When you first arrive in Montréal, you may have some questions about what the best stores are to do your different types of shopping. You might have heard people mention SAQ, but don’t know what they mean, or you may be wondering where to buy stationery.
There are some shopping quirks specific to the province of Québec, so in order to help with your transition to the world of shopping in Montréal, here is a list of items you will probably need during your stay, and where to find them!
1. Groceries and household essentials
Supermarkets: For doing your general household shop, including groceries, hygiene, cleaning and other household products, the supermarket should be your first port of call. There are a number of chain supermarkets across Montréal, including: PA, L’intermarché, Super C, and Adonis at the more affordable end of the scale; Metro and IGA somewhere in the middle; and Provigo, which offers higher-end brands. These stores will typically sell a variety of fresh produce (meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, dairy), frozen and dry goods, beverages and limited alcohol, household and cleaning products (including kitchen tools and utensils, for example), and baby, health and beauty products. There are some independent supermarkets that are worth a visit, including Segal’s Market, a local Montréal shopping experience.
Markets: It is also possible to do your grocery shopping in the numerous public farmer’s markets throughout Montéal, although the items here will be more limited than the supermarkets. Here you will find product-specific stalls selling an array of quality fresh produce, sometimes alongside cafes, restaurants and florists. Some examples include: Jean-Talon Market; Atwater Market; Lachine Market; and Maisonneuve Market.
Convenience stores, or “dépanneurs“: For those times when you need only a couple of items at the last minute and don’t want to venture far, you’ll easily find a convenience store, also know as a dépanneur, near to your home. Offering basic grocery store products, they usually stay open late into the evening.
2. Beauty, health and stationery products
Pharmacies: Surprisingly, pharmacies in Québec offer a range of products that extends past the traditional health and beauty products one might expect to find there. Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix are two examples, specializing in health, pharmaceutical/medicinal products, and beauty, as well as stationery, some household products, photographic processing and even some snacks.
3. Do-it-yourself (DIY) and hardware
Hardware stores, or “quincaillerie”: For all your DIY needs, whether it be tools, materials and even some homeware items, there are a number of hardware stores throughout the city. Some popular chain stores to visit for these products are Rona and Réno-Dépôt, and there are also lots of independent quincailleries.
Electronic stores: Whether you’re after a new computer, camera, television, phone, sound-system or GPS, there are a few one-stop electronics stores such as La Source and Best Buy that cater for almost every electronic need you might have!
Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) stores: You can’t buy high percent alcohol in supermarkets in Montréal, as they are limited by the SAQ’s provincial regulations on the sale of alcoholic beverages. You can buy some beers and wines in supermarkets, but the best place to shop for alcohol is at an SAQ store, where they sell a wide variety of wines, beers, and spirits. Most of the SAQ’s stores close at 6pm, although some do stay open until 10 pm.