Montreal

Mile End bakery offers free terrasse to the public

Boulangerie Guillaume didn't want a potential terrasse to go to waste so, it decided to turn it into a seating area open to the entire neighbourhood.

Boulangerie Guillaume offers free seating area, space to Montreal residents

Public benches and flowers were installed as part of a pilot project. (CBC)

The owners of a bakery in Montreal's Mile End neighbourhood are giving back to the community in a way that welcomes everyone to stop by their shop, even if passersby aren't buying any baked goods.

Business at Boulangerie Guillaume has been booming ever since it expanded on St-Laurent Boulevard a few months ago and moved into a new location.

The new building came with enough room for a patio, commonly known as a terrasse in Quebec, but the bakery owner said he couldn't use it.

"I have a grocery permit and I can't have more than 12 places to sit," Guilliaume Vaillant said.

The popular bakery moved into a new space this spring. (CBC)

Vaillant didn't want a potential terrasse to go to waste so he decided to turn it into a seating area open to the entire neighbourhood. It attracts employees from the neighbouring boutiques and businesses during lunch hour.

"It's become an agora, everyone talks so it's really interesting," Vaillant said.

Extra help

The Plateau-Mont-Royal borough along with the help of the Mile End Merchants Association helped turn Vaillant's efforts into a pilot project by supplying flowers, decorations and benches.

The borough also kicked in $1,000 to help spruce up the place, something the association said the Mile End neighbourhood needs during peak tourism season.

"Right now, it's one of the most hottest places," Jimmy Zoubris, who works with the association, said.

Guillaume Vaillant says the space has become an agora. (CBC)

"There's visitors from all over the place and there's visitors who walk around and grab a coffee, grab a bagel, and just want a place to sit."

Boulangerie Guillaume's public terrasse will remain open until the end of October and Vaillant hopes Montrealers from all neighbourhoods will benefit from it.

"For me, it's a philanthropic way to thank the neighbourhood," Vaillant said.

There is also a hope that it could be the start of more restoration projects in the Plateau.

"There is a couple of lots that are not being used right now and we're hoping with the city we can also do some beautifying projects on them," Zoubris said.

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With files from Antoni Nerestant