can’t be missed is Schwartz’s Deli. This 80-year-old institution is the best place to sample a Montreal delicacy: smoked meat sandwiches. The heavily marinated roast is like nothing you’ll find outside the city.
Several metro and bus stops lie along Saint-Denis Street in the southern part of Plateau-Mont-Royal. If you are driving, parking can be scarce.