15 things to do this April

Spring is in the air, and you can feel the city slowly coming back to life. Here are some things you can do to help you wake up from hibernation.

1. MFF Night Market  

What: A nighttime market featuring Montreal artists and live performances 

When: April 5 and 19 from 6 to 10 p.m. 

Where: Le Frigo Vert

2. Comedy Carnival  

What: Nights filled with songs, laughs and food. Sounds like a good time!

When: Every Thursday from 10 to 11:30 p.m. until May 3

Where: 2015 Rue Crescent, third floor

3. Conférence-Débat Upop Montreal 

What: If a classroom setting just isn’t for you, try joining in on one of these events to learn about life on Earth 

When: April 5, 19 and 26 from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: La Brassée, 2522 Rue Beaubien Est

4. Shiny Disco Ball Dance Party 

What: Have you ever felt like you were born in the wrong era? Well, for one night you can party like it’s the 1970s at the Shiny Disco Ball. 

When: April 8 at 8 p.m. 

Where: Plaza Centre-Ville 777 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa

5. Blue Metropolis Literary Festival 

What: This year is the 25th anniversary of the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, and they’re hosting virtual and in-person events revolving around literature and writing workshops. 

When: April 12 to 30

Where: Events are all virtual until the April 27, where the in-person festival takes place at Hotel 10 Sherbrooke St. W

6. Le Grande Braderie de Mode 

What: Also known as the Big Fashion sale, this semi-annual clothing sale features some of Quebec’s most prominent names in the fashion world. 

When: April 13 – 16 

Where: Marché Bonsecours  

7. Trek Boucherville Roulez et Réparez 

What: A chance to try out different bicycles while learning to upkeep and repair them at the same time. 

When: April 15 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Trek Bicycle Montréal Griffintown, 291 Rue de la Montagne, Montréal, Canada

8. ToyCon Montreal   

What: A convention that displays the latest action figures, collectables and comics. Head over in your favourite cosplay and see what you can find. 

When: April 15 – 16 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Marriott Montreal Airport Courtyard 7000 Place Robert-Joncas

9. Festival Vues d’Afrique 

What: A festival that consists of themed days focusing on different cultures. It features films, art exhibits, food and round table discussions on a variety of topics. 

When: April 20 – 30

Where: 100 R. Sherbrooke E Bureau 3100,

10. Montreal Green Tech Festival 

What: A weekend that showcases the newest technological advances in green technology, as well a special showcase event on electric vehicles. 

When: April 21 – 23

Where: Olympic Stadium

11. Plural Contemporary Art Fair 

What: This event shows off some of the best contemporary art from across the country with a mix of virtual and in-person events.

When: April 21 – 23

Where: Grand Quay of the Port of Montreal 

12. Terra Concert  

What: A one-hour concert that focuses on the environment as a tribute to earth day

When: April 22 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where:  Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel 400 Rue Saint Paul Est

13. Vegapalooza 

What: Celebrate springtime at Vegapalooza, where you can try vegan foods and buy vegan products.  

When: April 29 – 30

Where: Maison du développement durable 50 Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest

14. SAT Cabane a Sucre Experience 

What: An immersive and unique sugar shack experience that was a collaborative project put together by different Quebecois artists. 

When:  March 30 – April 29 

Where: 1201 Saint Laurent Blvd

15. The Belgo Building 

What: The Belgo building features 27 free galleries and installations open to the public.

When: The building is open every day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. but each installation has their own opening hours

Where: 372 Saint-Catherine St. W

Bonus: WWF’s Climb for Nature 

What: If you’re feeling adventurous and looking for a challenge, you can partake in the WWF’s climb for nature. 

When: April 15 – 16

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre Hall C, North Building.

Community Culture

Our Mountain: Memories of Mount Royal Review

Check out this new exhibit commemorating the historic mountain located at the heart of our city

Out of all the iconic landmarks, one could visit in Montreal, I could list out a whole bunch off the top of my head: Orange Julep, St. Viateur Bagels, Mount Royal, etc. 

In terms of history, Mount Royal is as rich as it is stunning. An exhibit recently launched at the Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal called Our Mountain: Memories of Mount Royal recognizes the storied history of the mountain. 

This exhibit launched on Nov. 15 and runs up until Aug. 31, 2024. The location is 201 Pine Ave, W.

The exhibit mainly focuses on issues that contributed to the mountain’s initial development, and the current preservation efforts that are being undertaken.

Walking through this exhibit, you can learn about many different things, including some background on the park’s architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, the same architect behind the famous Central Park in New York City.

The exhibit focuses on the history of the park as a landmark in a growing city. According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, over the course of the 19th century, Montrealers bought large pieces of land at the base of Mount Royal. Those pieces of land were used as orchards or farms.

The turning point was when the city kept growing in population and the large pieces of land at the base became a cause of congestion. That’s when citizens started a petition to protect the mountain and turn it into a park for the public to enjoy. 

It was in 1874 that the city hired the famous Olmsted to design the layout of the park. Afterward, the park was officially opened to the public in 1876. 

The exhibit also makes a point of describing the mountain as a geographical territory. Mount Royal is composed of three summits, with its highest summit measuring 233 metres high. 

Walking through the exhibit, I noticed a space that was titled Mount Royal in 50 years. Visitors could write their predictions of what Mount Royal might look like in half a century. Now with the history of Mount Royal in mind, I leave the question with you — what do you think Mount Royal will look like 50 years from now?

Photographs by Dalia Nardolillo/The Concordian


Flâneurs and the art of city walking

How 19th century urban explorers may be the key to rediscovering the beauty of Montreal

I never really liked walking in the city. To grow up in an urban environment meant life was fast-paced, so leisurely strolls didn’t really make sense. Instead, rationality and time management overruled any effort to enjoy where I was walking. 

A trip to the grocery store was done in haste, and school drop-offs were bundled together with errands. Even a picnic in a public park was restricted to the one hour time slot we allocated for.

This mindset continued when I moved to Montreal and started my degree. I carried over the attitude of seeing the street as a transitional space between two more important locations. 

The street carried no inherent value and was to be navigated as efficiently as possible. 

Montreal’s summer and winter weather further entrenched my desire to limit city walking. My views were firm, but change came in response to a global pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought me many sedentary days and a yearning for some sort of connection. Over the months, I looked for ways to temper my urban cabin fever. Running and cycling were fine, but the city paths I covered were still being used as mere accessories for my exercise — like an elaborate treadmill. I wasn’t really experiencing anything the city had to offer. 

It wasn’t until I learned about a certain historical group that I was inspired to connect to the urban outdoors. They were 19th century European flâneurs, and they saw the city in an entirely different light. 

The flâneur, or flâneuse, was a well-to-do individual with plenty of free time on their hands. They were known to study the many districts of Paris, London, Berlin, and Vienna in their industrial golden ages. 

They took little part in the commercial activities of the markets and stores, and aside from resting at cafés and restaurants, they withdrew from the social activity of the streets. What they did was observe. 

In maintaining anonymity, the flâneur would witness the endless theatrics that unfolded on the city scene. These observant characters were able to find limitless dramas play out through the mundane activities of city folk.

This group intrigued me, and I wondered if it would be possible to recapture their enjoyment of the city. With this in mind, I set out on a summer afternoon to see what I could find.

Keeping my head high and ears tuned, I wandered around Montreal. With shoppers and commuters out, I was sure to find the streets filled. Through the summer heat and the city smell, I slowly tuned into the sights of the downtown bustle, and with the rigorous style of the flâneurs, I took note of the city activity.

To my delight, I started to really connect with all the action around me. From construction workers to window shoppers, everything played out like elements in a great play, with everyone dutifully filling their roles. 

For example, I noted a well-dressed businessman frantically phoning an airline to reorganize his flights. By itself, this scene wasn’t particularly memorable. But when I placed his troubles into the greater context of the times — the pandemic, the re-opening economy, the difficulties of flying, and the historic commercial hub that is Montreal — they suddenly felt so immense. 

The city itself also bore energy upon closer inspection. Construction pylons, cars, a dead pigeon, pesky living pigeons, and even the many angles of light bouncing off the skyscrapers came together to create their own complete unit. They had their own worth.

What was once a cumbersome experience was now full of intensity. Whether through age, circumstance, or desperation, something in me had changed. I felt connected to the complexities of the city, and I was deeply enjoying the experience. Even in my anonymous role of observer, I was a part of the story of that given day.

I continue these walks to this day, finding new stories every time. While I don’t always walk with the same observational fervour, I’ve come to depend on strolling through the city. By putting these walks in a fresh light, they become so much more than the chore they used to be. 

Going through any given burrough and reflecting on the sheer brilliance of the action gives these spaces a whole new weight and importance. If it means budgeting more time in the day, then it’s fully worth the price.

Ar(t)chives Arts

Nighthawks portrays urban ennui and isolation

Edward Hopper’s famous painting displays a scene at a late night diner, depicting life in the city as an alienating experience despite being in the constant company of others 

When Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks reached the public eye in 1942, many art critics observed two common themes: isolation and apathy. The painting, on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, is one of the best examples of Hopper’s fascination with American realism. To this day, it remains one of the most well-known paintings of the 20th century. 

The painting features a small diner, lit up by abrasive fluorescent lights that spill out onto the dark and desolate streets of New York. Inside the diner are a young waiter, a man and a woman who may (or may not) be a couple, and a mysterious man who faces away from the viewers. The scene, at first glance, resembles something a late night passerby might observe in the latest hours of the night. But when we start to look a bit closer, the scene is unsettling.

While Hopper admitted that isolation wasn’t a key theme he had in mind when he created this painting, he explained that “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.” In 1942, many were grappling with the devastating effects that WW2 was producing. Some have speculated that a newspaper rests beside the faceless man, one that may have announced ample amounts of tragic news taking place during the time. This would also explain why the diner’s occupants appear so glum. 


Hopper, perhaps unknowingly, managed to do a spectacular job of capturing the feeling of urban ennui and loneliness with Nighthawks. Through the diner’s large window, we are granted a glimpse into a world where interactions appear strained and the subjects are more preoccupied with their thoughts or worries than they are with one another. They share the same space, but they appear worlds apart. 

Life in the city has a way of both uniting and alienating people, especially in the darkest hours of the night. The man and woman who sit together in this painting are a prime example of this: despite sitting very close to one another, their body language emits a palpable distance. They both appear reluctant to talk to one another or meet each other’s gaze. The woman’s attention is focused on something green that she holds in her hand, while the man stares straight ahead, looking bored. Have the two been in a fight? Have they both received some bad news? Is one of them thinking of ending the relationship? Are they even in a relationship? For years, questions like these have plagued Hopper’s fans.  

Another key feature of the painting lies in the exterior of the diner. The dark streets are desolate, and without the diner’s fluorescent lights, the exterior would be completely dark. Across the street stands a building, with the bottom floor occupied by what appears to have once been a store. The storefront has been cleared out, with only empty shelves serving as proof that a store ever existed here. Additionally, above the store, there are several apartment units. In one of the apartment windows, there is an eerie figure that is barely distinguishable from the dark. Many have argued that it could be a human or a cat, though on closer inspection, it resembles neither. Some have concluded that it could also be the reflection of a street light. 

Despite Nighthawks’ enigmatic nature, many have resonated with this painting for its accurate depiction of what life in a metropolitan setting is like, even if Hopper never meant for viewers to interpret the painting this way. 


Visuals courtesy Taylor Reddam & Edward Hopper


Homeless Deaths In the Past Month Highlight a Flawed System that Needs Reform, According to Some Experts

Organizations supporting the homeless in Montreal say they lack funding and resources

Hugo, a homeless person for over seven years, roams the streets of Montreal. As the frost-covered snow treads under his boots on Ontario St. in Hochelaga, each step leads him to an undetermined destination. Though he’s currently refuged on a hidden street corner in a “non-declared shelter” to avoid the frigid temperature, he tends to avoid legitimate centres, fearing not only the loss of his autonomy but also not having access to the varying services he so desperately needs. “There are things that we need that are not allowed in shelters. When we need to take care of our morale, sometimes we hastily move to illegal aid even if we don’t have a choice.”

 Limited capacities and service closures at shelters stemming from Omicron have steered some homeless people back to the streets.

On top of this, January has not been forgiving towards people who have either chosen or who have been refused access to shelters, as two homeless people have died within the past month. Those nights frigid temperatures dropped to -25 degrees Celsius.

 Centres everywhere are feeling the constraints caused by Omicron. Welcome Hall Mission’s CEO Sam Watts can attest that organizations less fortunate than his own are feeling the effects, such as a lack of funding and resources. “There are a lot of organizations that have had to reel in their activities, in some cases shut down permanently or temporarily and who’ve struggled to supply adequate services for people in need.”  

  According to Mobilizing for Milton-Parc founder Sophie Hart, some shelters closed due to a lack of preparation for Omicron. “Shelters are congregated settings. Everyone eats together and sleeps in close proximity of each other.” 

This setting creates a higher risk of transmissibility, prompting shelters to limit admissions. “[The] services they use when they need support are having to limit what they can offer,” Hart said. She’s personally dealt with people who are scared to catch Omicron.

 Jocelyn is another person that has dealt with homelessness for roughly six months. Having many health problems, he hesitates to admit himself into a shelter solely due to his fear of catching COVID. “People in shelters don’t take care of their hygiene and end up with bacteria, microbes, and viruses,” he said. “I’d rather be out in the cold with a candle than die of COVID.”

 According to Watts, there are two main reasons why some prefer autonomous living. One reason is based on some people exhibiting independence as a character trait, and another relates to the notion of social connectedness. 

“One of the reasons people fall into homelessness is due to a loss of social connectivity, if you don’t have that network anymore you have lost that ability to connect into the system,” said Watts.

 The rules put in place in shelters across Montreal have people like Hugo think twice about administering themselves into centres for help. “You have to be in accordance with the social workers whose job it is to fill in their own responsibilities for your safety.”

 Though there are challenges regarding a “loss of freedom” that some people in shelters complain of, Watts considers these less like rules, and rather, expectations on how to behave within a shelter. “When you’re living in any kind of community setting, there are expectations people have,” Watts said. “A lot of people don’t like to live under certain norms and expectations and choose to live on the outside.”

 Though two deaths outside of shelters are already too many, Watts believes that these outcomes are a product of an already flawed system that must welcome reform. Both Hart and Watts believe that a more tailored system is needed in order to accommodate the many varying needs and problems homeless people face. “What we should move towards are services for a variety of people,” Hart said. “There has to be services created for everybody in mind,” 

 According to Watts, the way in which people are currently cared for are based on principles of charity that must modernize within the 21st century. “It’s a handout, it’s ‘here take this,’ and then come back tomorrow and we’ll give you the same thing again.”

 What Watts proposes is a system of “urban healthcare” that mirrors the steps one would experience when going to the hospital. “You’re registered, you’re triaged, you’re evaluated, a bunch of questions are asked of you, the healthcare professionals understand what the issue is, and chances are you get moved onto some other place in the hospital network where you can get the care that you need,” Watts said.

 Watts is optimistic that a well connected, properly funded network will improve not only transparency between shelters and the homeless population, but also help them improve upon their situation. “Not that homelessness will disappear, but somebody who is experiencing homelessness will not have to wander around for months or years in a network of disconnected, charitably-oriented organizations to get care. They’ll be part of a continuum of care that actually seeks to help a person to get from A to B to C.”


Photo by Kaitlynn Rodney

Looking for winter activities to get the holidays started? I’ve got you!

Our list of things to do in Montreal this holiday season may help make up for the dreadful winter weather around the corner.

It’s getting darker, colder and, and let’s be honest, kind of gross. Our days are getting shorter, while night dominates most of the hours in a day. The light in the sky escapes our eyes at 4 p.m. and, once again, we find ourselves taking our “afternoon” walks in the dead of night. I’m being a tad dramatic, I know. I can hear my mother’s voice making its way through my ears, telling me to “Look at the positive side, bun.”

While it may be easy to dump a cloud of doom and gloom over the Montreal winter, why not embrace the fact that the holidays are just around the corner?

Glistening lights and holiday drinks have entered the chat folks, so pay attention. In the spirit of the season, I’ve put together a few fun and festive things to fill your winter days.

Get skatin’

It’s time to dig your skates out of that bag in your closet, wear your thickest socks, and hit the ice. Let’s be honest, nothing quite says “Montreal holiday season” like skating outdoors. While rinks remain open throughout the winter, there’s something special about strapping on a pair of blades during the holidays.

If you’re thinking of locations, the Old Port is definitely the place to be. The twinkling lights of the city paired with the sound of music and the mystic St. Lawrence River right by the rink makes for an enchanting outing.

If your feet start to hurt (and, let’s face it, they always end up doing so), you can always take a step back from the rink and grab a hot cocoa… or a beer. Did I mention how perfect this activity makes for a fun and flirty date? You couldn’t have picked it better.

If this activity doesn’t seem perfectly storybook enough, I don’t know what is.

Markets, markets, markets! 

Tis’ the season to venture out to holiday markets! This has to be one of my favorite holiday traditions, no matter what city I’m in. The best news is that there’s no shortage of them in Montreal. What better way to join in on the holiday-spirited fun than by embracing the magical sights and sounds of each unique holiday market?

Whether you’re hitting the Village de Noël de Montréal at Atwater Market, the Marché de Noël de Jean Talon or Les Jardins d’Hiver at the Esplanade de la Place des Arts, you have options. Of course, several measures have been implemented at these different venues to ensure the safety of all visitors and employees, including the government-mandated vaccine passports.

Regardless of which location you decide to visit, you’ll find food, drinks, and fun little knick-knacks you can pick up for your loved ones as kitschy holiday gifts. Nothing says “holiday season in Montreal” quite like warm and welcoming holiday markets, right?

Let there be light (and sparkles) 

As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, Montreal has several different activities that will light up your winter days — literally. Time to fill up your thermos with a hot drink of your choice (I don’t judge), bundle up, and enjoy some light installations around the city.

First stop: the Luminothérapie playground at the Quartier des Spectacles. Getting your hands on the funky mixture of interactive art and light pieces will make you feel like a kid again. After you’ve had your fun there, take a stroll downtown. Allow yourself to be amazed by the holiday decor and lighting installations, all of which are guaranteed to distract you from the icky winter streets.You can also enjoy some pop-up shows and holiday activities offered from XP_MTL.

Your last stop? You don’t want to miss the stunning multimedia show Aura at the Notre-Dame Basilica. The universally-acclaimed show features stunning visuals and incredible music. The luminous experience will truly take your breath away, making it an unforgettable, magical evening.

Get your tickets for holiday music and shows! 

Holiday music and theatre shows are back and better than ever. From Dec. 9 to 28, you can catch The Nutcracker, presented by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, at Place des Arts. After years of watching the Barbie Nutcracker version (which will never get old), I can say that this activity is definitely at the top of my wish list.

The Orchestre symphonique de Montréal is contributing to the festive joy with several different concerts. Included in the line-up are La Poste du Paradis, Handel’s Messiah, Hervé Niquet and Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ), and many more. You can also make your way to the Bourgie Hall at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to enjoy their holiday concerts, including A Very Merry Christmas by the Montréal Guitare Trio and A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Taurey Butler Trio.

Take a break from that essay, lab, or project, grab your winter gear, and go enjoy some festive fun! Let’s embrace Montreal’s holiday sparkle while we still can.


Feature graphic by Madeline Schmidt

The Willy Wonka of Montreal

One exotic snack store, winning the hearts of Montrealers

Snaxies is an exotic snack store that sells delectable treats that you won’t normally find at any other store in Montreal, or Canada for that matter. Sergiu Paunescu, the owner of Snaxies, located in the Mile-End, explains that during the pandemic, his business never stopped running.

Paunescu opened Snaxies in April of 2020, at the age of 26. Before owning Snaxies, he operated a tutoring business during his studies at Concordia’s John Molson School of Business. During the pandemic and over the course of 2020, he decided to quit his other jobs and open up Snaxies. He explained that when he opened Snaxies, he had to build it from the ground up. “So, you dig your way up, then you learn how to breathe, walk and talk. It was non-stop when we opened. I had to do every single shift for close to three months,” Paunescu explained.

The first platform that truly launched Paunescu’s business was DoorDash. “I turned it on and within the first five minutes, I got a $60 order,” Panuescu explained. The owner also described how apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash are not exactly the easiest platforms to manage. “I started operations [in] July of 2020, so that was the first COVID summer. I did not expect the online platforms [referring to Uber and DoorDash] to get that much volume in terms of orders.” Paunescu also explained that 80 per cent of his revenue comes from these platforms, with hundreds of thousands of products sold in the last year.

A turning point for Paunescu was during the curfew in January 2021. “The first day of curfew, I read the law. Quebec issued a certain legal document of what businesses could and couldn’t do. We are an online business, essentially, so we were allowed to operate. However, customers were not allowed to enter the store. So I used my store as a storage space. The only people that were in my store were my employees and I,” Paunescu recalled. At the time, grocery stores and depanneurs were not allowed to deliver, but online platforms like DoorDash and Uber Eats were still permitted.

On the first day of the curfew, his business was still running as usual. “We were working, there’s about 10 Uber drivers lined up outside my door. Then there’s this guy that comes up to the door and knocks. My employee goes up to the door and tells him, ‘Give me a second.’ The guy still knocks at the door and lo and behold, it was four cops. They call me up and say I was not allowed to operate. However, I told the cops, look in the store. There’s no pricing, we’re an online business and we are allowed to operate.”

This situation was a great lesson for Paunescu, as he realized that in these unprecedented times, information changes quickly each and every single day, so it’s hard to get the facts straight. 

The first set of cops who came to the store believed that it was functioning illegally. Then, a second team of cops said that they were not sure. Finally, the third group of cops came to his business and said that it was completely fine for him to operate. “I got an apology, saying we [the police officer brigade] tried to pursue you in court, however, the court said we wouldn’t win. We’ve advised all the police in your area not to bother you anymore.” After the incidents with the police, Paunescu relocated Snaxies to its current location at 5026 Parc Ave. in May 2021. He wanted to move to this location to give his customers an in-store experience.

Kaitlynn Rodney, a journalism student at Concordia University, explained her experience inside the store. “When I first heard about Snaxies, I was really excited to show my boyfriend. He is a sugar addict! When I first got in, I remember thinking it was a little more expensive than I expected, but when I thought about it a little bit more, he is importing snacks from outside so it must be expensive.”

Some of Paunescu’s best selling products include Dunkaroos and Nerds Gummy Clusters. “I have whole palettes that are reserved for wholesale customers. To give you an idea, one palette is 2400 gummy clusters. A palette of Dunkaroos is 3600. It’s fun to have both products because people enjoy them so much.”

With his continuous success, Paunescu plans not to open another location, but instead to venture more into distribution. “A lot of companies are steering away from that. It’s costly and a lot of maintenance to take care of the operation. I want to expand my business into distribution. I want to focus on distributing the products rather than retail.”

The stay-at-home order did not stop Paunescu in the slightest. He is quite literally the “Willy Wonka” of Montreal, attracting customers from every corner of the city, and hopefully soon across North America.


Feature photo by Dalia Nardolillo

Where to go out this fall

A few nightlife recommendations for lost students

For new Concordia students, especially those living in Montreal for the first time, navigating the city’s extensive nightlife scene can seem like a daunting, nearly impossible task. For many non-local first-year students, getting sucked into a night full of hopping from overpriced bar to sleazy nightclub around the downtown campus/Crescent Street area is almost a rite of passage. But, I don’t think it has to be. With a metro pass and a willingness to explore, you can escape the leering old men and shady promoters waving flyers on street corners for a much better experience.

Rockette Bar

Rockette Bar has what Café Campus Retro Tuesdays wishes it had. Located near Mont-Royal metro station, this bar and nightclub spins a mix of rock, funk, punk, and leans heavily into new wave. The bar has a back section of long tables as well as a space to play pool, and a dancefloor (well, pre-COVID at least). If you’re sick of hearing the same music every time you go out, whether it’s top 40 or the same tired “throwback” songs, this is the place to be. In my experience, Rockette plays the sort of music that will actually make you want to dance — but we’ll leave that for when it’s allowed again, I guess. For now, it’s still a great atmosphere.

Resonance Café

For a more chill night out, Café Résonance, located in the Mile End, is always a good choice. Not only do they have great inexpensive vegan food, but they recently brought back their live music. During the day, Résonance is a cafe that’s easy to bunker down and study in, especially because their drip coffee has free refills. But at night, the cafe turns into a live music venue with moderately priced beer, wine, and cocktails. They continue their food service in the night though, so you can enjoy some jazz and some vegan nachos at the same time.

Bar le Ritz PDB

Bar le Ritz is pretty well known by Concordia students, and for good reason. This Little Italy bar/venue puts on some of the most fun dance nights in town. In the past, they’ve thrown parties in honour of certain pop divas, like nights dedicated to Britney Spears or Céline Dion, but they’ve also thrown ones centering around a certain genre or era like their “World of Post-Punk” or “2009-2019” dance parties. Once regulations ease up, they have a “Dark Eighties” party in the works.

Bar de Courcelle

This Saint-Henri bar has been connecting with its patrons in creative ways throughout the pandemic. On top of indoor seating and a terrace, since the summer, Bar de Courcelle has been hosting outdoor concerts in Sir George-Étienne Cartier Square every Sunday evening. So, there’s something for every COVID comfort level. Bar de Courcelle has a neighbourly, inviting vibe, as is evident from even just their meme-filled Facebook page. With reasonably priced drinks and a decent-sized bar snack list, this spot, whether indoor or outdoor, is a solid bet.


Feature graphic by James Fay

Yum or Yikes: Comptoir Koyajo in the time of the pandemic

Comptoir Koyajo has reopened during the pandemic, with some new brand safety measures

Last year, I visited an enticing Korean restaurant called Comptoir Koyajo. Located right near Loyola campus, this restaurant is very close-by and convenient for students to get a quick bite to eat in between classes and study sessions. I decided to go there again recently, since I had a little bit of time in between my online lectures and I live nearby. This restaurant’s layout has changed completely since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and has adjusted very well to this new reality people around the world are finding themselves in.

The ambience of Comptoir Koyajo is really well done given our current situation. Unfortunately, there is not enough room to have indoor seating. They converted the front door of the restaurant into a serving window, and there are a few picnic tables on the curb outside for patrons to enjoy their meals. One issue, however, is that the picnic tables outside are a bit too close to each other. Unfortunately, when I went, there seemed to be a beehive nearby, and they kept trying to pick at my food, so I ended up bringing my meal home.

Ambience: 3.5/5

The food tasted great! I ordered a spicy chicken plate, which consisted of some pulled chicken, steamed rice, and kimchi. There were many other options offered as well, such as sandwiches and ramen soups. The chicken was spiced perfectly; it wasn’t so spicy as to impact the flavour, but it wasn’t too bland at the same time. My only complaint was that the portion sizes were a bit small for a dinner, but they were perfectly sized for a small, healthy lunch option.

Food: 4.5/5

The price was around the average price of a meal in the area, $11 for the plate, but it came with the option of getting two dumplings for one extra dollar. On a warm day, their outdoor seating is perfect for getting a little bit of studying done and grabbing a quick bite to eat. Food delivery services such as UberEats, Skip the Dishes, and DoorDash are available too, but they are a little bit more expensive. It is not the cheapest meal in the world, but it is nice to get as an occasional treat for working hard during the week.

Price: 4/5

The service was excellent. The staff were extremely polite, and they tried their best to be positive, even during the pandemic. Their policy is to have customers line up at the door and wait for their food outside at the picnic tables they had installed in front of their store. However, the food took a little while to get prepared, and it was a cold day, so I had to stand outside trying to keep warm.

Service: 4/5

Comptoir Koyajo followed COVID-19 safety guidelines well. The employees inside were all wearing masks, and washed their hands after serving each customer. Even though no customers were allowed inside the building, the store still prominently displayed a bottle of hand sanitizer and recommended people to use it before eating. In these trying times, following COVID-19 directions is extremely important, and I’m glad that this restaurant is looking out for people.

COVID-19 Safety: 5/5

Comptoir Koyajo is a great option for students and people who work in the area around the Loyola Campus. Their food is delicious, healthy, and very much worth the short walk from campus. All in all, going to this restaurant was a great experience, even though it was a bit tough to eat outdoors due to the bees and to the cold weather. UberEats, Doordash, and Skip The Dishes deliver their food too, which is the safest option in the pandemic!


Photo by Kit Mergaert

Student Life

January events calendar

Here’s what’s happening in and around Concordia during the month of January:


Jan. 7-Feb. 29: Living History: 100 Years of Black History, Culture and Heritage

Jan. 8-9: President’s Back-to-School Get-Together

Jan. 14-Mar. 31: Guided Meditation

Jan. 15: January Concordia Farmers’ Market

Jan. 17-26: Montreal Auto Show 2020

Jan. 19: Skating in an Enchanted Forest

Jan. 25-26: ConUHacks V

Jan. 28: Stressed?! You can manage, we can help


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Food trucks deserve a better future

Exploring the laws that restrict the industry from being a larger part of Montreal’s food scene

When was the last time you ate at a food truck? Have you ever even seen a food truck in real life? I moved to Montreal three years ago and I haven’t seen one until I went to the Salada Market last weekend. The old Salada tea factory on Côte-de-Liesse has welcomed 10 food trucks to host an indoor pop-up event every Friday and Saturday from March 8 to April 27, according to CBC. The Quebec Street Food Association organized the event to extend the six-month-long food truck season cut short by winter.

If it weren’t for this event, I would have never eaten at a food truck. It’s not that I dislike food trucks; I find the food offered is somewhere between fast food and fancy cuisine. I was never particularly drawn to eating at a food truck. Honestly, I didn’t even know food trucks existed in Montreal because I never saw one.

A second Le Gras Dur food truck installed outside the Salada Market, in case the truck currently installed inside breaks. Photo by Lili Testemale.

The food truck industry doesn’t have it easy. The old regulations imposed by Montreal limit food trucks’ ability to reach their clients. The current regulations were imposed in 2013, after a 66-year ban on food trucks was lifted, according to The Globe and Mail. The ban began in 1947 for sanitary reasons, and food trucks had to remain 50 meters away from restaurants. They were kept far from popular locations and from Montrealers.

How would I have encountered a food truck if I was not aware of their existence, especially if they are located far from commercial areas? I do understand this law was, I believe, to ensure food trucks weren’t stealing restaurants’ clientele. In my opinion, both attract different types of clients. Saying food trucks are competing against restaurants is like comparing a Toyota Corolla with a Mustang. They are technically both cars but driving a Mustang and a Toyota Corolla are two different experiences.

But what makes it easier is when a client knows what they want. “A client has an idea in mind,” said the owner of Boîte à Fromages, Alexandra Bonnet. “They know if they want the fast experience of a food truck. The client is the master.” Bonnet doesn’t consider the 50-meter law to be a threat to her business. She trusts the customers will eat at her truck because they genuinely want to experience her food.

If I were in charge, I would let food trucks decide which location is suitable to them. Food truck owners know who their typical clients are and can decide which location will be more profitable. While I was collecting Montrealers’ opinions about food trucks at the Salada Market, I met tourists from the Philippines, Germany and France who decided to make the event part of their trip. Food trucks help tourism and deserve more publicity to encourage locals to experience their food.

Claire Duby Riou receiving her order of poutine from Jerry Foodtruck at the Salada Market on Friday, March 29. Photo by Lili Testemale.

Disregarding the unfavorable locations, the 33 food trucks registered in Montreal at the beginning of last summer were scrambling to find a site to install. In 2017, six boroughs offered sites for food trucks: Ville-Marie, Outremont, Vermont, Sud-Ouest, Mercier-Hochelaga and Rosemont-La-Patrie.

In 2018, only 3 boroughs offered locations for food trucks because of the lack of clientele according to CBC. I lived in Lasalle, situated next to Verdun, for two years, and not once did I encounter a food truck. The secluded locations deprived me of enjoying Le Gras Dur’s donut burgers.

On March 14, the Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, announced new regulations for food trucks to help the struggling industry, according to the Montreal Gazette. “I find this year’s new law makes it even easier for us,” said the owner of Das Food Truck, Annie Clavette. “It’s going to be a lot easier to have access to places where the clientele is present.”

The new regulations will place the responsibility on boroughs to reach out to the Quebec Street Food Association to communicate their interest in welcoming food trucks, said Clavette. The Quebec Street Food Association then contacts food trucks offering them a spot to install.

Each borough will choose one location for all the food trucks to set up during the summer, disregarding the 50-meter-law, explained Clavette. “Instead of being 50 meters from success, we’ll be closer to the population,” Clavette said. “[Are food trucks] accessible now with the new law? No,” said a customer at the Salada Market, Marie Gauthier. “They’re all in the same place at the same time.”

In the past, food trucks would be distributed across the borough. Now, they will be grouped in a specific location, making it difficult for every resident to come across them––especially in a larger borough. This problem is similar to the 50-meter law. If clients don’t actively want to eat at a food truck, they might never know they exist unless they happen to come across one. “For us, what guarantees our income are events,” said Clavette.

As dinner time approaches, customers sit down at picnic tables to enjoy their unique snacks and meals from Quebec’s top food trucks. Photo by Lili Testemale.

Events like First Friday’s at the Parc Olympique attract Montrealers and tourists. In my opinion, the wide selection of food, activities and DJs makes it worth traveling to the event. I believe the city is trying to replicate these events by bringing food trucks together. The variety of food available could encourage Montrealers to travel to specific locations. Maybe I’m just considering the possibility of enjoying a raclette styled meal from Boîte à Fromages followed by a delicious cookie monster ice cream from Le Casse-Glace. The benefits of these new regulations will be apparent during this year’s food truck season which begins in May.

Photos by Lili Testemale.


To be or not to be? Or, to stay or not to stay?

The city of Montreal’s role in preparing students for life after university

I have two more years in the safe environment of university life before the boundless and merciless maze of a world takes over my life. Much like other long-term planners, the question that plagues me night and day is: What’s next?

I moved from Lebanon to Montreal two years ago, and Concordia has quickly become a haven in the metropolis. Now, I don’t like to get too comfortable in places where I know my stay is temporary, so I make a point of planning what comes after my time at Concordia. The problem this time is that, unlike high school, I will be thrown into the mad world of adulthood where my sole focus will be to find whatever purpose I should fulfill.

I often find myself walking across René-Lévesque St., looking at all the suits rushing around and wondering if this is my purpose. Am I to walk these same streets, go about these same routines, all the while still trying to master a language that I have yet to learn?

Oh, yes—I should mention that I don’t speak French. Yet, I love Montreal. Part of what makes it amazing is how quickly I adapted to the snowy, moody, beautiful city-life. The metropolis makes it easy, really. Compared to other places, even around Canada and the province of Quebec, Montreal is so eclectic that you are bound to find something you identify with.

Although it’s in a French province, Montreal’s bilingualism makes the city home to immense diversity. I’ve heard about 17 languages being spoken while walking from the Hall building to John Molson. I’ve seen a woman wearing the hijab laugh audibly with a woman in shorts and a tank top. The city’s mélange of cultures is almost palpable.

Also, Concordia University is a beacon of innovative ideas; it constantly creates chances for students to make the best out of their time, personally and in their careers. Mary-Jo Barr, the university’s spokesperson said, “Montreal offers many advantages for those who want a complete university experience. It is culturally and linguistically diverse, and is seen as a place where students and graduates can prosper.”

In addition, while most universities in the province of Quebec are seeing a decrease in student enrolment, The Concordian reported that Concordia is experiencing the opposite.  The fact that it’s located in Montreal and its main language of instruction is English are substantial reasons, according to Concordia’s chief financial officer, Denis Cossette, and the senior director of financial planning and budget services, Jean-François Hamel.

I think this city is perfectly equipped to help students adapt to a balanced lifestyle. Unfortunately, I don’t think this privilege extends to graduates looking for a job. According to an article from the Montreal Gazette, Montreal’s unemployment rate has risen 0.4 per cent this past July—now sitting at 6.2 per cent.

There are discounts and offers for students all around the city that help make our stay more affordable; this perk does not extend to non-students. And for me personally, I’m a future journalist studying in a bilingual city whose media outlets rely heavily on French.

On top of that, having spoken to a few people who came here and stayed, what I noticed they all have in common is routine—they settle themselves here, go to work or university or both, come back home, have the occasional weekend outing, and repeat. The excitement of newness and diversity becomes normalcy. At one time, perhaps the beginning of winter was exciting for newcomers—but then, the cold breeze announcing winter becomes a cold reminder instead: “Here comes another six months or so of weather-induced depression.”

I do believe that those who are comfortable with a set, continuous routine can find their calling in this city. But I left home at 18 to come to a strange city, meet new people, make connections, be at Concordia, and then see where I can take what I’ve learned and do something with it. I don’t believe the Montreal that lies outside the safety net of Concordia is apt for me. I do, however, believe it’s the perfect city for transitioning into adult life.

Graphic by Ana Bilokin


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