Holiday Gift Guide to The Main

18 Dec, 2013

Top ten places for gifts under $25 on St-Laurent   
by Tessa Battistin

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Thinking of Boulevard Saint-Laurent conjures up images of exciting Montréal nightlife, filled with bars, clubs, and late-night poutine joints. But Saint-Laurent can have even more to offer in the light of day. Vintage shops are popular along the street, and there are plenty of Charcuteries and Bakeries offering up local and ethnic delicacies. With a beautiful graffiti backdrop and new places to explore along the way, a wintertime walk on Saint-Laurent promises to be fruitful in the never-ending search for unique holiday gifts. I did the research for you, so here are 10 places that are sure to catch your eye and help you check off that holiday gift list!

Montréal Images

Best Bet: Metal Plates for $8.95, Andy Warhol Prints $19.95

High ceilings and strategically placed lighting makes Montréal Images feel like a swanky gallery. As you enter the store, a clean and calm atmosphere illuminates original products that are hung on the wall with care. Glossy prints, postcards, stationery, and posters cover the walls, along with pricier framed pieces. Montréal Images offers vintage images printed on funky metal plaques that would make a great gift for an art fan. Also of note is their collection of interesting postcards, providing a cheap and easy way to send holiday cheer that saves on shipping costs.

Slovenia: Boucherie & Charcuterie

Best Bet: Extra Large Bar of Milka Chocolate for $6.20

Boucherie Slovenia offers a variety of hearty looking meats in its display window, but this does not do justice to all the other goodies inside. Beyond the raw sheep intestines and specialty jerky, the Boucherie carries a variety of epicurean foods, such as chocolate wafers and savoury crackers imported from Europe: perfect for Dad or any delicacy lover.

Centre Star 

Best Bet: Funky sock puppet mittens for $19.95, Thick wool scarf for $15

Centre Star carries anything and everything you could need for a Montréal winter. Here, you’ll find a thoughtful gift for that wacky foreign student who doesn’t know what is about to hit them come December. You can stock up on funky animal-themed mittens, classic Canadian toques, and cozy wool scarves. Besides its accessories, Centre Star carries warm winter coats and boots.  Although it may not look like much from the outside, Centre Star has been a Montréal name since 1965, meaning that the store has survived at least 30 more winters than you have, and even more snow storms.

Freak Lunchbox

Best Bet: Large Santa-themed Kinder Surprise for $8.99, Marble Swirled Cube Pop for only $.99 (great for stocking stuffers!), and Pac Man magnets (set of 28) for $13.99

Freak Lunchbox’s neon exterior promises sweets and wonder inside. Walking in fulfills all the childhood dreams you never knew you had. With toys and other gizmos lining the walls and whole back room full of gummy candy, Freak Lunchbox certainly pays tribute to its name. Not only does Freak Lunchbox carry an enticing variety of candy that would put Willy Wonka himself to shame, it has unique toys—from yo-yos to smelly stickers—and metal lunch boxes that are sure to delight young siblings, little cousins, or just about anyone with a playful side.

SAQ

Best Bet: Mini Cidre de Glace for $5.45, Mini Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey for $3.35, and Masi Campofiorin Vin Rouge for $18.95

You probably already knew about this one, but don’t forget about its holiday gift potential! Your friendly neighbourhood SAQ is stocking-stuffer central due to its wide array of mini liquor bottles that fit perfectly in the toe of every stocking. In addition to these small delights, SAQ offers seasonal ciders and wines that are perfect to get any party into the holiday spirit(s).

Puces POP

Best Bet: Patent leather bag for $20, Silver Snowflake ring for $15, and Vintage Pins for $5

Puces POP is a craft fair organised by POP Montreal from December 13th to 15th, featuring over 80 craft vendors and a unique opportunity for any McGill student looking for a well deserved study break. It is a flea market organized by the POPMontréal music festival, geared towards holiday crafts and vendors that will put you right into the holiday spirit. The market promises discount prices and eclectic gifts that will save you from buying someone slippers. Again.

Friperie Saint-Laurent

Best Bet: Hot pink felt floppy hat for $15, Leather wallet for $5, Vintage board games for $10

This vintage store is one you don’t want to miss. The prices can’t be beat, and with ever-changing merchandise, anything you find is truly one-of-a-kind. Friperie Saint-Laurent is crowded with clothes and accessories, but searching through the racks is well worth your time.  The store carries everything from 60’s board games to flamboyant ties and those horrible Christmas sweaters. Friperie Saint-Laurent even has a friendly pet dog roaming the racks, so don’t forget to give him a pat if you choose to stop by.

Librarie Espagnol

Best Bet: Panettone (Italian Christmas Bread) for $7.75, Ceramic Dishes, labeled in Spanish for different ingredients for $6.95, and Fentimans Ginger Beer (6 Pack) for $9.95

Librarie Espagnol promises gourmet foods on the shelves and tasty samples at the front counter. The exposed-wood trim and clean, bright atmosphere makes this store a pleasure to browse. The back of the store features authentic cookbooks perfect for your holiday feast, as well as handmade espadrilles from Spain. The friendly staff is ready to help you find whatever you need, or make gift suggestions for the friend who already has everything.

Kitsch’n Swell

Best Bet: Moustache shot glasses for $6.50 each, Vintage sun glasses for $19.95

Two intertwined, full-sized taxidermy deer grace the entrance of this boutique. After you get over the initial shock of that sight, you are transported to a world that is grisly yet girly, where pink is the norm and glitter is a given. The store has a vibe of “organized chaos” accented by hot pink and lace. Don’t be afraid to explore; each shelf seems to offer something different each time you inspect it. Kitsch’n Swell’s mostly mirrored surfaces give a high-class atmosphere, as the welcoming display cases invite you to inspect their one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. If you’re looking for vintage Playboy magazines or costume jewelry, this is the place to go.

La Librarie Gallimard de Montréal

Best Bet: “Le Ciel Clandestin” by Villeneuve Marité for $12.99 (poetry by a collection of Quebecois authors), “Quebec Une Capitale Vue du Ciel” for $19.95 (a coffee table book that features images of Quebec from the air)

This bookstore has a quaint, independent feel, complete with that printed-paper smell true bookworms love. With spacious shelving, La Librarie Gallimard is perfect for those who love to linger while they browse through the aisles. Their coffee table books are remarkable, featuring glossy, high-definition photographs of picturesque vacation spots and striking modern art. La Librarie Gallimard has a great collection of French poetry and literature, as well as a sizable English book section featuring hardcover classics. A new and interesting book never gets old, so a gift from La Librarie Gallimard is fitting for anybody who loves to snuggle with a good book on a cold winter night.

Montréal Images 3620 Boul. Saint-Laurent
Slovenia: Boucherie & Charcuterie 3653 Boul. Saint-Laurent
Centre Star 3653B Boul. Saint-Laurent (next to Boucherie Slovenia)
Freak Lunchbox 3680 Boul Saint-Laurent
SAQ 3730 Boul Saint Laurent (Intersection between Pins and Saint-Laurent)
Puces POP Église Saint-Denis at 5075 rue Rivard
Friperie Saint-Laurent 3976 Boul Saint-Laurent
Librarie Espagnol 3811 Boul. Saint-Laurent
Kitsch’n Swell 3968 Boul Saint-Laurent
La Librarie Gallimard de Montréal 3700 Boul Saint-Laurent

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