City of Summer Festivals: Montréal, Québec

Any Montrealer will confirm that summer in their city is magical. It would have to be for 1.6 million people to brave 30-below winters every year. When the snow begins to thaw, the city rejuvenates as the people of Montreal closet their parkas and bust out their most stylish attire. The music starts, the terraces fill to capacity, and the streets close to accommodate the throngs of eager festival-goers.

Begin a weekend in true Montreal relaxed fashion by breezing off a plane with the SWISSGEAR Getaway Pilot Case in sleek dark grey. Its light weight and smooth rolling wheels will make it look like you've been in this city all your life.


SWISSGEAR SW22320 20" PILOT CASEA stylish carry-on with a relaxed, sporty attitude in a sophisticated execution for today's traveler

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Montreal Botanical Gardens

Fresh Air and Greenery Complimented by 19th Century Architecture

Often compared to the historic cities of Europe, Montreal is renowned for its architecture. There's a Gothic-Revival church on every corner, a gorgeous triplex up every street, and a stately art deco theatre in every neighbourhood. But it's Montreal's parks and natural features that give this city its lively spark. Slide your e-reader, camera, and water bottle into a SWISSGEAR backpack with a padded device compartment, then head out to the Botanical Gardens. Accessible by subway, this sprawling urban tribute to the natural world holds 10 exhibition greenhouses that display everything from tropical forests to the Chinese art of the Living Sculpture. You could spend weeks getting to know the Botanical Gardens, but before you get lost in the trees, take the time to see Mount Royal—the mountain around which the city was built. This summer, the main street traversing the top of the mountain will be blocked to accommodate cyclists and hikers. It's the perfect time to enjoy the quiet natural beauty of Beaver Lake or the lookout that offers a stunning view of Montreal's iconic skyline. Every Sunday, hundreds of people gather at the base of the mountain for a drum circle (Tam-Tams as the tradition is locally called). An impromptu party that began decades ago, Tam-Tams has turned into a weekly gathering that seems to grow exponentially every year. After enjoying Mount Royal, head down to the Old Port for the waterfront view and winding cobblestone streets—the perfect blend of nature and architecture.


SWISSGEAR SWA2501BD Laptop BackpackFits both tablets and laptops up to 15 inches

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Schwartz Deli

Street Food, Smoked Meat, and, of course, Poutine!

Montreal is home to an active food scene that represents every culinary tradition from French Bistro to Sugar Shack, but its grab-and-go offerings are the real treat. The Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich, for instance, is famous for being simple, messy, and delicious. Schwartz's Deli has been operational since 1928 and has served the same sandwich for the last 90 years. Be sure to order smoked meat on rye with mustard. Don't get fancy. Just enjoy this no-frills sandwich. After Schwartz's, check out any of the city's 20 food trucks. They're usually scattered around town, but if you're in Montreal on the first Friday of a summer month, you'll find the trucks gathered at the Olympic Stadium for a massive celebration of street food. Finally, it's time for the legendary poutine. The best way to try this fine delicacy is to get serious and head over to La Banquise, a diner dedicated to poutine, serving the dish 24/7. La Banquise offers the original recipe (fresh cut fries, homemade gravy, and cheese curds) as well as several fresh takes on this classic indulgence.


Arc de Triomphe

Let the Crowd take you on an Adventure

Every year, huge portions of Montreal's streets are shut down to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of festival-goers. Keep your valuables close with the SWISSGEAR Mini Sling Bag while you find your way through the crowds of the Just for Laughs Festival. From July 11th to the 29th, the world's comedy elite descend on Montreal, filling every venue and spilling into the street. If you're in town from August 3rd to 5th, check out Osheaga, a music festival that hosts some pretty big headliners, a skate park, famous Montreal chefs, and several art installations. Throughout the summer the Atwater Market on the edge of the Lachine Canal and the Jean Talon Market in historic Little Italy are a great place to pick up local produce and watch a busker or two. The markets are the ideal place to get a little lost and experience a slice of Montrealaise daily life. Finally, spend an evening watching the Fireworks Festival (L'International des Feux Loto-Quebec) from the grandstands at La Ronde. The sky lights up over Lac des Dauphins and romance is dense in the air—the perfect end to a weekend in The City of Festivals.


SWISSGEAR SWT0361R Mini SlingLight and handy for those on the go

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