Retail Photo Tour: Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal During COVID-19
Retail Insider continues its Photo Tour series to provide a window into retail hotspots across the country that may be continuing to grow and expand while dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This edition takes us to Sainte-Catherine Street in Montreal, Quebec, beginning at Crescent Street and continuing east to Aylmer Street.
History of Sainte-Catherine Street
This 11.2-kilometre-long street in Montreal is considered the “backbone of Downtown Montreal” and its history stretches back to the 1700s. The street was never formally planned so the growth of the street ebbed and flowed as needs arose rather than with a specific intention. By the end of the 1800s, the opening of several department stores solidified Sainte-Catherine Street as a key retail destination in Montreal — some of those businesses relocated from Old Montreal where buildings lacked space. Department stores left their mark on Sainte-Catherine Street over the years, including Eaton’s, Henry Morgan & Company, Ogilvy’s, Dupuis Freres, and Simpsons. Independent retailers and mid-sized retailers have also graced the street over the years. Jewellery stores such as Maison Birks have become part of the retail fabric of Sainte-Catherine Street.
Major retail building landmarks hosted by Sainte-Catherine Street include the Montreal Eaton Centre (including the former 1.1 million square foot Eaton department store), Les Cours Mont-Royal, Hudson’s Bay, and others. This tour visits the retailers from a street view — Retail Insider will not be entering any of the landmark retail buildings.
Breaking Up Sainte-Catherine Street
The Photo Tour starts at the intersection of Crescent Street, near the Apple store, and proceeds eastward ten blocks to the Hudson’s Bay store facing onto Phillips Square (at Aylmer Street). For the purpose of this retail tour, we separated the street into six ‘tour zones’ which generally span two city blocks each.
The above six purple-encircled ‘tour zones’ along Sainte-Catherine Street include:
- Zone 1: Crescent Street to Drummond Street
- Zone 2: Drummond Street to Peel Street
- Zone 3: Along Peel Street
- Zone 4: Peel Street to Mansfield Street
- Zone 5: Mansfield Street to Boulevard Robert-Bourassa
- Zone 6: Boulevard Robert-Bourassa to Aylmer Street/Place Phillips
Due to the density of retail in the first two ‘tour zones’, we have further divided those zones into parts based on each city block individually.