As the cultural capital of Quebec Province, Montreal has a long history of providing entertainments unavailable elsewhere. During Prohibition in the United States, Montreal offered bars and burlesque shows to tempt the parched neighbors to the south. In keeping with its permissive air, the province of Quebec implemented gay-friendly legislation and same-sex unions before any other province in Canada and the city today remains one of the most embracing of diversity in North America.
The Heart of Gay Montreal
Deemed "the Paris of the North," Montreal revels in its thriving cultural scene, especially in Le Village Gai, or the Gay Village, a collection of streets from Rue Sainte-Catherine Est to Avenue Papineau and Rue Saint-Hubert. The Beaudry Metro station is the closest landmark and celebrates its playful gay Montreal character with rainbow pillars marking its station entrance, setting the tone for a district of the city that features saunas, gay strip bars, restaurants and clubs.
Some of the most iconic destinations are to be found in this quarter; Cabaret Mado is Montreal's gay Moulin Rouge and features over-the-top drag performances in the finest French style, highlighting covers of performers like Shakira and Beyonce. Complexe Sky is another cabaret favorite, mixing a popular pub with fantastical stage performances. The Stock Bar is renowned for its male dancers, who combine muscular fitness with stripping finesse for a truly memorable show. Le Saloon is a famous bistro eatery located in the heart of the Gay Village, serving up meaty hamburgers and artisan pizza in a chic setting. The Sauna St. Hubert offers relaxation, gay Montreal style, with a dry sauna and playful theme nights to work out any residual stress.
Gay Montreal Celebrations
A clever pun in French, Divers/Cité is gay Montreal's favorite celebration, a carnival-like pride festival that is held the last week of July. From the month of May to its end in September, the Aires Libres is a visual spectacle as the entirety of Rue Sainte-Catherine Est is festooned in strings of pink spheres and the Montreal art scene is celebrated. In October, the Black and Blue is a popular dance party sporting loud music and a never-ending stream of men without shirts.