Sainte-Catherine: A unique artery

Sainte-Catherine is more than just the major commercial thoroughfare all the tourist guides write about. It is also, and above all, the city’s enduringly popular dining, entertainment, cultural, festival and leisure destination, and public gathering place.

Sainte-Catherine has a magnetic pull that attracts locals as much as out-of-towners; any celebration or event is a good reason to dress the street up, but especially so in December, when light displays, festive decorations, and holiday music add a magical quality to the city centre. The heart and soul of downtown Montréal, this major artery hosts the city’s biggest cultural, social and sports-related events and activities. Lively, exciting, and busy day and night, there’s always a great atmosphere on Sainte-Catherine.

Historical perspective

The opening of the Morgan's store on Square Phillips in 1891, known today as Hudson’s Bay, spurred Sainte-Catherine’s transformation from a residential to a commercial street, which soon became Montréal’s main shopping and business hub. Underground utilities were progressively added over the years to keep pace with the downtown core’s rapid development.

International reputation

Sainte-Catherine Ouest has established a reputation as one of Canada’s busiest commercial thoroughfare, a bit like New York City’s 5th Avenue or Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. Located in the heart of the city, Sainte-Catherine Ouest cuts through the business district and caters to McGill and Concordia universities, as well as to an ever-growing number of downtown residents.

Key features

  • Prime tourist destination
  • One of Canada’s busiest commercial streets with 1,200 businesses over 3.2 kilometres
  • East-west artery linking Concordia University, Place Ville Marie, the Quartier des spectacles, and the Gay Village
  • Québec’s primary employment hub
  • Connected to the world’s largest underground pedestrian network (33 km)

Downtown Montréal by the numbers

  • A vibrant and bustling district with a daily influx of 175,000 workers and 85,000 students
  • Some 7.8 million visitors every year