Canada, FOOD ~ Travel

Diary of Going to Market in Montreal (1)

Every time I travel to new cities, I usually visit three places: museum, botanic garden and market. Montreal is not an exception 😀

Montreal has four year-round public markets, which are managed by a corporation of vendors and merchants from the city’s 15 markets. Two most famous markets for tourists are Jean-Talon and Atwater. Looking at the map, these markets located oppositely each other on two sides of city. In the beginning, I planned to visit both markets in one day, however, after visiting Atwater, I decided to postpone because the weather was too cold. My gloves did not save my hands from freezing, and strong wind “slapped” my face harshly (/)u(\ )


Atwater market located in southwestern Montreal, near Lachine Canal (this canal runs 14.5km, and it is one of oldest areas in Montreal and has been designated as a national historic site of Canada). I heard the bike path is extremely beautiful in summer. When I left the apartment in the morning, weather was quite good, no rain or snow. Well, after beauty fascination in Sephora, the sky welcomed me with a fine drizzle of rain fell as I walked out – then it became heavier (∩︵∩) Strong determination? Still headed to market!

Temperature was -12 Celsius, strong wind and small rain, pavements were more slippery than usual. It was the time I felt the importance of a good slip resistant boots (⊙﹏⊙✿) I almost fell at this corner so I stopped a bit to ‘recover the balance’ =))) Saint-Irénée Church successfully distracted me from my fear. I wonder if it has any relation with the one in Lyon, which my friend once told me that is one of oldest churches in France (I went to the front of the church to find information but it was all in French 😦 )

Passing the church, I recognized Atwater market after few mins of walking. The market was not different from pictures I saw on Internet. This market started operation in 1933, and it was named after Edwin Atwater, a notable politician and businessman of Montreal city in 19th century. According to the city’s museum, he is one of the richest men in Montreal at the time, the importer and the first manufacturer of stained glass in Canada, the founder of a bank and the first telegraph company in Montreal (telegraph was the most modern form communication at that time), and a member of city council, and trade committee… Overall, he had contributed greatly to Montreal, so not only this market, but a subway station, a street, and a library were also named after him. At first, I thought the name was because it located near the canal =)))

Design of this market is one of notable ones in Montreal, built in Art Deco style, with a clock tower on the top.


This market had two areas, which I called the outside “A” and the inside area “B”. They were separated by three-step stairs, and doors. List of kiosks’name and numbers was above these doors, easily caught people’ eyes. One side of the A area was folding windows which could be opened to perimeter of market and expand space of kiosk I think.

Flowers, fruits and veggies in summer and Christmas trees in winter are sold outdoors, on the perimeter of building. I visited in winter so it didn’t have these kiosks, everything was less crowded and noisy. Two pictures above “illustrate” summer vibes, hopefully 😉

Stalls of vegetables and fruits mainly occupied the A area. I saw that they sold both imported and local farm produce. Also, this area had two cheese stores, a wine store with lots of local spirits and a seafood store. Unsurprisingly, my limited knowledge could only recognize less than 10 types of cheese among…too many rounds and blocks when I walked in the cheese store 😀 It was quite small, so I like that many “sliced and ready to buy” pieces of common cheese were put in glass door refrigerator near the door, and customers could choose without the need of staying inside the shop for too long.


Before entering the inside area, I saw a jam stall. I immediately wanted to try some new kinds of jam so I came to take a look. Unfortunately, the more I checked those jars on shelves, the more I felt dizzy 😀 It was like a gradient of color, from black to red. The worst (or best) part? Labels were in French. I recognized (or guessed) few words, however, most of them made me feel dizzy (lol). Size of jars was diversified, from few grams, to a kilogram. Last but not least, the salesman had a smile which I and my friend often call “autumn sunshine” (*´∀`*)

My new discovery was Pluot, a hybrid of plum and apricot. I bought a pack to try, they were quite good with sour touch. I think they would be sweeter if I let them ripe naturally few more days. The outside skin was soft and smooth like plum skin, the inside meat was more like apricot with darker color. They were not fragrant as normal plums or apricots.

The inside area “B” had butcher, delicatessen, coffee beans shop…One side of the area was Première Moisson, a bakery with lots of French breads and pastries. You could choose take-away or sit-in. I attached to this bakery and stopped to see products in longest time but I did not buy anything because my tummy was quite full (then I regretted badly after coming back, cry cry)

Pictures above are from the second shop which succeeded in making a conversation between my heart and my brain.
Heart (pounded and shouted): Buy Everything!
Brain (almost fainted): Are you nuts?
[Yeah, go nuts because of nuts?] 😀

They had various types of chocolate as well. After careful considering (or an exhausted fight between heart and brain?), I managed to calm my craving and only bought my ultimate love: almonds. They are my favorite snack, especially when I read books. Half kilo of almonds can be disappeared if the book is good enough (o´∪`o)


On the way of leaving, I saw this stall. The cold probably prevented me from noticing it when I entered the market 😀 Few friends in “food crime” had asked me before I left Vietnam to buy few maple syrup bottles for them. I marked another place on the map for maple tree’s products but the weather and my tight working schedule made me think twice, so I bought maple syrup here.

After visiting sugarshack (where maple syrup is produced), I remembered this stall and regretted a bit because I did not buy products here. The price of products in sugarshack was higher (。-_-。)

As I mentioned above, I did not go to Jean-Talon because of the cold. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine carrying (super) heavy glass bottles of maple syrup around Jean-Talon market, so I decided to come back my place first. Unfortunately, a snowstorm came later so I stayed inside few days. My initial plan was ruined completely ┐( ̄ー ̄)┌

To Be Continued…The second part is about Jean-Talon Market.

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