Virtual Road Trip: Starbucks Stores Pay Tribute to Montreal’s Vibrant Cultural Scene

Montreal may be regarded as a winter wonderland, known as the birthplace of hockey and one of the few places where visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, and ice fishing within city limits.

But in the summer, millions of visitors flock to Montreal to enjoy its exceptional festivals – where the excitement pours into the streets as stages pop up for music and theater and entire city blocks are shut down to traffic. The season kicks off with car racing’s Formula One Canadian Grand Prix in early June, and continues with the Montreal International Jazz Festival andLes FrancoFolies, a celebration of French music. Each Saturday night from late June through early August, residents of all ages gather on rooftops and board boats along the St. Lawrence River to take in spectacular pyrotechnic displays that light up the night sky for one of the world’s largest international fireworks competition.

Festival-goers will discover Starbucks® stores in Montreal reflect the vibrant cultural offerings of city. Colin Szasz, who designs Starbucks stores in Montreal, shares two of his favorite Starbucks stores among the bookshops, restaurants and boutiques along the city’s lively St. Catherine Street.

St. Catherine Street & Greene

Starbucks designers created a fascinating space for the store at St. Catherine and Greene in the city of Westmount, a residential enclave surrounded by the city of Montreal, which reflects the heritage of the landmark Westmount Square neighborhood in a contemporary way.

“We wanted to reflect the residential nature of the neighborhood, that’s where the idea of a true “coffee house” came into play, Szasz said. “We had a two-story space to work with, and we took the coffee house idea literally, creating the feel of a grand home within the space.”

The location, which opened in November 2013, was Quebec’s 100th Starbucks store and the first Starbucks Reserve® coffee location in the province to feature the Clover® Brewing System that highlights each coffee's rich and distinctive flavors, brewed one cup at a time.

“As with all new Starbucks stores in Canada since 2010, the store was designed to LEED® specifications and incorporates local recycled and reclaimed materials, including the rustic wood on the walls, ceiling and bar,” he said.

St. Catherine Street & Lambert Closse

A few blocks down St. Catherine Street, near the storied Montreal Forum, where the Montreal Canadiens won 22 Stanley Cups, is the Starbucks store at St. Catherine & Lambert Closse.

The store occupies the spot of the former Seville Theatre, and pays homage to the history of the area. The design team was inspired both by the location’s dramatic origins and a desire to create a sense of “coffee theater” for its customers. Velvet curtains frame the coffee bar area and bring it center stage, while theatrical spotlights shine from above. Soft seats welcome customers and invite conversation.

“In Quebec, people like to linger in our stores,” said Szasz. “We try to cater to a longer coffee experience where they feel comfortable to sit and stay a while.”

Did You Know?

  • Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris.
  • Starbucks opened its first store outside the United States in Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1987. The company opened its first store in Quebec in 2000.
  • Canada is the second-largest market for Starbucks, with nearly 1,400 stores from Victoria, British Columbia on the Pacific coast to St. John’s at the easternmost tip of Newfoundland on the Atlantic.

For Your Travels

If you’re visiting Canada, enjoy a cup of brewed Starbucks Blonde True North Blend™/Mélange Nordique™ coffee, or pick up a pound of whole bean to bring home.

Our Next Stop

We’ll hop across the pond to visit some innovative spaces inspired by their historic surroundings.

thumbnail for Siren Craft System – elevating the Starbucks experience for our partners and customers  

Siren Craft System – elevating the Starbucks experience for our partners and customers