MONTREAL — This city’s edgier Laurier Avenue East is like the fun-loving niece to Laurier West’s more elegant, and better-known, matriarch. These shops along three blocks reveal the French-flavored Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood’s more adventurous and artisanal side.
Buk & N ola College pals Laurence Marinacci and Caroline Jodoin combined their expertise in fashion and marketing to create an intimate home decor and gift shop that is parts buoyant bohemian and spare Scandinavian. Several items are locally made, including Anita Designs linens ($18-$48) and fabric-covered lampshades created for the shop ($140). Pillows ($34-$138), big on colors and bold graphics, line a shelf along a brick wall, including ones from Montreal’s Les Triplettes and London’s Roddy & Ginger. 1593 Laurier Ave. East, 514-357-2680, www.buknola.com
Gaia Ceramics Catherine Auriol’s sizable space is a combined studio, classroom, and gallery for her and her fellow Canadians’ clay creations. If you are shopping for the perfect souvenir, check out resident potter Marianne Chenard’s maple syrup jugs adorned with Quebec-themed images with a twist ($28-$38), a line she calls “Un-made in Canada.” 1590 Laurier Ave. East, 514-598-5444, www.gaiaceramique.com
David Rogers Leather Native Coloradan and former itinerant leather artisan David Rogers has planted himself in a small corner shop on Laurier East, where he makes leather goods, including shoes and sandals ($200-$400), belts, wallets ($40-$100), and handbags and briefcases ($200-$500). Rogers displays a small collection of items for sale, but also can whip up custom orders in a day or two. 1397 Laurier Ave. East, www.davidrogersleather.com
Mariane Alexandre This shop, tucked inside David Rogers Leather, is a misnomer. Jeweler Mariane Seguin now works on her own, without former business partner Alexandre. That she’s been too busy to change the name is a testament to the appeal of her clean and bright silver creations. In the Volt collection ($28-$92), Seguin uses color to play with asymmetry and reversibility, while pearls are the only adornment in her dressier Sphere line ($72-$152). Men get counter space, too, with an assortment of rings ($30), cufflinks ($112), and even earrings ($20-$30). 1397 Laurier Ave. East, 514-272-8543, www.marianealexandre.com
Fromager Maitre Affineur Maitre Corbea u When it’s break time, head to this cheese shop, which carries close to 300 types of fromage, half from Quebec. For accompaniment, you’ll find fresh bread and a wide selection of beer and cider, all brewed in the province. The perfect picnic spot awaits only a block away, at lively Laurier Park. 5101 Rue Chambord (corner of Laurier), 514-528-3293