We want your
articles and publications! We DO publish. Do you want to
write a review? Do you want to write a commentary?
name it, we'll publish it! Submit your articles, or ask
for our writing guidelines,
Montreal Salsa Dance Trip Report
An exploration of Salsa and Style in Quebec!
5-1-2002, A Travelers
SalsaCrazy.Com – Return the
SalsaGuides.Com – Return to
So, what can I
say about Montreal? Beautiful city, gorgeous people – a European sensibility
with an American feel – it’s close to paradise. I would rate it highly for
anyone’s trip, and salseros will not be let down by it’s salsa offerings on most
every night of the week. While it does not have the “Big City”, 10 things
happening a night, agenda – it does provide an outlet for dancers of any skill
level, on most nights of the week.
I Landed at Dorval Airport
early thursday mornng, on a cold and rainy day. I quickly took a shuttle to
downtown Montreal about 15 minutes away, having booked a room at Hotel Le
Germain, right in front of Mc Gill Campus, located in the heart of the shopping
center area. I took it easy that day, walking around the St-Catherine street
area, visiting the underground city (a huge, interconnected, underground walking
area with shops and restaraunts, etc . . .) and the various shopping malls.
That evening, I went to
Dinner at YoYo, a nice and cosy (i.e. small), neighborhood French restaurant in
the trendy plateau area. Dimmed lights and discrete music, classy waiters where
I tried my best to speak some French (and, since this not a tourist area
necessarily, you’d better be able to speak some, or have someone with you to
After quite an amazing meal,
I had my first taste of dancing in Montreal, and was whisked away to Cactus on
St-Denis street corner of Mont-Royal, still in the Plateau.
This is a small but very
popular club. Excellent music, two floors with the best dancers staying in the
first floor where there is a wall mirror making the room seem twice as large as
is it. I noticed that typically the beginners would go upstairs to practice. The
ambiance is nice, warm, lots of women and all levels of dancers. It is easy to
find someone to dance with if you ask nicely (and if you say you are from out
of town visiting, you are very unlikely to be refused.) Unfortunately there is
only a few stools to sit on and no tables. Cover charges are 4$CAN and 1.50$ CAN
for the coat check.
The d.j. played ALOT of good
salsa and a little bit of merengue. This club also offers dancing classes almost
every day of the week but is opened to dancing Thursday thru Saturday from 9 pm
to 3h15 am. (Yes, this is Montreal, and most clubs close around 3 am)!
Friday I walked in old
Montreal, nice cobblestones houses, lots of old warehouses being renovated as
lofts. This is a very touristy area and Place Jacques Cartier is where they all
seem to meet. There is a nice atmosphere in Monteal despite the fact that 2
very different cultures, the British English one, and the French one, are trying
to blend harmoniously. In the Center of town is Parc Mont-Royal which offers
many nice jogging paths and the Beaver lake for people to skate on in the winter
or to sail their little motorized boats in the summer. I walked a bit on
St-Laurent street which is filled with upscale restaurants where Nicolas Cage
and Robert de Niro are frequently spotted (or so I'm told). On this street there
is the Kokina's club which offers salsa on Mondays.
Took some takeout sushi at
Soto's and headed off to visit the best teacher in town Gil Sanchez Peralta who
teaches some of my friends in Montreal.
That night I went out to
Cubano's, on Ste- Catherine near the Place des Arts Complex, a large open area
with lots of tables facing the large dance harwood dance floor. Contests and
live bands almost every Friday. Cover charge is 5 $ to 7$ when there is a band
and 1,50 for the coat check. People are very friendly but most people are not as
good dancers as you can see at Cactus. Again it is very easy to find someone to
dance with. They tend to play some latino hip-hop toward the end of the evening
(2 am). The club owner, Jenny, also owns one of the most complete latino music
stores in town called Serrano, where you can pick up free passes to Cubano's and
get the best, and sometimes impossible to find in the US, CD's for 25$CAN tax
included (it’s a great deal).
Saturday I went to see
Spiderman at the largest cinema complex, Paramount on ste- catherine's which was
located 2 blocks from my hotel. My friends had also hooked me up with this Salsa
Gala happening in Montreal that Saturday. It was a benefit evening for some
charity organization. The old Just-for-Laughs museum had been converted into a
social happenings place a few years ago, and it was filled with over 600 people
all dancing salsa that evening. 6 of Montreal's dancing schools presented a
little show but most of the evening was devoted to social dancing. There I
met Nathaly Chene, one of Montreal most promising teachers who introduced me to
a lot of the different schools and teachers in town.
On Sunday I had "brunch" at
Toi, Moi et Cafe on Laurier st corner Esplanade. This is one of the best café’s
(outside seating) I've been to and serves delicious breakfast. Walking around
led me to one of hundreds of Montreal small cafes, Le Figaro. This place is
filled with old music instruments and they play a lot of salsa. Their patio is
also very popular but in a very discrete kind of way, as if people elected one
spot near their house to gather after work or just ot chat before dinner. I
visited Jenny, Cubano's owner, at her store and bought some CD's.
That afternoon I went to old
Montreal again and found myself eating dinner in one of the most unusual
restaurant. From the outside it looks just like any other old Montreal 1700
century house, but after you've walked thru a little hallway, classic French
waiters take you to an outdoor, heated and umbrella protected area where a band
sings soft jazz for 2:00pm until 10:00 pm. I had the house specialty; crepes
that can be made with anything imaginable according to their menus. Montreal
also had salsa on Sunday at Cubanos but I decided to check out Salsatheque on
Peel corner of Ste Catherine. Sunday – SalsaTheque,
or Mafia-Theque as people frequently referred to it. Everyone knew what it was,
everyone recommended it, but did so grudgingly (as if they weren’t proud of it,
but had to tell me to see it for myself). There is a large dancing area
with tables and chairs but the ambiance is rather tacky and there is a lot of
“hand wandering” as some of my female friends say. It used to be one of Montreal
most famous salsa club and still houses the St-Tropez dancing schools but it is
not as near as nice as the other clubs (but still worth visiting).
Other Salsa Clubs in Montreal
Mondays; 737' Rooftop
Terrasse of highest skyscraper (Place Ville Marie, downtown) from May to
Tuesdays; The Living, (
St-Laurent and Mont-Royal) very nice and cosy area, with the Cactus crowd
shifting from these 2 places depending on which club is open.
(Crescent and Maisonneuve) above Winnie's also very nice and lots of good
dancers. Jell-O bar Ontario and St-denis which oten features a live band.
Thursday' thru Saturday
Cactus, Cubano's and Salsatheque
Sunday Salsatheque, cubano's
And there you have it – all
that’s going to be told in this diary, of my trip to Montreal. In short, visit!
The city, people, and fun factor are all through the roof. For American
tourists - there is NO BETTER DEAL TO BE FOUND, as your money goes twice as far
as it does in Europe (specifically the UK). Each dollars buys you about
$1.50 worth of things. A great benefit to taking a fantastic trip!
Return to SalsaCrazy Featured Dance Articles
| Contact/Support | Write a Review | About SalsaCrazy | Private Policy |
Dance San Francisco |
Salsa Dance Clubs
& Events |
DanceSF Salsa Classes |
Salsa Cruise &
Get your Site Salsa Dance
Salsa Dance San Francisco
Your Online Salsa School
Ballroom + Latin
Dance Video Store!
Salsa Dance Videos