Three years ago, with my husband barely at home, it was just the two of us: me and my (then) seven-year-old. Freshly moved to Canada and living in the West Island, trying to immerse into a new society and to adopt its lifestyle. Me, dreading for occasional trips to discover the city, her, trying different tricks to avoid them. I mean, what reason would a first grade kid have to prefer taking long walks to look at people or places instead of playing, drawing or watching cartoons? I knew I had to find one, and so I did: on Canada Day, while my little “downtown hater” was doing science experiments at camp de jour. With my husband (obviously) not working, we took the bus and the metro and went downtown. To see, explore, walk and enjoy a pleasant summer day. Oh, Canada!
…And it was while landing on rue St Denis, when my eyes opened wide and I saw it: the Mecca of creative, artsy seven-year-olds: Ceramic Café! I instantly knew this was the place that would bring her into the city, so now I only had to drag her on the Plateau and let her discover it. This finally happened, after a few weeks, and her reaction was the predicted one: “WoooW! (45678 times at least). A place where you can pick your own ceramic item, paint it as you wish, and then take home after a week. So she started with a square box, then a piggy (actually doggy) bank, a round box with a cat on its cover, a posh bag, a cup that got broken, and finally a mirror.
Basically, going downtown became, in her mind, translated by “going to Ceramic Café”. Even if we didn’t literally go there every time, her passion for painting on ceramics led to more trips into the city and to the discovery of other places.
After I had her sister, her ceramic adventures became a rarity due to my fear that I wouldn’t be able to keep a baby/toddler quiet for at least an hour while the big kid has painting. That, until Monday morning when I challenged myself to try it, while taking advantage of our local school’s PED day. So after the little one packed (all) her miniature princesses, a princess storybook and some princess stickers, we were ready to go.
Since we arrived there at around 11 a.m., we had the place (almost) for ourselves. So my artist followed her routine: chose her piece (a skeleton), her colours and started painting. Meanwhile, the little one looked around, asked some questions, stared at her sister’s art and then quietly began to (pretend) reading her book. All patiently.
As for me, I honestly felt relaxed and listened to good music, including even a chill cover of Santeria (!!!). And thus, my inner myth that toddlers cannot be pleasant guests at Ceramic Café was debunked. I even noticed a set of high chairs and bouncers near the bathroom, proving the place welcomes people of all ages.
Basically, the café’s system works like this: you pay your ceramic piece and your stay by the hour (prices, depending on your age, are available on their website). You also have a menu, food or drinks for kids or grown-up, or you can only buy starters or desserts. You can also have your birthday party there, with different packages depending on the size of your group and on the location of the studio. Speaking of location, they just opened another one in the West Island (after we moved away), adding it to the others – on Saint Denis, Laval, Rive Sud and Quebec. We only visited the one in Montreal, but I’m really curious about the new one from Dollard des Ormeaux too.
4388 rue Saint Denis, H2J 2K8
585 Boul. Saint-Martin Ouest, H7M 1Y9
3240 Boul. Taschereau, J4V 2H3
Dollard des Ormeaux:
3591 Boul. Saint-Jean, H9G 1W9