Discover 10 souvenirs and gifts you can only buy in Montreal to add some unique shopping experiences to your vacation.
Montreal is an outpost of French culture in North America that perfectly melds New and Old World styles for a tradition all its own. The combination of English, French and indigenous cultures in the city provides for souvenirs and gifts that are both historical and ethnically unique, so you’ll have plenty of exciting tokens to bring home to remember your trip.
Here are 10 things you should buy in Montreal.
1. Canadian Artwork
You can explore all the masterpieces of Canadian art at many of Montreal’s art museums, but you can also buy local artwork that you can’t find anywhere else throughout the galleries in Montreal. Many galleries feature works from native Canadian artists, so you can support the local art community by shopping for and taking home a one-of-a-kind memento of your trip to Montreal.
2. Artisan Jewelry
In the 17th century, Quebec was a haven for artisans and crafters. The heritage is still reflected in the current culture, with stunning artwork and handicrafts made by expert artisans available throughout the city.
Artisan jewellery is one of the main industries in the city, especially with the popularity of certified Canadian diamonds, which are mined and cut in the Northwest Territories. Many artisan jewellers offer handmade rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces that feature certified diamonds and other precious gemstones.
3. Ice Wine
Canada isn’t usually known for wine, but it has its own unique tipple that makes for a special souvenir. Ice wine differs from conventional wine in its production and taste because the grapes are harvested while frozen so it can only be made in colder climates. During this process, only the sugars and dissolved solids can be extracted, creating a concentrated and sweet wine that’s lower in alcohol.
4. National Coins
Almost every country has its own currency that reflects its history and culture. Canadian coins range in metals, designs and sizes, but the head of the coin always represents the ruling British monarch. Canadian coins are a popular souvenir, and you can find special edition coins like Olympic or war anniversary coins in the local post office. Make sure you pay attention to the change you get back after shopping in Montreal as you may wind up with a unique coin.
5. Montreal Bagels
Montreal has an array of delicacies, but bagels are one of the hottest food products you can buy. Montreal bagels differ from other types of bagels in that they’re smaller and sweeter. This is because the dough is rolled by hand, boiled in honey water and baked in wood-burning ovens. Several bakeries and grocers offer Montreal bagels in various flavours, such as raisin and cinnamon.
6. Celine Dion Souvenirs
Celine Dion is one of the most famous Montreal natives, so you can find an array of Celine Dion souvenirs throughout the city that can only be found here. Ranging from kitschy tee shirts and figurines to books and musical recordings, there’s an option for everyone’s taste. You can even get a reproduction of the sapphire necklace from the film Titanic, which featured her hit song, ‘My Heart Will Go On.’
7. Cheeses from Quebec
With its French heritage, Montreal has a strong culinary culture that includes locally produced cheese. You can find cheese farms all over the province offering cheese pastes of virtually every type that are perfect for gourmet cheese plates or meal preparations. Saint-Paulin, Trois-Pistoles and Oka are the most popular cheeses in the city.
If you’re looking for a wide selection of unique artisan cheese to take home, you can visit the Jean-Talon Market to discover the most delicious cheeses in the city.
8. Montreal Metro Souvenirs
Inspired by the architecture and culture of Paris, the Montreal metro has stunning art nouveau signs and gorgeous architecture that are still uniquely Canadian. You can find Montreal metro-themed souvenirs at the surrounding shops and city boutiques that capture the singular essence of the beautiful metro area and the fusion of the various cultures that influenced the city.
Friends or family will love having a decorative piece of your trip that reflects the multicultural heritage as well as the hustle and bustle of Montreal.
9. Indigenous Handicrafts
Indigenous First Nations culture is vital to Canadian history, so many cities offer beautiful handicrafts and artwork. Montreal offers an array of authentic indigenous handicrafts in shops throughout the city that are one of a kind.
You can shop for just about any souvenir you can think of, ranging from handwoven clothing to dream catchers with ornate beadwork and feathers. Originally used as a protective device for infants, dream catchers are a key piece of indigenous culture and are one of the most popular souvenirs to bring home.
10. Maple Souvenirs
Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, so there’s no better place to find delicious maple products than Montreal. Maple is so vital to the local economy that millions in maple syrup were stolen from a storage facility during the Great Canadian Maple Syrup Heist in 2011 and 2012. You can find products like syrup, maple butter, maple tea, maple cones, maple liquor, maple cookies and more.
The peak maple season is from March to April, but you can find maple products at nearly every grocer in the city throughout the year. Old Montreal has a specialized boutique that offers gourmet maple products as well.
The next time you’re in Montreal, be sure to shop in local markets and boutiques to find some distinctive Montreal souvenirs to bring home with you to remember your trip. If you’re planning your trip, visit Expedia to browse options for Montreal vacations and make the most of your experience!