Chinatown in Montréal

Story by Milli Thornton. Photos Copyright © Brian Williams.

CHINATOWN IN MONTRÉAL is a bustling slice of street life.

From the happenin’ waterfront, terrace restaurants and cobblestone streets of old Montréal we progressed to Chinatown on foot. The narrow street that turns the corner at Chinatown’s Imperial-looking gates was clogged with jazz festival traffic, as well as a youth band and their supporters.

Falun DaFa Youth Band

Falun DaFa Youth Band

We followed the band into the square. Dressed in white slacks and blue shirts, the slogan on the backs of their shirts read Falun DaFa: Truthfulness, Benevolence, Forbearance.

Later I learned that Falun DaFa is five sets of gentle, easy-to-learn movements and meditation. (See end of article for more details.)

An impromptu audience for the youth band sat on the steps of a pagoda-style calligraphy store or joined the old people sitting at stone tables. It was easy to imagine the old men sitting at those tables on a quiet sunny day, perhaps playing checkers or swapping stories of the Old World.

Chinese kites hung from the porch of the calligraphy shop

Chinese kites hung from the porch of the calligraphy shop

The band was rousing, but I was keen to explore the shops.

The use of calligraphy as a feng shui tool is a fascination of mine, and I was hard pressed not to spend our tightly-budgeted cash on one of these genuine articles. I can always shop for calligraphy online—where the selection is vast—but to buy calligraphy prepared by a master from a shop in Chinatown would definitely add more spirit to the possession.

Across the street I found a shop full of feng shui treasures that again severely tested my discipline. I found better prices for genuine red money toads and other lucky wealth objects than I had seen online.

Lucky bamboo and money cats in the window of my favorite shop

Lucky bamboo and money cats in the window of my favorite shop

Many of these objects, though small, were quite heavy. Since I’m still attempting to master the art of packing light, I didn’t relish the idea of lugging home more poundage.

I was tempted to sit down with the old man advertising palm readings on a tattered handwritten sign. He looked bored and lonely and badly in need of a client. But there was so much still to see and do—not the right moment for a stationary activity.

We had to stay on schedule so as not to miss our festival shows that evening, and that meant we didn’t get to try any of the restaurants in Chinatown. Yet another reason to visit Montréal again.

A truck delivering Chinese beverages to local merchants

A truck delivering Chinese beverages to local merchants


“No trip to Chinatown is complete without sampling some of the local cuisine, the best that Chinatown has to offer will find you at Restaurant Hong Kong, Le Jardin du Nord and Ming Yeng, serving up Chinese specialties for visitors and locals alike. Choose from a variety of dishes such as Won Ton soups, dumplings, Peking Duck, Crispy Chicken, General Tao, Sea Bass and Lobster dishes.”

Alright, already. Stop torturing me! Now I know what I missed!

Ring, ring.

— “Ming Yeng Restaurant. How can I help you?”

— “Can you deliver to Youngstown, Ohio?”


Falun Dafa: Over time, the principles of Dafa unveil the deepest and most profound truths of the universe. Following the principles, practitioners of Falun Dafa are able to reach very high realms, enlightening to the true meanings of life, and finding the path of return to their origins and true selves.

While the exercises have deep inner meanings, they also help to reduce stress and can bring great improvements in health and fitness.

Milli at Devi, Montreal

Milli at Devi, Montreal


Milli Thornton (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course and Unleash Your Writing!, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and the Fear of Writing Blog and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse.

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  1. The Falun Dafa appears to take less than 3 minutes, I wonder if I could sit still that long?

    I agree that Chinatown would be worth another visit. It sounds very interesting. It’s almost a shame the “Montreal Jazz Festival” got in the way.

    Not getting to play in Chinatown is definitely a good reason to plan another trip. Places that offer a lot of things to do are nice for creating ‘subsequent’ visits.

  2. This is so cool! Lesson: go with more money and lotsa leeway to be spontaneous. Ohhhh, the opportunities missed! You have to go back for a longer visit, of course. And I want to see more pictures — who knows I might even venture that far, myself someday. You make it sound so deliciously exotic!

    Loved the photos too.

  3. Roz Wilson says:

    Love the hat! I wonder if you brought it or wore it home! I can relate to the shopping dilemma and the desire to pack light. My weakness is having too many tangible items to take home to remember my travels!
    My bag would be really heavy!

  4. Hi,

    Nice to see you enjoyed your visit to Montreal’s Chinatown, however, being from the city and of Chinese origin I would just like to point out that Falun Dafa or Falun Gong is considered by most Chinese people as a sect or cult that promotes unorthodox beliefs and practices. Most of the Chinese community in Montreal actually tries to avoid any direct contact with them…

    And the best restaurants in Chinatown for good authentic Chinese/Cantonese food would be Kam Fung, Beijing Restaurant, Red Ruby.

    Hope you visit Montreal again soon!

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