Tucked in alleys, on rooftops, and in other secret spots, having a local guide you to a city's best street art is definitely the best option. Luckily, in Montreal, we have Maxime Sauriol. A thirty-something content curator who walks almost five miles a day in the city, Maxime might be the most qualified when it comes to discovering the best creative gems that can sometimes be hard to find.
Perfectly encompassing Montreal's creativity, street art in the city adds to the vibrancy of the already colorful streets. With festivals throughout the year, including MURAL Festival, Montreal is becoming known for its urban art and we think it perfectly captures the mood, culture, and community of this bustling city.
In the words of Maxime, "Art isn't supposed to be pretty, it's meant to make you feel something. And in the case of Montreal's art, we feel both: Beauty and emotion."
A special thanks to Maxime for providing both the words and photos for this piece. Discover more of his work on Instagram.
Eye of the tiger
"Located in the Rosemont neighborhood, near the corner of Dandurand and Cartier, this garage door stands out for more than just its well-worn character. No, what really jumps out at you is its dynamism and the tiger face which fills your head with the timeless tune of “Eye of the Tiger,” and puts a smile on your face.
It caught my eye from a distance when I was going to join my friends for a pint of micro-brewed beer at the Broue Pub Brouhaha. And it is proof that every garage door deserves to be turned into art—several doors in Montreal’s back streets have already undergone that process."
"Kids playing in the École Laurier schoolyard (in the heart of the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood), like the thousands of daily passersby, probably no longer notice it. But this 95-foot long mural is still one of the finest in all Montréal and one of my favorite since its unveiling in fall 2014. It may have something to do with my presentation on hummingbirds when I was in second grade...
I'd wanted to get a good shot of this work for a long time; it’s such a nice wink to Montréal’s distinctive architecture. After some rain, I played in the puddles until I splashed the photo’s bright colors."
"Mile End is one of the most highly regarded neighborhoods, not only in Canada, but in the world. It features a massively artistic population that includes musicians such as Arcade Fire, Grimes, and Plants and Animals, several video game startups (along with a branch of Ubisoft), and artists from all sorts of other fields calling the areas studios their homes. It’s not surprising, therefore, to see plenty of street art in the area. It’s the perfect neighborhood for walking around with a bagel (from Fairmount or St-Viateur) and a coffee from one of the many cafes in the area. In fact, that’s what I had in my hands (and mouth) when I took this picture.
This ephemeral work was on Saint-Viateur, east of Saint-Laurent. There, you’ll often find this kind of paper (“wheatpaste”) street art."
"This slightly abstract 1,200-square-foot mural created by Carlito Dalceggio honors street artists. And, since 2008, it has colored Prince-Arthur Street, a pedestrian street that connects the famous Saint-Louis Square and Saint-Laurent Avenue (“the Main,” as it’s known). The streets in this part of the Plateau are full of architectural splendors in a typical Montreal style — even the façade of the building where the mural is located is very popular with amateur and pro photographers. Besides admiring the mural, be sure to take a lovely stroll through this neighborhood."
"Omen, a professional street artist, is more accustomed to creating large-scale murals all over the world than to working on simple garage doors. And the combination of black and white in a piece are the signature of this artist, who has over 20 years of experience and has worked in places such as Miami, Paris, Taiwan and Sydney.
Adding up to over 450 km, back streets are characteristic not only of local urban planning, but also of life in Montreal. Walking them provides insight into the city's lifestyle: You can see residential backyards, children playing safely, and many works of street art, graffiti and even poetry!
It was precisely as I walked those back streets for some quiet time in the heart of the Plateau that I found this work by Omen. How could I not take a picture of it?"
Holding up the city
"The underside of the Van Horne overpass in Mile End may be far from charming, but this gritty area is full of beautiful murals painted on the pillars that are definitely worth seeing.
This Minotaur, which is doing its best Atlas impression, compels my attention every time I pass by it several times a week, and I’ve often taken pictures of it. You could say he provides 'unwavering support.'"
Once you start looking, it'll be hard for you to not notice all the vibrant works of art around the city. Wander the neighborhoods Maxime mentions above as a starting point, then keep exploring! Or, if you're looking for a more regimented route, here's a handy Google map that will show you the way.
Discover more on Montreal's creativity at the Tourism Montreal website.