Sunday, August 18, 2013

Montreal's little gem... at Birks

Birks store on Ste-Catherine
Think inside the blue box!

In case you were considering a visit to Montreal to end the summer with a little getaway, here are a few photos of my girls' outing last year (with my sister-in-law and our two girls).

Now that I've lived twenty years in Toronto, I'm a tourist in Montreal. I did not know there was a café inside Birks, downtown's landmark with a round corner (at Ste-Catherine and Square Phillips).

Birks is the jewelry store known for the trademark blue box they introduced in 1944. The one which has developed a Pavlovian reflex in generations of Montreal women!

(Here's a cute family story about Birks: My brother was buying a gift for his wife at this store, accompanied by their little girl. She kept loosing her pants because he had forgotten her belt when he dressed her up. The sales person kindly gave him a ribbon to tie around her waist in lieu of a belt. When he got home, it took my sister-in-law one second to notice on her daughter the blue ribbon stamped with the Birks logo. Surprise!)

Birks Café within the store

About the building
The Romanesque Revival building has won kudos for the quality of the additions and renovations over the years. In 1894, Henry Birks moved his company into this four-storey sandstone building he commissioned from architect Edward Maxwell.

To access Birks Café, you need to walk through the grand store.

About the afternoon tea
Yum! And only $26.50. See their menu. It is served daily from 2:30 p.m.

I loved the food but I must say I preferred the tea experience at MoRoCo, where we could smell different teas from an assortment of options in little containers, but it was $50! (MoRoCo is included in the Yorkville VIP Stroll in my walking guide Toronto Urban Strolls 1.)

A few other places to consider when visiting Montreal
Brasserie T: This is the little sister of the famous restaurant Toqué. It offers a smaller menu than the bigger restaurant but it is as good and less expensive. Long and narrow, almost like a train wagon, it sits between fountains and the unique Quartier des Spectacles.

Bota Bota: The floating spa in the Vieux-Port de Montréal. Consider times when there's a special rate for the water circuit. Check the view from their hot tub in the blog.

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