While Montreal is the birthplace of Saul Bellow, Leonard Cohen and Mordecai Richler, the city’s proud Jewish heritage extends well beyond the written word. Despite its relatively small size compared to other cultures and traditions in the city, the Jewish influence is longstanding and widespread. Generations grew up around bustling Boulevard Saint-Laurent (aka ‘The Main’) in the Plateau neighbourhood before extending out across the city, and traditional Jewish cuisine has become part of daily life, even for the gentile. From side-street bakeries to busy delis and high-end steakhouses, from tender smoked meat on freshly-baked sourdough to oven-warm bagels and locally made pickles that can be found in every fridge in town, Jewish food is sewn into the fabric of the city.
Stroll through the charming boulevards of the Plateau, up the narrow, tree-canopied streets of Mile End and then through the lively Hasidic neighbourhood of Outremont. On your way, stop for brunch at one of several famous Jewish diners; sign up for an organised tour devoted to Jewish food, pick up some of Cheskie’s sweet rugelachs or Schwartz’s brisket, or take home some of Mrs. Whyte’s kosher dills in a jar. As Leonard Cohen once put it, “Hallelujah!”