Good morning, sunshine!
The downtown streets come alive well before 9 a.m, bustling with a joyful mix of residents, tourists and professionals. Are you an early bird looking to join the A.M parade? Here are a few suggestions for starting your day off right.
You’ll feel calm and relaxed the moment you step foot into the sanctuary that is Ensõ Yoga. Hot yoga class starts as early as 7:15 a.m., after which you can unwind with a massage or a long hot shower. Alternatively, you can opt to visit one of the numerous spas located downtown, many of which open their doors at 9 a.m., and treat yourself to a manicure or express facial before heading to the office or hitting up the shops. At Amerispa, located on the 12th floor of Hotel Le Crystal, you get access to the interior pool and heated rooftop hot tub when you book a treatment. A peaceful moment and a breathtaking view of the downtown skyscrapers... a pleasant morning ritual indeed.
Want to skip rush-hour traffic and the hoard of morning commuters? Get an early start to your day and enjoy breakfast in the heart of downtown. Start your day at Café Vasco de Gama, where the Portuguese omelets and wraps are to die for. You’ll already be ordering your second cup of Joe by the time crowds start gathering on sidewalks! Feel like treating yourself to something a little more glamorous? Head to Maison Boulud in the very chic Ritz-Carlton, and take in the stunning gardens while enjoying a selection of charcuteries, Quebec cheeses, pastries and other delectable delights adorning the buffet tables. Yes, you’ll have to shell out a few more bucks than at your corner café, but starting your day in a legendary hotel surrounded by sumptuous décor is . . . priceless.
Café Vasco da Gama, 1472, rue Peel. During the week:
Breakfast from 7 to 11 AM. On weekends: 8 am to 3 pm
Maison Boulud (in the Ritz-Carlton Montréal),
1228, rue Sherbrooke Ouest. Breakfast: from 7 to 10:30 am
When most people are just rolling out of bed or hitting snooze, budding athletes are already busy breaking a sweat at the Downtown YMCA, where weekday classes start as early as 6:45 a.m. Weight training, dance, cardio-cycling, martial arts . . . there’s something for everyone. Are you a big believer in team spirit? Well then, recruit your work colleagues and organize a friendly game of squash, or blow off some steam doing laps in the pool, or have fun lifting weights. For a more personalized experience, sign up for a membership at a fitness center such as Club Athlétique Sherbrooke, where experts will follow every step of your health journey. Private trainers, fitness professionals, and massage therapists are all under the same roof and available for consultation. Make fitness fun!
At dawn, before the streets fill with people hurrying to get to work on time, the city is basked in a calm that is almost surreal. That makes it the perfect time to jog along Promenade Fleuve-Montagne, a 3.8-km pedestrian trail that connects downtown to the Old Port. History buffs can stop to admire the ancestral homes that line the streets of Golden Square Mile, the stately district bordered by Guy and University. History buffs can stop to admire the century homes that line the streets of Golden Square Mile, all the way out to Guy and University, an area once home to Montreal’s haute borgeoisie.
How about a 360-degree panoramic view of downtown Montreal accompanied by a brief history lesson courtesy of an actual historian? Start your weekend off with Si MTL m’était contée, a VIP tour of the Place Ville Marie Observatory that touches upon various aspects of Montreal. On Sunday, you can unwind with a bit of yoga, all while taking in the stunning view, followed by a hearty breakfast (and a mimosa!) at Les Enfants Terribles, located on the 44th floor. For a more budget-friendly outing, pack a few snacks before heading to the Observatory. The entrance ticket gives you access to the terrace, which you can enjoy all year long.
Observatoire Place Ville Marie, 5, Place Ville Marie
Text: Marie-Josée Roy