Renowned as the largest gay community in North America in terms of the size of the area that it encompasses, Montreal’s Gay Village is not only a premier tourist attraction, but a great place for shopping and dining. The cultural scene and the nightlife will give all visitors a thrill and there is so much to see and do that you won’t be able to accomplish everything in one day.
Gay Village is located in the downtown core of Montreal on Saint Catherine Street East. Since it runs for a distance of about two kilometres, it is the largest of its kind in size. It is easily recognized by the flag waving in the breeze above the Beaudry Metro Station. This does not mean that all the gays and lesbians in the city live in this village as they are scattered over the whole city. Nor does it mean that all the residents of the Village are gay because there are many straight families living in the many houses and apartment buildings. The number of gay people living in this area is larger than in most other sections of the city, which is why it has this name.
The venues for nightlife, entertainment and shopping cater to all tastes and walks of life. However, there are more gay bars and discos in Montreal than there are in Paris or San Francisco. The entertainment complex in this part of the city is the largest of its kind in the world. The Cabaret Mado is one of the nightly discos where you can see a performance by a local Queen. This venue is known for its outlandish performances.
Gay Village is for pedestrians only and no cars are allowed. It is extremely simple to find your way around on foot and there are three metro stations within walking distance of each other. This area of the city is a dream come true for avid shoppers on vacation. There are over 50 boutiques spread out over 14 city blocks and these are intermingled with numerous cafes and restaurants. The outdoor cafes are perfect for people watching as you sit on the terrace, sip on your coffee or cold beverage and watch the comings and goings of the street.
The restaurants and cafes cater to all tastes in food from the simple snacks and lunches to fine dining experiences. Large multi-floor dance clubs will provide you with nightly entertainment that will thrill you to the core.
Festivals take place at various times during the year so you may be able to coordinate your visit with the occurrence of one of these special events. October is the time for the Black and Blue Festival, which is a week-long event featuring sporting events and parties. July is another great month for festivals with the Just for Laughs featuring street performances, concerts and a parade extraordinaire. The Gay Pride Festival is another annual event that takes place in July with free outdoor events for all age groups and a colourful parade.