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11 Rainy Day Activities in Montreal

By JOANNE LATIMER

Photo: Rachel Barenblat

1. Bowl and dine at Notre Dame des Quilles. Throw a strike at this hip new bowling bistro. It serves classy comfort food, like mac ‘n’ cheese with jalapeño chutney, alongside real ginger ale and cheap pints. It opens at 3 pm for afternoon fun. Cash only. 32 Beaubien St. E., at St. Laurent; 514-507-1313. Open daily from 3 pm.

2. Pamper yourself with a massage. Massages at Bota Bota spa ($90 for 60 minutes) are accompanied by a live harpist and you can also tack on a sauna or eucalyptus steam bath. Once a seaworthy vessel, this five-storey ship was retrofitted as a chic spa in 2010. 358 Commune St. W.; 516-284-0333. Open daily by appointment.

Olive+Gourmando (Photo: Wally Gobetz)

3. Celeb-spot at Olive+Gourmando. This cozy café is a magnet for visiting movie stars, like Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Ethan Hawke, Will Ferrell and Rachel Weisz return for the exotic salads and homemade baked goods. 351 Saint-Paul St. W.; 514-350-1083. Open Tues.–Sun. 8–6.

4. One word: chocolate. Hot chocolate bar Cacao 70 serves more than 20 varieties of gourmet drinking chocolate as well as fondue, crêpes, sundaes, milkshakes and even chocolate-hazelnut pizza and grilled marshmallows. But those in the know order the signature summer drink: the New York Frozen Style Frozen Hot Chocolate, topped with fresh whipped cream ($6.75). 2087 Ste. Catherine St. W.; 415-933-1688. Open daily from 11 am.

5. Get outside, inside at the Montréal Botanical Garden. There’s always an ecosystem to explore at this centre for 22,000 plant species from around the world. At the Insectarium, marvel at the 2,000 butterflies and moths flitting about in the greenhouses (until April 29). 4101 Sherbrooke Ave. E.; 514-872-1400. Open Mon.–Sun. 9–5.

6. Shop vintage at Era Vintage Wear. Shop for Mad Men dresses at this vintage store, a treasure trove of fox collars, hard-sided handbags and 60s frocks—all cleaned, refurbished and ready to wear. 1800 Notre-Dame St. W.; 514-543-8750. Open Mon.–Sun. from 11 am.

Montreal Museum of Fine Art (Photo: Andrew Louis)

7. Discover Montreal’s cutting-edge art space. Ryoji Ikeda—called the troubling poet of the digital age—is having his first survey exhibit in North American this summer at DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art. And admission is free! 451 St-Jean St.; 514-849-3742. Open Wed.–Fri. from 11, Sat. and Sun from noon.

8. Take your afternoon tea at Birks Café Par Europea. Linger over afternoon tea ($26/person), served with scones, Devonshire cream, mini sandwiches, duck foie gras canapés, macaroons and a bag of sweets to go. 1240 Philips Sq; 514-397-2468. Daily from 2:30pm.

9. See the Arctic in 3-D. At the Montreal Science Centre see To the Arctic 3D (starts May 11), in which a mother polar bear and her two cubs navigate the challenging Arctic wilderness, tackle glaciers, ice flows and waterfalls. 333 de la Commune St. W. (King Edward Pier at Saint-Laurent Blvd.); 514-496-4724. IMAX films daily.

10. Study Monets, Manets and more at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. Gawk at the world-class collection of French Impressionist paintings from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (until January 2013). 1379 Sherbrooke St. W.; 514-285-2000. Open Tues.–Fri. from 11 am, Sat. and Sun. from 10 am.

11. Be dazzled at a Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna. Immerse yourself in the world of Amaluna, an island ruled by goddesses and the moon. 145 de la Commune St. E. (Vieux Port); 800-450-1480. Matinées Thurs.–Sun.

Cirque du Soleil's "Amaluna" (Photo: Laurence Labat)

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