Monkland Avenue: more than meets the eye
Though Sherbrooke Street probably qualifies as NDG’s main artery, Monkland Avenue boasts its own unique neighbourhood flair. What was once a sleepy residential area (with a high concentration of private Catholic schoolgirl hotties), Monkland has experienced a rebirth of sorts, with a plethora of boutiques and dining destinations now lining the street. As the borough’s commercial hot spot, the (yuppified) drag has been christened Monkland Village, with a stretch of road that runs from Girouard Avenue – a stone’s throw away from Villa Maria Metro – all the way down to Grand Boulevard. Sure, a smattering of corporate chains dot the street, but the majority of shops you’ll find here are small, friendly businesses.
1 Salon de Thé Gryphon d’Or | 5968, Monkland
While most teahouses qualify as cozy, this place is a champion of charm. With a variety of teas to choose from, and stellar just-out-of-the-oven scones, the menu and staff of Gryphon d’Or are guaranteed to warm body and soul, especially as winter descends upon us. High tea is served, but reservations are required.
2 Confexions Sparkles | 5615, Monkland
Because you never know when you’ll need a candy G-string or bra, stock up the next time you visit Sparkles! This shop is a wet dream for anyone with a sweet tooth: gummies, vintage sweets and chocolate covered delicacies, in addition to the entire Jelly Belly collection. Who needs a boring old gift basket filled with forgettable fruit when it could spill over with lollipops, Pez dispensers and Ring Pops?
3 Restaurant Chase | 5672, Monkland
Restaurant Chase offers an array of Lebanese dishes in a casual but classy dining room. The menu is veggiefriendly, and the moussaka in particular is a godsend to the palate. In the summer months, seating is available on the restaurant’s terrace.
4 Avenue Video Monkland | 5669, Monkland
Though making a trip to the video store might seem like a ritual of the past, Avenue Video is a great indie spot with the kind of allure that streaming and downloading lack. It houses the biggest selection of TV shows that I’ve ever seen, and they carry both the Criterion and the Fangoria collections.
5 Le Maître Boucher | 5719, Monkland
This butcher and gourmet shop caters to seasoned foodies. Its selection of fine aged cheese is hard to miss, as a savoury aroma permeates the room. There are numerous ready-to-go meals, high-end ‘fast food’ like Cornish hens stuffed with raisins and marinated flanks of lamb. Add to that a range of fleur de sels, artisanal pastas and teas, and you've got all your taste buds covered.