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Postcard of Dominion Square in Montreal, Quebe...

Dominion Square

The Dominion Square Tavern is a wonderful Montreal restaurant that is steeped in history. The Dominion’s recent incarnation as a restaurant has only been open for just over a year, however the place has been around since the late 1920’s.

Situated in the heart of the Golden Square Mile (once Canada’s richest neighbourhood), the Tavern was originally adjoined to the Dominion Hotel. The hotel burned down in the 1930’s, but thankfully the Tavern survived the blaze. The Dominion had been Montreal’s first Gay Bar during the 1970’s. Only in 1988 were women allowed past its doors due to a new law.

Thankfully, throughout the years the owners and managers of the space have maintained the charming décor in true Roaring Twenties style. Much of the décor seems to be either original or actual period work. The terrazzo floors are bordered by porcelain-tile wainscoting, and some of the ornate brass lamps hanging from the ceiling still have pull-chains hanging from their bases. The walls testify to the  ‘Dominion’; the coat-of-arms for each province hang there. Somehow the soft leather winged chairs are curved to perfectly coddle your kidneys. This comes in useful after sampling the cocktails. There is so much more to sit back and take in. The Dominion is perfect for pondering.

Tuesday's lunch plate: seared trout

Besides the decor, history, the charming clientele and the pleasantness of the wait staff, there is the food. A winning idea in the Dominion is the daily lunch special: The Dish of The Day. One main dish, with a side salad or soup is $20. A glass of wine or pint of beer is an additional $6. The lunch special of seared trout is light and satisfying.  Perfect for a Tuesday! On Thursday, the Duck Confit is simply amazing. In this one leg of duck, there are about five distinct attributes. It is rich, succulent and meaty. There is an indescribable divine tenderness in the meat, fat and skin that is just all-out flavour. A few little thinly crisped potato pieces add a crunchy treat, and the hollandaise sauce that surrounds the duck could not be any more appropriate.

pulled pork sandwich; delicately flavoured yet hearty. Very hot fries.

Starter salad and side salads are fresh, made from watercress, with bits of herbs such as dill and fennel added. The dressing is light and tasty, smoothing the path for the healthy greens to be digested.

I happily ordered the Pulled Pork sandwich on two separate occasions. This sandwich is lightly flavoured with a tangy mustard and fennel sauce. The bread is a house-baked bun, large but not overwhelming. A very generous pile of steaming hot fries accompanies the sandwich, and an overflowing, marvellous bowl of house mayonnaise accompanies the fries. The fries stay hot for a good long time, as fries in good restaurants tend to; I am quite certain that they are cooked in duckfat. A starter salad is a good idea if you order this, to try to fill up on greens before diving into the huge pile of delicious fries and sauce.

ploughman's plate: a chance to try headcheese

Except for the micro-brewery beers, the drinks at the Dominion are all made in-house. This goes for the syrups as well as the filtered water. The house even makes its own tonic water. In the case of the latter, the gin and tonics are quite simply the best in town. Not only is there a good choice of gins for the mix, no other G&T tastes quite like theirs. There is absolutely no harm in establishing a cocktails budget to make the round of the Dominion cocktail menu.

All of the above are served in excellent glassware. Beer pints are, simply, adorable in their roundness. Beer just tastes better when it is served in a large, rounded glass! Perhaps this aids in the appreciation of the beer’s bouquet.

celebrating a birthday with sticky toffee pudding and homemade coffee ice cream



If you still have room, finish off your meal with a sticky toffee pudding, a nutmeg donut, or anything that suits your fancy from the dessert menu. You will not be disappointed.

Dominion Square Tavern, 1243 Metcalfe Street Montreal. Monday-Friday 11:30 to midnight, Saturday 5pm to midnight. 514-564-5056 Reservations welcome.

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a participant during Nuit Blanche in Griffintown trys out Snow Painting

This past weekend during the Montreal High Lights Festival, we participated in Nuit Blanche in the Griffintown Cultural Corridor. It was a great deal of fun to put our recent experiments in Herbal Snow Painting to the test.

Despite the cold, we had many keen public participants join us in creating some snow paintings!

the first image was a tree with robins on a hill

We began the day with a large canvas; on this we painted a tree and birds using alkanet and plantain, cabbage, nettles, blueberry, turmeric, coffee, beets, and hibiscus. We moved the activity along the expanse of our large snow-hill, stenciling some simple leaf-shapes in amongst the poles and pilons that poked up through the snow. This intervention would hopefully give people pause on their daily walks.

The Community Participation area was a lot of fun to fill with boldly painted graphic designs.

a participant paints a snowy garden

There was a little shed at the end of this (regularly a parking lot) space, and it housed a fibre arts installation. The fibre artists in this shed were a little frustrated that people were not making their way to their exhibit, so we went about remedying that problem.

leaves amongst the poles

Patterned, stenciled leaves, boldly painted arrows, and beautiful colours glowing in the snow enticed people to enter this parking-lot space. They could see that it wasn’t just barren and empty; it was alive and vibrant with activity, colour, and interesting smells!

Tammy used a delicate touch to pour elderberries, then sprayed hibiscus... a dash of Love

We encouraged people to try out snow painting for themselves, and we had many takers. Some very beautiful temporary paintings were made that day, and we took great joy in documenting the activity.

an herbal graffitist...

We will be continuing with our Snow Paintings. We will paint around the city, and host some workshops on the subject in the very near future (before the snow melts!)

One concern we have with sharing the work in public, is that unsuspecting people might assume that the work was made with toxic spraypaints. To deal with this, in the future we will tag our creations with a stenciled “fleurbain” signature, and the words “herbal pigments”.

Hopefully over time people will recognise this means that the pigments we use are not only non-toxic and natural, but are even downright edible.

dribbled heart

Keep your eyes open, Montreal, for renegade Snow Paintings… and keep your eyes on our Workshops Page for upcoming events!

To see the full album of photos from this day, go to our facebook page.

spiral and leaves

universal herbalism

pilon button

the impermanence of plant pigments on snow contrast well with the bright lights of an electric city

tasting the paint... normally you can't do this with paint.

Natasha Henderson and Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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