Category Archives: Montreal

Discover Montreal’s Best Shopping for Foodies

Discover Montreal’s best shopping for foodies. Spade & Palacio Tours will show you the best places to buy and try all things edible in the north end of Montreal.

Good friends Danny Pavlopoulos and Anne-Marie Pellerin met in a Montreal tour guide course. And upon graduation, they decided to form their own company, Spade & Palacio.

Ever since then, they’ve educated visitors and native Montrealers alike on the very best food products available in their ‘hood: the Mile End and Mile X section of the city.

Pavlopoulos and Pellerin want their clients to walk away with a true local experience. So how do they select the stops for their tour?

“The selected locations are actually our favorite hangouts. We have spent hours in each of them enjoying their products. We call them our living rooms. The products are the best in their league, hands down,” says Pavlopoulos.

The lively three-hour tour starts with the best pupusas in the Latin Quarter at Salvadorian restaurant Los Planes and finishes with a picnic meal of Southern barbecue from Triple Crown at Parc de la Petite-Italie at the junction of St Laurent and St. Zotique in the north end of Montreal.

Les Bonnes Tomates du Quebec
Les Bonnes Tomates photo credit: John Cameron

In between, there’s serious food shopping at the Jean-Talon Market and surrounding areas.

“We show our guests around the way we would with a friend from out of town. We are proud to be part of only a handful of tour companies that share this ideology in the city,” adds Pavlopoulos. “We aim to teach and to share our neighborhood experiences with our guests.”

Since 1934, the Jean-Talon Market has supplied Montreal with fresh Quebec products and specialty items from around the world. Jean-Talon Market is open every day, year-round.

Visitors will find a variety of produce (including organic and pesticide-free items); flowers and fine herbs; fish and meat; and ice cream and sorbet made with local fresh fruits like sweet Quebec strawberries.

Delicious barbecued lamb, pork and chicken sandwiches as well as bison on a stick, makes the market a great lunch destination.

The Jean-Talon Market is also a great spot to sample Quebec wines and ciders around a cozy outdoor bar that allows for great people watching.

Danny Palacio of Spade & Palacio
Danny Palacio (on left) photo credit: Sherel Purcell

At the Jean-Talon Market, participants will meet unique vendors such as the “Sausage Pimp,” who produces tasty items like shrimp and scallop sausages.

Spade & Palacio can also show how to get the best deals on produce by shopping the back lanes of the stalls for bulk sales on produce that can be whipped into hearty soups and sauces to be frozen for later use.

Brasserie Harricana
Brasserie Harricana

At nearby Brasserie Harricana, guests discover a variety of tasty microbrews served with a spicy take on the famous French fry and cheese curd dish: poutine.

A short walk away into the light industrial area of Mile X, visitors can buy vacuum-packed bags of fair trade Ethiopian, Peruvian and Columbian beans from Dispatch Coffee , used in their excellent cold filtered brew.

Down the street, check out Manitoba restaurant, where the dinner menu changes frequently, based on the fresh and wild food items available – as it should be in a restaurant that prioritizes natural ingredients sourced locally.

These are all served in a cool redesigned space with an inviting patio attached that focuses on the great outdoors.

Rest assured that Spade & Palacio will show you the very best food products available in their ‘hood.

Cycle Montreal

Tour la Nuit
Tour la Nuit

For a true cycling vacation, cyclists should consider La Belle Province. No other Canadian province does as much to promote cycling as Quebec. The best place to start your bike trip planning is at Velo Quebec, a non-profit organization that has managed cycling activities in Quebec for 40 years. They act as a cycling tour company, a publishing center and a lobby group for cyclists throughout Quebec. Velo Quebec organizes the internationally known Montreal Bike Fest that includes the 30 mile,Tour d’Ile de Montreal with a different route every year.

Cycling Tours with Velo Quebec:

Velo Quebec offers tours throughout Quebec, North America, Europe, Morocco and the Caribbean. The organization responsible for the 3500 mile award – winning Route Verte linking Quebec from end to end, runs tours on parts of this route. The ever-expanding 2000 mile “Route Verte” represents a concerted effort to connect the various regions of the Quebec and neighboring USA with a safe cycling route. Most Quebec highways whether or not they are part of the Green Route have wide shoulders to accommodate cyclists.

The “Summer Challenges”, a series of 50 to 90 mile long bike tours, range from moderate to challenging and include accommodations and gear transport. The annual “Grand Tour” and “Petite Adventure” complete the Quebec offerings.

Lobbying for Cyclists:

Thanks to Velo Quebec, Montreal is a safer and more enjoyable place for pleasure and commuter cycling. Montreal bike lanes, designed by Velo Quebec, are often separated from vehicular traffic by curbs. Research and lobbying by Velo Quebec will see another 60 miles of bike lanes added to Montreal streets. The “On the Move to School” program encourages elementary school children and their parents to adopt cycling as a daily activity and alternative mode of transport.

Cycling Books, Maps and Itineraries:

La Route Verte
La Route Verte

The independent cyclist, planning a cycling trip anywhere in the world should visit the bike bookstore at the Maison des Cyclists (Cyclists House) across from Parc Fontaine on the Route Verte in Montreal. Detailed maps, suggested itineraries and cycling magazines including Velo Quebec publications are all to be found here. The Cyclist House also functions as a good coffee and lunch stop that serves high energy, healthy foods such as the daily home-made soup and quinoa salad special.

Cyclist Friendly Accommodations:

In general, Quebec accommodations are cyclist friendly. Independent cyclists and those joining pre – arranged trips should consider these “bike friendly” accommodations in Montreal.

  • Boulanger Bassin Bed and Breakfast
  • Azul Bed and Breakfast

Bike transport from Toronto  can be arranged on Via Rail and

Vélo Québec

1251, rue Rachel Est
Montréal (Québec)
Canada H2J 2J9

Go Bike Montreal
May 25- June 1, 2014
Tour la Nuit May 3o, 2014
Tour de l”Ile  June 1, 2014