True Vegan Fashion
Husbands and co-founders Marcus Aliaga and Franco Iacovella started their boutique AllTRUEist with one goal in mind: to combine their shared passion for sustainability and high fashion. After decades of working for luxury houses such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Ilori, Aliaga grew tired of the lack of environmentally conscious options revered by fashionistas and herbivores alike (not to mention those who are both). “You have to dress a certain way in the industry. It was really hard to find sustainably produced items locally,” Aliaga says. “I wanted to find high-end brands that are really good quality, and it was hard.”
The couple spent five years curating a list of brands for their store. That hard work yielded a store that caters to a range of tastes but offers items that all share two qualities — high design and high quality. Alongside necklaces made from bombs dropped in Laos during the Vietnam War, you’ll find lacy lingerie, Italian-imported “leather” footwear, and glamorous faux-fur coats designed by stylists for luxury houses Fendi and Prada. The couple also places a high priority on knowing exactly where and how the designers source their materials. “Working in the fashion world for years, you don’t get to see all the things that happen,” Aliago says. “But the more I read, the more I saw the truth behind what really goes on behind the scenes.”
But despite their passion for cruelty-free clothing, the founders of AllTRUEist don’t lead with their activism when positioning their store or the clothing they sell. “I always want to be inclusive and not sound like an activist website because we want to be able to educate and bring people in for whom veganism is not on their radar,” Aliago says. “They just choose it because it’s beautiful and well-made, and it happens to be vegan. It happens to be sustainable.”
Check out AllTRUEist’s website for their pop-up shop locations around Montreal. Items start at $150.
The Spiritual Escape
Montrealers find it hard to resist stopping to take in the Notre Dame Basilica’s soaring spirals and midnight-blue vaults. Commissioned by the Sulpicians, a society of diocesan priests, Irish-American architect James O’Donnell designed the cathedral that was dedicated officially in 1829. It now serves as one of the oldest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Canada. During their busiest months, Notre Dame can garner more than 2,500 visitors per day, most of whom arrive before noon to tour the historic site. So plan on arriving after 2 p.m. to ensure missing the crowds. The Basilica will be less overwhelming and allow uninterrupted time for guests to observe the intricate wooden carvings and stained-glass windows depicting religious moments of Montreal’s past, including the arrival of the Sulpicians in the 1600s. The main altarpiece of the Basilica depicts the Crucifixion of Christ with the Virgin and Saint John standing on each side and Mary Magdalene kneeling toward the cross.
110 Notre-Dame St. W, Montreal, QC H2Y 1T2, Canada. Tickets can be purchased at the front of the church for $4.50.
Paintings with H(e)art
From the MURAL Festival celebrating public art to Auguste Rodin’s Sirens found at the Montreal Fine Arts Museum, Montreal serves as an innovation hub for artists and creatives. That creativity extends beyond the the museums and festivals: Street art abounds on the Boulevard Saint-Laurent, and galleries dot the city — particularly Rue Saint-Paul, which serves as home to many, including vegan artist and community leader Peter Hart. The former Olympic-level athlete and jeweler uses painting as a way to express not only his feelings but to assist those within the community. The single-artist gallery holds fundraisers and events that help support and raise funds for the homeless community of Montreal through auctions for his work. Joëlle Gauthier, administrative director at PeterwHart Gallery, explains that Hart enjoys using materials like beads and crystals to create dimension and a bit of sparkle, but that viewers may also find few less conventional elements. “He is not afraid to experiment with materials that you would not associate with professionals like spaghetti, lentils, vermicelli,” Gauthier says. “It is a fun clash between jewelry and spaghetti.” Hart also possesses a soft spot for sunflowers, which appear in a number of his pieces. Gauthier says the flowers represent people close to Hart and allow him the opportunity to include his loved ones in almost every piece he creates.
367 Rue Saint-Paul East, Montreal, QC H2Y 1H4, Canada. Open every day, PeterwHart’s gallery is free to the public.
Space for Life
4101 Rue Sherbrooke E, Montreal, QC H1X 2B2, Canada. Explore the multitude of gardens for just $15.50. Tickets can be purchased at the box office in front of the Space for Life.
Where Heritage Meets Innovation
Boasting their own green rooftop terrace and garden offering stunning views of both the new and old parts of the city, The PHI Center is named after the golden ratio and serves as a nod to founder Phoebe Greenberg’s search for perfection. It’s also a museum that celebrates art in a multitude of forms. Their summer exhibit, Particles of Existence, allows patrons to experience some of the world’s most innovative virtual-reality art exhibits, including one allowing visitors to hug a sequoia tree. The center also features a free exhibit, Roxham, by Montreal-based photographer Michel Huneault documenting U.S.- and Canadian-border interceptions of asylum seekers. The LEED Gold Certified building meets the high standards on green practices such as low-water usage and building materials, and prides itself on an intimate, sound-proofed, 180-capacity music venue, playing host to various local and international artists, including Detroit Swindle and Ross from Friends.
407 Rue Saint-Pierre, Montreal, QC H2Y 2M3, Canada. Tickets to Particles of Existence ($19; $15 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) are sold for three-hour blocks to allow enough time to immerse yourself in the different VR exhibits.
A Late Summer Night’s Dream
Thank Amanda Kellock, artistic director of Repercussion Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park and the first female in charge of the production, for injecting some gender diversity into the bard’s signature plays. Only the fourth artistic director in the production’s 30-year history, Kellock continues the long tradition of celebrating diversity and representation to mark the anniversary. This version of Romeo and Juliet, entitled Love is Love, will play 30 times throughout the summer, featuring two female leads as well as a host of characters in drag to modernize the 421-year-old play. “It’s about this kind of society of rigid ideas of who you’re allowed to love,” Kellock says. “So Romeo and Juliet happen to find themselves loving each other against what society would like them — the way they’re supposed to be behaving.” Kellock has done this before. Two summers ago she put on an all-female production of Julius Caesar. “I just took gender out of the equation so people could audition for whatever character they identified with, regardless of gender,” says Kellock. The inclusivity goes beyond the stage too, as there’s no admission fee but donations are encouraged.
For show times of the performances across Montreal and the province of Ontario, visit the Shakespeare in the Park website.
Banner photo by Peter Benson.