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Terrasses in Montreal's Southwest borough to open two weeks early, taking advantage of mild weather


Terrasses in Montreal's Southwest borough will open two weeks earlier this year and close two weeks later in the fall.

The hope is it will help restaurants and bars that have struggled during the economic slowdown.

Business owners can't wait and are quickly getting organized to serve customers outdoors.

"We really feel the hype. People really, really have been waiting for it and we feel it," said Jean-Francois Gervais of BarBara on Notre-Dame St. in St-Henri.

By many accounts, it's been a lacklustre winter season, so the borough decided the mild weather was a great opportunity to move up terrasse season.

"Merchants are very excited to be able to get that opportunity," said city councillor Craig Sauvé, who hopes it will give restaurants and bars a boost.

"It helps the commercial streets develop a little bit more. So having them open earlier is a good thing to get more people on the street, stay on the street and enjoy our local small businesses that we want to support," he said.

At BarBara, Gervais said after a long winter hibernating, Montrealers eat up terrasse season.

"I think that it revives the city really, really well, bringing customers from everywhere. And us here, it's a pleasure to receive a lot of people every day and all of our neighbors as well. I think it's just a great way to revive the city," he said.

It's a revival many businesses may need after a tough 2023 -- sales were down, bankruptcies were up, and inflation impacted everyone's spending.

"People are having a hard time making ends meet," said Sauvé. "It's clear with inflation, it's been really hard. We're seeing the housing prices going up for everybody, too. So people are cutting for sure from luxuries. You know, they're cutting from things like going to the restaurant."

Still, the hope is if you build a terrasse, the customers will come.

"We really feel the hype. People really, really have been waiting for it and we feel it," said Gervais. Top Stories

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