Best of MTL 2021 Montreal

The Best of MTL issue is here!

Our June letter from the editor.

Best of MTL 2021 cover Cult MTL Valérie Plante, Carey Price Sugar Sammy Montreal

The 2021 Best of MTL is here!

And the city has spoken.

Over the past four months, Cult MTL readers and other citizens who are invested in civic pride voted for their favourite Montreal things in the annual Best of MTL poll.

When voting began back in February, we didn’t know where the pandemic was going, how bad it would get and when precisely life might return to normal. While some question marks remain, the summer is pretty much upon us and with it the annual blooming of the city has begun. This year, that bloom is extra sweet and colourful, accompanied by the end of the curfew and the gradual reopening of everything that has been closed, and the resumption of gatherings and activities that were rendered dangerous by the pandemic, before the vaccine rollout finally flattened that curve. We’re nearly there, but we’re more than cautiously optimistic — we’re thrilled that Montreal is on the comeback trail, and that the Best of MTL can be part of heralding a return to normality.

This hasn’t been an easy past year, and some have had it worse than others — something that’s important to remember as we interact with people again, and see familiar faces for the first time in months.

Here at Cult MTL, we’re grateful for our extended family, for our readers, and for the voters in this poll who took the time during the dark winter and spring of 2021 to think about everything they love about Montreal, and can’t wait to get back to. As always, and maybe more than ever, we felt it was imperative to salute the artists, promoters, organizers, reporters, restaurateurs and retailers who have kept the city’s heart beating, even in partial stasis.

As always, the Best of MTL poll is open and democratic, with no editorial influence or interference. We are always glad to see so many people make an event of voting via social media campaigns, and while we can’t resist sharing third-party get-out-the-vote tweets, we otherwise remain neutral during the polling period.

Ballot-stuffing is automatically weeded out by our survey software. This year there were loads of votes for musician, comedian and social media personality Eve Parker Finley, columnist and social media personality Murphy Cooper, comedian/radio host Julian Bernatchez and local label On a Roll Records (and friends) in way too many categories. Joke votes were relatively minimal but there was at least one person who took the time to vote for “healthcare workers” in nearly every category and others who chastised us for legacy categories like Best Place to Have Public Sex as irresponsible during a pandemic. Conversely, a handful of conspiracy theorists and anti-lockdown/anti-mask types shared comments like “Montreal is a dump,” “this is a socialist gulag,” “not allowed to have fun in this prison” and “they outlawed art” across dozens of categories.

Cult MTL has been running the Best of MTL readers poll for nine years, but it bears mentioning that the survey follows in the decades-old tradition established by the city’s defunct but fondly remembered alt-weekly newspaper the Mirror. Respect.

Along with the expanded Top 10 lists in every category (to be published online next week), our website will feature a number of Best of MTL articles through the month of June and beyond.

We thank everyone who voted and promoted the poll. Participation continues to grow every year, making the 2021 results more representative of the city than ever.

(Anglos, if you’re wondering why you don’t recognize some names in these lists, it’s because the other 70 per cent of the population is now voting in a bilingual poll. Francos, désolé, les résultats sont unilingues.)

To all the winners: congratulations. 

More than ever, we’re proud to bring you the Best of MTL.

To view the readers poll results, please visit the Magazine section. The Best of MTL Top 10 lists will be published online next week.