Montrealers flock to terrasses on first day of loosened restrictions

·3 min read
As soon as patios opened on Friday morning, Montrealers showed up to have coffee and pastries sitting out in the sun. (Charles Contant/CBC - image credit)
As soon as patios opened on Friday morning, Montrealers showed up to have coffee and pastries sitting out in the sun. (Charles Contant/CBC - image credit)

When Michael Sanders woke up Friday morning, he saw on the news that the Burgundy Lion Pub had opened its patio for breakfast at 8 a.m.

He decided to seize the unexpected opportunity and head over for a bite and a brew.

"I came down for breakfast because it's time to get back to normal and enjoy," Sanders told CBC's Daybreak. "The beer was a bonus."

Like many restaurant enthusiasts, Sanders said the last eight months have been "a long haul" with indoor and outdoor dining prohibited in red zones.

Michael Sanders stopped in at Burgundy Lion Pub Friday morning for a breakfast on the patio.
Michael Sanders stopped in at Burgundy Lion Pub Friday morning for a breakfast on the patio.(Jennifer Yoon/CBC)

With all patios — or terrasses, as they are known in Quebec — allowed to open across the province on Friday, Sanders said he expects there will be huge demand.

"I think the terrasses are going to be very busy," he said. "I just wanted to get early out of the gate."

For Alain Starosta, partner at Le Petit Italien restaurant in Outremont, Friday marked a hopeful beginning. Terrasse dining is back and a section of Bernard Street is closing to traffic.

The street becomes pedestrian from Wiseman to Bloomfield avenues until Oct. 31 and that means more space for restaurants to set up their outdoor tables and chairs.

A section of Bernard Ave. is closed off to traffic until November.
A section of Bernard Ave. is closed off to traffic until November.(Charles Contant/CBC)

Starosta said he was excited to start welcoming customers again.

"I've been waiting about eight months for this," he said. "Even though we're kind of prepared, it's still a challenge, but we'll be fine."

Starosta said with the street closed, there will be space for not just eating, but activities and play areas for kids.

The opening day at the Terrasse St-Ambroise was busy and people were in high spirits.
The opening day at the Terrasse St-Ambroise was busy and people were in high spirits.(CBC)

At the Terrasse St-Ambroise in the Southwest borough, people were eager to enjoy a pint at the beer garden when it opened at noon.

"I love this terrasse," said patron Adam Van Sertima. "I have been the first person through the door every year for the past nine years."

Van Sertima told CBC that he's happy the neighbourhood spot has reopened.

"I'm fortunate to live two blocks from my favourite brew."

Alexis Fawcett, floor manager for the Terrasse St-Ambroise in the Southwest said that the reopening feels like a 'breath of fresh air.'
Alexis Fawcett, floor manager for the Terrasse St-Ambroise in the Southwest said that the reopening feels like a 'breath of fresh air.'(CBC)

Alexis Fawcett, floor manager for the pub, said that everyone is in a good mood now that the terrasses are open.

"It just feels like a big weight has been lifted. It's just a big breath of fresh air," he said.

Despite the weather — a brisk 15 degrees — patrons like Leanna Gelston weren't deterred.

"Even though it's quite chilly out, having these beers outside in the sun just feels so good. I mean, we even have blankets out here," she said. "Even if it is cold, there's nothing better than being outside on the first day."

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