9. Montreal, Quebec
Montreal is sometimes referred to as Canada’s “smoking and drinking section,” and if that’s not cosmopolitan enough for you, try this: Since November, physicians of the Médecins francophones du Canada have been in a one-year pilot program that permits them to prescribe visits to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to patients they believe may benefit from the healing power of art. They might, for instance, take in the abstract paintings of Jean-Paul Riopelle at the MMFA or wander to the Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) before it embarks on its world tour in April 2019.
High art isn’t everyone’s cup of tea; you might prefer a stroll through Montreal’s ultra-hip Mile End neighborhood, offering vintage dresses to bagel shops and brewpubs, or a tour of St.-Laurent Boulevard in the Plateau district, which is a scrolling canvas of street art, so much so that mural tours have sprung up in its wake. Montreal also has its own Little Italy, with popular restaurants and wine bars such as the new Mon Lapin (My Rabbit) or the Pizzeria Napoletana, in business since 1948, or you can just grab a maple bacon donut from the Trou de Beigne donut shop.
Is it any wonder the culture vultures at Netflix are putting down roots here? In 2017 the streaming giant made a soft commitment to invest $500 million in Canadian programming over the next five years, as well as to spend $25 million on Francophone content exclusively, and in fall 2018 the company claimed to be on track to exceed that pledge. Netflix’s teen soccer drama 21 Thunder was shot in Montreal last year, while the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston comedy Murder Mystery was shot in the Le Plateau-Mont-Royal borough this summer. The big guns—literally—rolled in during the fall as Roland Emmerich’s war epic Midway began filming in Montreal. Montreal is known as a reliable doubling city, having stood in for New Delhi in The Day After Tomorrow and as Saigon (with CGI palm trees) for X-Men: Days of Future Past.