Where’s the best place to buy film in Montreal?

Montreal is one of the few cities where film never died. Everywhere you look in this artistically-inclined city, there will be little stores selling film, film cameras, and darkroom gear. 

I lived in Montreal for three years when I was just getting back into film photography and was able to go to most of the stores in the area. 

I mostly frequented places like Le Studio Argentique (a boutique around the corner on the Plateau), and Photo Service. But there are plenty of other gems nearby that you have to visit when looking for the right gear. 

Here is where you should go to get your film and supplies in Montreal.

Photo Service in Montreal. This is always the first store I would go to because it is the best stocked on all things film photography. As per true Montreal fashion, construction is ubiquitous — even on the most historic street in the city. Photo by Google Maps.
Film Photography ServicesAvailable?
Develops color film Yes
Develops B&W film Yes
Push/pull service Yes
Mail-in developing Yes
Sells Darkroom EquipmentYes
Sells film cameras Yes
ExtrasCross process film, E6 developing, Rents film cameras, prints slides from digital files
Photo Service service offerings according to their website.

Photo Service 

Extras Rents film cameras yes

Photo Service is the most well-stocked and full-featured store in the entire country. I remember when I first went into Photo Service and searched through the selection of film developers, papers, gear, and films for hours. 

They also have some of the cheapest prices on a large variety of film stocks, making them a destination for film photographers. 

This store has everything you could ever need. They have almost every darkroom paper option available from Ilford, and even have swatches so that you can see and feel the difference. 

The staff working in the rental department nearby the darkroom chemicals don’t know much about them. But there is usually someone available who can answer your burning questions if need be in both English and French. 

Le Studio Argentique nestled in a small store on Rue Rachel. This is one of the most unique stores in the entire country. Photo by Google Maps.
Film Photography ServicesAvailable?
Develops color film Yes
Develops B&W film Yes
Push/pull service Yes
Mail-in developing Yes
Sells Darkroom EquipmentYes
Sells film cameras Yes
ExtrasDarkroom rental, darkroom lessons, 8×10 Polaroid or Wet plate collodion portraits on location, E6 Procressing, 110 developing (colour only), B&W darkroom prints
Le Studio Argentique service offerings according to their website.

Le Studio Argentique 

Le Studio Argentique is another great little store in the heart of Plateau Montreal. They’re just down the street from my favourite Portuguese chicken place Rôtisserie Portugalia (I still dream of this place), and they have some of the best staff and atmosphere in the city. 

Le Studio Argentique is one of the most unique stores. They are focused on selling environmentally-friendly darkroom chemicals and practices, making them a great place to learn about reducing your environmental impact. 

All the staff there are very knowledgeable about film. They can help you purchase the right gear, and recommend their favorite film stocks, developers, and have a chat about what cool things they’re doing right now. 

Le Studio Argentique is also one of the only places in the country where you can go and get a professional large-format portrait taken, or rent out their darkroom. 

They may not have the biggest selection, but they certainly have the biggest hearts in the city. 

Photo St. Denis is the place to go for Lomography and other fun films. Great service and fun staff. Photo by Google Maps.
Film Photography ServicesAvailable?
Develops color film Yes
Develops B&W film Yes
Push/pull service Not mentioned
Mail-in developing Not mentioned
Sells Darkroom EquipmentYes
Sells film cameras Yes
Photo St. Denis service offerings according to their website.

Photo Saint-Denis 

The next retailer with the big hearts for film photography are the people at Photo Saint-Denis. 

This little store has an incredible selection of film at good prices. They are one of the only places that reliably have Lomography film in stock. 

The staff here are also extremely helpful and cheery. And their store is filled to the brim with little wonders tucked away in every corner. You’re guaranteed to find what you need here. 

Lozeau, which is owned by Henry’s, is the biggest camera store in Montreal. It’s located near the historic Marche Jean-Talon farmer’s market. Photo by Google Maps.
Film Photography ServicesAvailable?
Develops color film No
Develops B&W film No
Push/pull service N/A
Mail-in developing N/A
Sells Darkroom EquipmentNo
Sells film cameras Yes
Henry’s (Formerly Lozeau) service offerings according to their website.

Henry’s (formerly Lozeau)

If you’re living on the blue line metro, Lozeau is likely the closest place to buy film. They’re near Marche Jean-Talon, in the reviving fashion district. 

I’m sure the road construction is (at least nearly) finished now, and that street is much more accessible than it was when I lived there. That is, if construction ever finishes in the city. 

For film photographers, henry’s (formerly Lozeau) is a good location to buy film. They won’t have the biggest selection, but they will have most of the mainstays from Ilford and Kodak at some of the best prices in the country. 

This isn’t the first place you would think of for film — it’s actually where I bought my Sony A7III back in the day when they were sold out for an entire year. But they do have a better-than-expected selection.

Camtec Photo has two locations just steps away from each other on the historic Rue Notre-Dame. Photo by Google Maps.
Film Photography ServicesAvailable?
Develops color film Yes
Develops B&W film Yes
Push/pull service No
Mail-in developing No
Sells Darkroom EquipmentNo
Sells film cameras Yes
BonusDevelops E6, and has slide mounting service
Henry’s (Formerly Lozeau) service offerings according to their website.

Camtec

Camtec is another digital photography store that sells film. They have two locations, one is the only Leica Boutique store that I’ve seen in Canada, and the other is just down the street, very conveniently located beside Square Victoria-OACi metro station in the heart of the Old Port. 

Camtec sells film and processes both colour and black and white film. It’s a great little store, and the Leica Boutique is awesome to check out. But if you need a little bit more than just film and processing, Photo Service is just a few blocks up the road. 

Borealis Laboratory tucked away just off of Rue de Mont-Royal in the Plateau/Mile-End. Photo by Google Maps.
Film Photography ServicesAvailable?
Develops color film Yes
Develops B&W film Yes
Push/pull service Yes
Mail-in developing Yes
Sells Darkroom EquipmentNo
Sells film cameras No
ExtrasDrum scanning, colour enlargements up to 50×70, cross processing
Borealis service offerings according to their website.

Borealis 

I never actually visited Borealis, but I’ve heard so many good things about them that I had to mention them here. Their hours are a bit odd, which is the biggest reason that I was never able to get in there. 

From what I understand, Borealis is the best print shop in the entire city. Nobody does higher quality print work than the people at this boutique store in the Plateau. 

They are also the only professional lab in Montreal that will do drum scanning, archival printing, and colour enlargements up to 50×70 inches. When you need something high quality, you should go to Borealis Photo Lab.  

PhotoTek Canada – Do Not Go Here

I can’t give PhotoTek Canada a good rating. I used to go there every now and then in the past, but then I gave my Yashica Mat 124 camera to the operator for repair and the technician broke it. 

Yashica TLRs are difficult to repair, so I can understand that there is always a risk. The problem is that I never got my money back for the service. I called and went in store asking for a refund, and they would not give it to me.

Do not take your camera here for repair, or purchase any cameras from them. Any good store would give you the money back, but you will not get it back here. And I think that speaks volumes about their selling tactics as well as the quality of their items. They do have some interesting cameras — but they won’t take it back if something goes wrong. 

What should you buy online? 

There are a couple of items that have outrageous prices in Montreal that I simply cannot comprehend. 

One of the most expensive items in the city is archival negative sleeves. For some reason, a 100-pack of 35mm or 120 negative sleeves costs over $60. In the rest of Canada, that cost comes down to $25. Online you can find them even cheaper from American stores

The next item is darkroom paper. I personally love the Ilford and Hahnemule fine-art photo rag darkroom paper so much that I could have gone broke purchasing it in Montreal. A pack of 100 sheets costs around $125 CAD, but online from US retailers that cost is cut in half even after factoring currency conversion. 

Professional Kodak film is also out of the question when purchasing in bulk. The prices for Kodak Portra, Tri-X, and Ektachrome positive are marked up well beyond the conversion rate in Canada.

It is often cheaper to purchase Kodak professional films from US retailers. Since they are made in the US, there are no tariffs on these items when they come across the border. So the taxes are low — especially when going through a retailer like B&H who will allow you to pre-pay the taxes so you’re not hit with extra fees from the shipping company. 

If you’re looking for Adox, or Foma products, it’s also nearly impossible to find them in good supply in the stores. But there is one online distributor based in Quebec called Argentix.ca. They have a good supply of very hard-to-find films, developers, and chemicals available, and are definitely worth checking out.

So if you’re in Montreal, I absolutely recommend purchasing negative sleeves, darkroom paper, and professional Kodak films in a bulk order every now and then. You’ll save a ton of money. 

Final thoughts

If you’re living in Montreal, there are so many options for buying film. It is likely the best city in Canada for finding high-quality stores with a great selection of products. There are likely even a couple of new stores that have cropped up since I moved away from there in 2020.

So are there any stores that I missed on this list? Let me know about your favourite film photography stores down in the comments below!

By Daren

Daren is a journalist and wedding photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. He’s been taking personal and professional photos on film since 2017 and began developing and printing his own photos after wanting more control than what local labs could offer.

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