Montreal Goth alternative travel: Canadian art & magic! Grover artist studio, musical swings & pink balls.

Montreal fashion, gladnews, nu goth metal clothing

Can you believe — I haven’t traveled anywhere in Canada (except Vancouver) for almost ten years? Bad, bad. There’s so much to coolhunt in my home country, especially in dark and artsy Montreal.

I made up for this void with a press trip to cover Kinetik Festival and the Goth-alt-art scene in Montreal. For those who need a refresher in Canadian geography, this bilingual city is on the East side of Canada, in the French province of Quebec. I’ve only been here once, for a few days as a pre-teen, and don’t remember much of it.

nu goth fashion, modern gothic, clothing

Montreal and Canada Tourism make it possible for me to re-discover the city, and share my journey with you. They flew in performance artist Lauren, now located in NYC, to help with photos and videos. We stayed at the Hôtel de l’Institut downtown.

kyary pamyu pamyu hair, alien hairstyle

In recent years, Montreal has gained hip comparisons to Berlin and New York. The food’s great (as Anthony Bourdain professes), and there are many alternative events such as Pride or Fierté, coming up in mid-August.

studded biker boots, heavy metal dress, goth eyepatch

For our first day’s outing, I wore the bedazzled light-up eyepatch Cat Morley made for me, in her Crafter to the Stars series. She perfectly captured my Pirate-cute aesthetic!

Very Metal dress: GladNews, from Shibuya 109 (see photos of this Tokyo gyaru department store)
Studded black motorcycle boots: Yosuke, from Shibuya 109
Black sheer ruffle jacket: Ozz Croce, from Closet Child Tokyo

Montreal gothic church, hipsters, shops

The tourism board set us up with a guide, who browsed my blog and gave us “a walk on the dark side.” In addition to Montreal’s main attractions (the Market, the winding metal staircases), we drove down graffiti-covered streets and saw Goth churches converted to apartment buildings, complete with belltowers.

kill bill mural, avantgarde experimental theater

We passed Theatre du Creation, an experimental theater that has yet to open its doors.

magic store, charme et sortilege

“Whoops!” said our guide. He remembered a white magic shop that he once walked past, and thought it would be the perfect place to take us.

Montreal magick shop, goth shops

He was right. We were charmed by Charme & Sortilege, seller of all things “sorcellerie, wicca, ésotérisme.”

Montreal gothic fashion, jewelry, tarot

Lauren and I browsed the silver jewelry, candles, books and skulls. A wall held a rack of hooded robes.

witchcraft store, new age shops

Don’t I look like a character from The Craft?

white cat, witch magic store

You know you’re in a “magie blanche” boutique when there’s a white cat prowling around. Note the brooms in the back!

Immeubles Grover, montreal atelier

Next, our guide drove us to an art collective: Ateliers Grover on rue Parthenais. (The winding metal staircase in the background is a typical feature of Montreal houses, and a slip-hazard for mail carriers in the winter.)

cat murals, wall paintings

Follow the cats, painted on the walls, and you’ll arrive at the artists’ studios.

Montreal coffee shop, Ateliers au Grover, red ombre hair

A quick stop in the coffeeshop. Do you like my new hair? My stylist, Stephanie Hoy at Avant Garde Studio Vancouver, gave me a dark purple to red ombre color. The “alien antenna” hairstyle is inspired by Jpop star, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

rib cage art, hipster mirrors

The locals are generally bilingual, so you won’t have any trouble ordering in either English or French. (As some of you know, I’m fluent in French — a fact officially certified by the tourism board!)

Montreal artist studio, gallery

We visited several artists working in their Grover studios. Two big, woofing dogs welcomed us into this ceramic-worker’s space.

edward scissorhands doll, gothic figurines

An epic arrangement featuring Edward Scissorhands and teeth. We filmed a travel video about our adventures, so stay tuned for the footage.

velvet moustache, kawaii stuffed pillows

When we walked into the Velvet Moustache workspace, we knew we were in the right place.

alien toys, monkey plush animal

These handmade, stuffed animal pillows are as cute as anything you’ll find in Japan. You can find their toys, charms and sleep masks online, and they’ll be selling crafts in Vancouver this November.

montreal pink balls, claude cormier, boules Roses

Montreal is wonderfully supportive of public art projects. Without telling us what to expect, our guide took us to Sainte-Catherine Street East, aka the Gay Village. What a delight to see 170,000 pink balls (Boules Roses by Claude Cormier) strung in rows above the road.

Montreal swings, 21 Balançoires

We also swung by “Les 21 Balançoires,” a large-scale art installation featuring seven sets of swings outside the Quartier des Spectacles.

21 swings public art, musical swing set, Quartier des Spectacles in

As you sway back and forth, sounds play to match the movement. The notes change, depending on your height, speed and position. (Here’s a Vine video of my friend in action.)

Montreal clothing stores, fashion bloggers, shopping

On the way back, we stopped by Morisset, an indie-rocky clothing store. My purse is by Hyoma from Izzue Hong Kong, and I want this mirror because it makes me look six feet tall.

More Montreal on the way, including vintage stores, bagel tastings and the Goth-Industrial festival Kinetik. I created a new Alternative Canada category; I’m determined to write more about my home and native land!

pastel goth nail art, kuromi nails

I leave you with my pastel Goth Kuromi nail art by Glam Nail Studio. You can see more cuteness on my Instagram and Tumblr.

Have you ever visited Montreal? What do you think of my Kyary alien hairstyle, and did you miss my red color?



  1. Ayu
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Enjoy the time together and I wish you both a wonderful time together. :) ♥

  2. Grace
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    that’s beautiful. *-*

  3. Samantha S
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Very cute

  4. Vivienne
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    LOVING your new hair & the clothing you and Lauren wore :) Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

  5. shera
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    love it love it

  6. Kitschy
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    pirate goth? amazing.

  7. Panda
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Surprised you never went in Creatures. Best New Montreal Goth store.

  8. Eric
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink


  9. CC
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    First of all, love your hair, you make me want to go purple again!

    Canada’s always seemed like a really interesting place to me, I didn’t know that they had such a funky subculture going on. That wicca shop looks like somewhere I could get lost in.

    • lacarmina
      Posted June 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Canada’s the best. Super liberal, great alt and art scenes… hope you can come to Vancouver and Montreal!

  10. Shiianne
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    I can’t stop reading, lol. Thank you!

  11. K
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    so, you just happened to miss all the alternative boutiques on the same street as the kinetik venue? and spend more time talking about Vancouver & Japan artists/designers then Montreal? I’m sorry but I thought this was going to be about Montreal goth or Montreal in general, alright.

    • lacarmina
      Posted June 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Hi dear! This is only the first of four posts and a video about Montreal – on day 1, we didn’t check out the stores. In the next posts, there is a red light district tour, nightlife haunts, and shopping in places like Kitsch Swell, Rokokonut, Creatures… :)

  12. Helga
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Cant believe you were here in my town

  13. Wons
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Love the red hair and Totoro!

  14. Sophie
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I like your new hair. *-* ♡

  15. Lola
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Looks like you had fun. Jealous.

  16. Paula
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 2:57 am | Permalink

    Hey lacarmina I m going to montreal next month

  17. Amber
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Gorgeous, as always <3

  18. Reverence
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    very like …. let me have your bag….. hahahhaha

  19. ty
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    These trips look like fun! Could you use a web developer on the travel team? Haha

  20. Sofie
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    The video was funny & great. :D The background music was really good.:) I like it & the photos, too. :3 Monster’s.*-* xD Nice.♥

  21. Lia
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    ah the glad news dress!! i love that one there is a new one with vamp

  22. fred
    Posted June 28, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I like Lauren ;-)

  23. Minecraft
    Posted July 12, 2013 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    I think it would be great experience.

  24. MusicLV
    Posted July 20, 2013 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Like your hair style..

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