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Back in 2007, the identical twins Byron and Dexter Peart launched WANT Les Essentiels, an apparel and accessories brand whose mix of traditional craft and contemporary styling immediately made it one of Canada’s hottest labels. WANT shops opened across the country, along with a flagship store in New York City, and the brand achieved cult-like status by aesthetes in-the-know. 

A decade later, the Peart brothers pivoted and sold WANT, so they can concentrate on GOODIE, a curated marketplace purveying homeware and lifestyle products that are both sustainable and beautiful. “We’ve always focused on products that were not just sustainable but also built to last,” says Dexter. “GOODEE was born from a desire to bring amazing brands together that speak a similar language of sustainability [and truly caring] for the environment.”

Featuring some 70 brands, GOODEE spans the spectrum, from eclectic furniture and sculptural baskets to chic garden tools and imaginative, functional kids’ stuff. And although intent on showcasing Canadian talent, the Pearts also want the company to be global. This means the brothers regularly go on trips around the world to find premium products to enhance the GOODEE label. 

But when not travelling, the twins happily immerse themselves in everything that is unique about their hometown. For starters, both used to live in Habitat 67, the iconic housing complex designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. For Dexter, who’s still a resident there, what’s most compelling about his city’s culinary scene is how truly local it is — Montréalers dining on food prepared by local chefs using ingredients from local suppliers. “They’re small and independent,” he notes, “and [everything] feels totally fresh — and totally Montréal.”

01 DAMAS

Step into this local institution and you quickly feel like you’ve been transported to the Middle East. Set in the Outremont neighbourhood, Damas has been, for years, the Pearts’ favoured restaurant for its exceptional Syrian food (and during the pandemic for its takeout service). The cozy, welcoming vibe makes Damas ideal, whether it’s for a date night or a family gathering. The tasting menu is a tour de force of culinary delights. Dexter’s tip: “You can’t go wrong with some of our favourite hot and cold mezes for sharing — like falafel, hummus, octopus salad, fattoush, kibbeh nayye hand grilled halloumi.” 1201 avenue Van Horne; restaurant-damas.com

02 KAMÚY

Located in the heart of Quartier des Spectacles, this Caribbean-inspired eatery adds flavour to the Montréal food scene. Kamúy, which literally translates to “sun” in the indigenous Taino language, is bright, warm and inviting. “We love Haitian chef Paul Touissant and have known and visited Kamúy for years to satisfy our nostalgia for island food classics,” says Byron. Of Jamaican descent themselves, the Ottawa-born Pearts relish Toussant’s take on Caribbean cuisine, such as the Fritay Basket, (cod, chicken and carimañola fritters) and griot (braised pork shoulder with pikliz). 1485 rue Jeanne Mance; kamuy.ca

03 GIA

Tucked away in a nondescript building in the Saint-Henri neighbourhood, Gia is a gem of a restaurant and wine bar unlike any other in the city. The stylish yet inviting interior, the knowledgeable, friendly staff and the sophisticated food/beverage menus all sum up to offer a lovely insider dining experience. And though decidedly plant-forward, the menu also serves up meat options, such as tartare de canard and saucisse d’agneau. The wine list is as much a journey as the menu, boasting a carefully selected offering of organic, biodynamic and sustainable wines from Italy and beyond. 1025 rue Lenoir; giagiagia.com

04 OLIVE ET GOURMANDO

“We have known the Olive’s founders, Dyan [Solomon] and Eric [Girard], for years and have become devoted patrons of this first-rate bakery, café and restaurant literally since the day it opened almost 25 years ago,” says Byron. “And as you can see from its buzzy crowd, we’re not the only ones who keep coming back.” Indeed. Patrons are happy to line up to experience the fresh sweet and savoury baked goods, including the delectable brioche à la canelle, as well as the always-in-demand artisanal sandwiches, such as the Pearts’ favourite Le Chicken Melt. 351 rue Saint-Paul ouest; oliveetgourmando.com


By David Kaufman; *This article originally appeared in INSIGHT: The Art of Living | Fall 2022.

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