Where To Buy Stuff and Lose Time in Montreal

My tour of the city wouldn't have been complete without a bit of shopping, which, if I had money, I.

My tour of the city wouldn’t have been complete without a bit of shopping, which, if I had money, I could have surely done a lot more of. I began by stopping by Kastella (5355 Saint Laurent), designer Jason Burhop’s furniture shop that is essentially a fashionable wood room, with beautifully hand-crafted cabinets, tables, beds and chairs that are all made in the Mission style from natural wood. This very showy display of woodcraft isn’t just the raison d’être of Burhop, because just down the road is designer Luc Sergerie’s L’Arbre Ébénisterie (5460 Saint Laurent), a recycled and local wood-focused furniture showroom with an assortment of mixed finish pieces and Mission items with Scandinavian influences.

So I saw the perfect cabinet from Sergerie, and then I wanted to fill it with something, anything. That led me to Heritage Inheritance (4357 Saint Laurent), a charmingly minimal space featuring Won Hundred, Wood Wood, Norse Projects, Megumi Ochi, Rodebjer and other hard-to-come-by brands that aid moneyed art students, dilettantes and the perpetually hip to look somber, unfussy and haute in head-to-toe black. Much like is the case of other stores that sell a specific lifestyle (New York’s Oak and Toronto’s Jonathan & Olivia), Heritage Inheritance sells equally hard to find publications like PIN-UP Magazine, Dahse, Bay Day, Domus and It’s Nice That.

After buying a magazine and a sweater, I popped over to Unicorn Boutique (5135 Saint Laurent), a clothing store for women that houses many local success stories, like Travis Taddeo, Melissa Nepton, Ursa Minor and Marie-Eve Emond’s Betina Lou. I, pressed for time, did not try anything on, and moved on in my journey to consume by popping over to the much-praised Drawn & Quarterly (211 Bernard West), purveyor of local and global zines, graphic novels, silkscreened posters and much, much more. The store is overwhelming, only in the sense that you want to look and touch everything. After inevitably doing that, you find in your hands a pile of things, like Gengoroh Tagame’s The Passion, Joe Ollman’s Mid-Life, Yoshiro Tatsumi’s Black Blizzard and an assortment of local zines I only picked up initially because they were beautifully ink-printed. You will drop a wad here.

And as one does, or as I do, I reached that part of shopping: fatigue. My second-last stop was a short jaunt to Neon Skates (77 Bernard West), a cool little shop that sells professional grade, traditional roller skates for kids and adults. The store sells to young and old, but it thrives on maintenance and sales for the burgeoning Derby economy I’m told is steadily on the rise. Just like that message from that great movie Drew Barrymore created and tried to impress upon us.

And for the finale, a bit of music at one of the best-stocked vinyl shops in Montreal: Phonopolis (207 Bernard West). A bit of digging produced a 95 pressing of Archers of Loaf’s Vee Vee, a near-mint copy of Nina Simone’s Little Girl Blue, some modern records from Father John Misty and Xiu Xiu, and a cornucopia of rare EDM vinyl that I needed to be coached through, because I’m not familiar. (The staff was eager to talk about it. And a lot.)

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