While I’m still a relative newcomer to Montreal and all that it has to offer, I wanted to compile a list of health resources that I’ve used/tried, or that have been strongly recommended to me by my patients.
It’s by no means an exhaustive list of health resources in Montreal and I plan on updating it regularly. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear what you’ve found or has been recommended to you.
Health Care Options in Montreal
I’ve just recently moved to an office in Snowdon – 5465 Chemin Queen Mary #320, Montreal, QC H3X 1V5, (514) 419-5737. It’s conveniently located less than 5 minutes walk from Snowdon metro station. Lots of easy to find parking (free parking on Clanranald) too.
Dan Waldston, an experienced therapist and all around nice guy, practices with me in the same office. (514) 485-1919.
Also in the same office in Snowdon, Marine Augusin-Normand, blends reflexology and counseling to address a wide range of physical and emotional conditions.
Here’s a list of chiropractors in Montreal that I would happily recommend and would let adjust my family, if this office isn’t convenient for you:
Dr Eve Laferriere, in Dorval. A very skilled chiropractor, with a wide range of techniques.
Dr Camille Martin, in Hudson (not quite Montreal, but if you’re out that way, she’s an excellent chiropractor).
More and more I’ve been discovering that in Montreal (maybe it’s a province wide thing, not sure) people are anxious about manual chiropractic adjustments. This is why I’ve been using instrument adjusting like Activator and Network Spinal Analysis, a no force technique, much more here in Montreal. We just have to find out what works best for you and what you’re most comfortable with. While I tend to blend no-force/low-force gentle adjusting techniques like Activator and Network, Dr George Giannou practices in a pure Network office in Mile-End.
Jean Marc St Germain, an experienced and highly skilled acupuncturist, uses his broad knowledge base in Traditional Chinese Medicine to successfully treat a wide range of conditions. He’s helped me on numerous occasions and has a practice in Little-Italy, Montreal.
While I personally don’t know any physios yet in Montreal, I have been hearing great things about Josée Rémillard, the physiotherapist at Chiroplusphysio in Westmount.
If you’re after medical care or need a medical doctor, which I have heard in Montreal can be very difficult to find, my wife and I are very happy with Dr Elyssa Elman. Here practice is located at 1310 ave Greene, Westmount, H3Z 2B2, 514-780-2222.
Gyms in Montreal
Obviously there’s a ton of gyms in Montreal, here’s a list of the ones that I’ve personally tried and can recommend.
I was very impressed with the facilities at the YMCA. It has has 10 locations in Montreal and offers a lot more than just gym equipment. The downtown Y on Stanley is huge. It gives you everything you could want in a very modern gym. I also tried the Westmount Y. A much smaller gym than the downtown location and in a handy location across from the Westmount Library. I definitely enjoyed working out at the Y and met a lot people at the Westmount Y. If there’s one complaint however, it’s that they’re doing to0 well – at peak hours, both gyms would get pretty busy. But overall, it’s an excellent facility and even though it’s busy, it’s still very relaxed and friendly. Definitely a different attitude here than I remember at the Gold’s Gyms I used to use on the West Coast.
For the absolute Rolls Royce of gyms in Montreal, I think anyone who’s tried Vic Park in Victoria Village would agree that it’s probably the nicest gym you could ever join. Literally, you have to see it, to believe it. As beautiful as it is, I was still very impressed with the gym equipment. In fact, I was stunned when I saw a power rack amongst all sorts of cutting edge equipment. They even had the TRX suspension training straps – very cool. A word of warning though, I’ve heard that you should be caught sweating excessively while working out, you will probably be named and shamed in the Westmount Independent. After reading about what happened to the “Squirrel Feeder” last year, you definitely don’t want that. Plus, their “thermal circuit,” consisting of “traditional Finnish sauna,” eucalyptus infused steam bath and (for the brave) a cold room with glacial shower, was so nice, I wanted to stay forever. A patient also told me that she found that the yoga and pilates classes were excellent at Vic Park. I hear the instructors are very good too. Bear in mind however, all this luxury caries a pretty hefty price tag, in other words, your monthly membership could fund a political coo in Kiribati. After trying Vic Park, you could very well not want to return to a “normal” gym again – as a good friend of ours said recently, “Vic Park has ruined me for all other gyms.”
If conventional gyms aren’t for you and you’d like someone to push you while doing some intense group training, consider trying Crossfit Montreal. Located in St-Henri, Crossfit is rapidly gaining in popularity. Crossfit workouts are typically short and intense. Provided you can stay injury free, Crossfit could be what you’re after. And if you do get injured I hear this chiropractor is pretty good (warning: shameless self promotion). You’re trained in a group and the focus is on getting stronger on “functionally useful” exercises such as front and back squats, deadlifts, ring push-ups, etc. Functionally useful exercises are ones that will benefit your day to day activities – picking up babies, climbing stairs, running after a bus. Contrast that with what are considered functionally useless exercises like lateral raises, concentration curls and the elliptical cross-trainer. You definitely won’t see any of those exercises in a Crossfit WOD (workout of the day). A word of warning: start out easy, learn proper lifting technique and don’t go all out, all the time, or you will get injured. You can’t push your body to it’s limits all the time or it’s going to break down. Montreal Crossfit workouts are a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the camaraderie and the social aspect of these insanely tough workouts. Even if Crossfit isn’t for you, you might want to consider their Paleo Diet, for weight loss and general well-being.
I’m very happy with my current gym, Nautilus Plus. I’ve tried most of their 15 Montreal locations, but my favourite is definitely the Place Montreal Trust location. It’s modern, bright and open and even in peak hours I can still get in a great workout without much hassle. It seems like most of the downtown Montreal office workers are unfortunately (for their overall health) happy to just to do hours of mind-numbingly boring cardio without doing much strength training. I’ll go into detail in a future post why strength training offers a lot more bang-for-your-buck. All in all, it’s a great gym, staff are excellent and members seem to be a pretty friendly bunch. Very reasonably priced too.
While I haven’t been to the Club Sportif MAA in downtown Montreal on Peel, a number of my patients go there and love it.
Also, I’ve also been hearing very good things about about Entrainement Epicentre in St-Henri. It’s concept is similar to Crossfit Montreal, but a patient of mine, who’s a pretty experienced lifter, said he prefers this gym. Apparently, there’s more of an emphasis on building strength and in my opinion, that can only be a good thing. If you’re going to the gym and your not progressively getting stronger – what are you doing there?
I highly recommend Mathieu Bourre, a personal trainer at the Club Sportif MAA. Not only a very likeable and approachable guy, Matt is extremely knowledgeable and always seems to be at the cutting edge of the latest research. For a young guy, he knows his stuff and most importantly – he gets results with his clients. He’s also one of the few people in Montreal offering BioSignature – a sophisticated system of analysis used to speed fat loss from stubborn areas and improve general well-being. Most impressive about Matt, he’s someone who genuinely walks his talk.
Unfortunately, yoga has been getting a lot of bad press lately. As long as you practice with common sense and with a good instructor, yoga is probably one of the best things you could ever do for yourself. Here’s a list of Montreal studios I’ve been hearing very good things about from patients:
My patients love the Happy Tree Yoga studio located at the corner of St-Catherine and Atwater. It’s a great studio with a very relaxed, welcoming feel. Melanie Richards, the founder and director, is an excellent teacher and from what I hear, has built a team of very skilled, likeable instructors. View Happy tree’s schedule here.
Not sure if you have to be a member of the Vic Park, or if you can pay for individual classes, but I consistently hear good things about their yoga studio and instructors. You can see from their schedule that they have a very extensive offering.
If you’re up for a challenge, Bikram will definitely provide that for you. You work through 26 challenging poses in a room heated to 42 degrees and yes, as you can imagine, in those 90 minutes you will sweat more than is humanly possible. They have three studios on the island of Montreal.
If you’re keen to try hot yoga, but a little intimidated with Bikram’s approach, consider trying Moksha Yoga Studio in NDG. There’s also a Moksha studio in the Plateau. They offer a wide range of classes (hatha, yin, flow, etc) and even my patients who are quite new to yoga (and hot yoga) like their approach.
Lastly, if you want really want to improve your fitness and strength, you might want to consider Ashtanga yoga. It’s not done in a heated room, but still it’s a very physically challenging style of yoga. My more athletic, Type-A patients tend to enjoy Ashtanga most and have been recommending Sattva Yoga Shala at the corner of St-Mathieu and de Maisonneuve in downtown Montreal. Not sure if this is true, but I’ve heard you burn the same number of calories doing Ashtanga’s primary series (1 hour and a half to 1 hour and 45 minutes) as you do in running a half marathon. It’s the style of yoga I’ve enjoyed most over the years.
Health Food Stores
L’Autre Choix Mini Marche in the Victoria village in Westmount is a great little shop for organic produce and healthy food options. The friendly owner, Clara, is very down to earth and has a wealth of knowledge about all things health related.
Further afield, in the uber-hip Mile-End neighbourhood, Bio Terre is an awesome organic produce/supplement store right on St Viateur. It’s a great shop with tons of selection for both organic produce and supplements.
Also, be sure to check out Marché Bleuet in Little Burgundy. It’s on that great little stretch along Notre-Dame, just east of Atwater. Owner and staff are very friendly and very approachable. They have a great selection and excellent prices – I’m guessing the best in town…
Lastly, À Votre Santé in Westmount, just on Sherbrooke, has a very nice selection of organic produce and huge selection of supplements too.
Organic Food Delivery
I can’t say enough good things about the Jardin des Anges organic produce and food delivery service. It’s amazing and has made our lives sooooo much easier! When we first moved to Montreal, we freaked out about the cost and incredibly poor selection of organic produce in grocery stores. Thankfully, one of my patients suggested trying Jardin des Anges and we haven’t looked back. We get the big basket every week. It’s a huge assortment of beautiful organic fruits and vegetables for only $58. They have a ton of other options (smaller baskets, just fruit, just vegetables, etc) and you can customize your order too. Now you can even add things like humus, eco-friendly cleaners and organic chocolate to your order. This service saves us so much time each week – definitely check it out. Our next door neighbour, with two young kids and not a lot of time on his hands, just started with Jardin des Anges and is ecstatic about how much easier this makes his family’s life.
If you haven’t been yet, spend a day at Jean-Talon Market in Little Italy. It’s easily the best market in Montreal and probably my favourite market in the world. Atwater Market, is great too – it’s a bit more expensive and doesn’t quite have the selection of Jean-Talon Market, but it’s an excellent market nonetheless.
Crudessence, a raw-vegan restaurant in The Plateau and now downtown, is pretty amazing. It’s not cheap, but the food is raw, organic and beautiful. I’d never even heard of raw-foods until I worked for a raw-foodist in Belfast back in 1999. Dr George Cromack, a chiropractor from Hawaii and probably the most eccentric health “fanatic” I’d ever met, introduced me to raw foods. While I’ll never be a true raw-foodist, a “high-raw” diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. When Dr George was in his late 40s, my patients in Belfast were guessing he was in his 20s. There’s go to be something to it, he was obviously doing something right and in the immortal words of Dr George – “Raw is law.”
Aux Vivres is the original vegan institution in Montreal. Fantastic food and they have a take out counter too.
The Green Panther is another excellent vegan restaurant, with two locations, downtown and in The Plateau. You can’t have a bad meal here. They even have cheap organic beer and their falafels are the best I’ve ever had.
For a healthy vegetarian/vegan buffet with locations around Montreal and Laval, Le Commensal is a great option. My daughter loves this place. You pay by weight.
And here’s something I just found out about today. If you don’t want to cook and don’t want to go out, A La Carte Express, delivers for a lot of the restaurants in Montreal. The restaurant’s menus are on their site. Sure, it’s going to be more expensive than preservative filled, chemical-laden fast food, but it’s a great (and easy) option – a hopefully healthier option too.
If you want more information, Frederic Patenaude, a raw-food vegan, originally from Montreal, presents a very balanced perspective on how to transition to a healthier, raw-food vegan diet. He now lives where most Canadian raw foodists seem to live, Vancouver. He’s been a raw-foodist since 1997 and definitely knows the ins and outs of this suddenly very popular “diet.” I imagine that since Hollywood has recently embraced the raw food diet, we’ll be hearing a lot more about it. Here’s an excellent blog post, Frederic made on a visit to Montreal in 2010: Eating Raw, Vegetarian and Vegan in Montreal.
Please feel free to comment should you have any questions or suggestions.