Sainte-Catherine Street: Montreal's Downtown Shopping Destination

  • 01 of 08

    Sainte-Catherine Street: A Montreal Street Profile

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    ••• Sainte-Catherine Street is one of Montreal's best-known commercial thoroughfares. Jean Surprenant / Getty Images

    Covering a roughly 11-kilometre stretch (6.84 miles), Sainte-Catherine Street is over 250 years old and over time became downtown Montreal's main commercial thoroughfare.

    Cutting through as far west as Westmount and as far east as the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood, particular attention is paid to the downtown core's two kilometres long (1.24 mile) portion where Sainte-Catherine Street is lined with major department stores, shopping centres, restaurants, hotels, colleges and universities, cinemas and the city's cultural, entertainment and festival hub. Walking further east reveals the Montreal Gay Village.

    When Sainte-Catherine Street Turns Car-Free

    Once a year, downtown retailers spill out onto the pavement for Sainte-Catherine Street's annual sidewalk sale, which covers three-quarters of the street's 2-kilometre shopping mecca (1.24 miles). According to organizers, it's the biggest open-air sale event of its kind in Canada given its 300,000 shoppers and 300...MORE participating merchants, restaurants and assorted vendors. 

    In 2017, the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale and street fair runs July 14 through July 16, 2017 from Guy Street to Aylmer on extended hours:

    Friday, July 14, 2017 from 12 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    But the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale isn't the only occasion the downtown Montreal thoroughfare shines on pedestrians. Several blocks of Sainte-Catherine Street in the Gay Village shut down car traffic in the spring and summer to make way for live entertainment, festivals, sidewalk sales, and more.

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  • 02 of 08

    Sainte-Catherine Street Fair 2017 Sidewalk Sale Dates

    Sainte-Catherine Street Fair 2015 Sidewalk Sale Dates
    ••• The Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale, allegedly Canada's largest open-air sale, features deep discounts over a 2 kilometre stretch of commercially-fuelled pavement, with consumers saving generally 50% or more off retail prices during the fair. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    Considered the largest sidewalk sale in Canada, the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale is more than just an excuse to indulge in deep discounts on end-of-season inventory.

    Street food, classic car showcases, male models posing in Scottish gear, live music, karaoke performances and other random entertainment ranging from outstanding to train-wreck-in-progress are readily spotted from block to block. Every year, the two-day sale attracts roughly 300,000 people.

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  • 03 of 08

    Sainte Catherine Street Sale in Photos: The Choir

    sainte catherine street sales sidewalk photos montreal profile commercial shopping
    ••• Above: the Accueil Bonneau choir, my favorite -- and the street's most eccentric -- highlight of the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale's 2011 edition. Photo © Evelyn Reid

    The Accueil Bonneau choir is composed of homeless men helped by Accueil Bonneau's meal, clothing, and hygiene services as well as its social reinsertion programs. At the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale in 2011, the choir sang a variety of classic tunes, including Quebec icon Gerry Boulet's Toujours Vivant. That's French for "still alive.

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  • 04 of 08

    Sainte Catherine Street Sale in Photos: The Cars

    sainte catherine street sales sidewalk photos montreal profile commercial shopping
    ••• Every year, the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale showcases a block (or two) full of classic cars, from '60s Corvettes to vintage Mustangs. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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  • 05 of 08

    Sainte Catherine Street Sale in Photos: The Performances

    sainte catherine street sales sidewalk photos montreal profile commercial shopping
    ••• Canada's largest open-air sale, the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale, is more than just a sea of discounts. Several musicians perform for the occasion, drawing in crowds taking a break from the shopping frenzy. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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  • 06 of 08

    Sainte Catherine Street Sale in Photos: The Posing

    sainte catherine street sales sidewalk photos montreal profile commercial shopping
    ••• Two shoppers pose with male models clad in Scottish wear in front of Ogilvy, a nod to the upscale department store's 1866 founder, Scotsman James Angus Ogilvy. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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  • 07 of 08

    Sainte Catherine Street Sale in Photos: The Karaoke

    sainte catherine street sales sidewalk photos montreal profile commercial shopping
    ••• A man performs Elvis Presley's hit song 'Suspicious Minds' at a karaoke-equipped kiosk during the Sainte-Catherine Street sidewalk sale on July 16, 2011. Photo © Evelyn Reid
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  • 08 of 08

    Sainte Catherine Street Sale in Photos

    sainte catherine street sales sidewalk photos montreal profile commercial shopping
    ••• Photo © Evelyn Reid