Blogs from Montréal, Quebec, Canada, North America - page 2


North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal July 7th 2018

Time to pack it all up and head back home, I guess. And watch some England-Sweden in the World Cup. I have enjoyed some of my time in Montreal, so I'm glad I made the trip. And I know that the heat wave has obviously affected my experiences, but Montreal has not been my favorite Canadian city. I enjoyed it last time I was here, but it was only for 2 days and with a friend. This time, 5 days and solo travel didn't go as well as I had hoped. All that to say, I will be happy to be back home. One of the things that I do enjoy about solo travel is being free to make my own plans. And yesterday was a great example of one of those days. In fact, I ... read more
Botanical Gardens: art deco!
First view of the Chinese section of the Botanical Gardens
Japanese section of the Botanical Gardens

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal July 5th 2018

I always enjoy learning new vocabulary words when I travel abroad, especially when they're immediately useful. But la canicule is not one of those words I wish I had to learn. Another thing I learned from the Biosphere park today was the origin of the Humidex, something I had heard about in my previous Canadian adventures but just thought was a weird way to refer to what we call the "heat index" in the States. It was also 'fun' to find out how that whole system works--I had no idea how those forecasters got the heat index, but now I know the way it works. So, in Fahrenheit, the temperature made it up to 91 (though I saw at one point on my phone it was 95), and the heat index was 110. I'm still in ... read more
Votive Chapel (art deco!) at the Oratoire St-Joseph
"Sidewalk closed": a very common sight around Montreal
view from the Observatoire Ville-Marie

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal July 3rd 2018

After only one afternoon in Montreal, I was already exhausted! Perhaps I should've taken it easier after I got to my hotel, but one thing is for sure: that taxi ride from the train station to my hotel was the best $15 I've spent so far on this trip. In truth, I seldom take taxis. Maybe I should get into the Uber or Lyft mindset, but it's just such a weird concept to me, on top of the whole trust issue. Anyway, I walked around for at least 15 minutes after getting off the train, trying to figure out what my GPS was telling me to do on my phone. It had said the hotel was a 30-minute walk from the train station, which I've done in the past. But it kept telling me different directions--mainly ... read more
Park La Fontaine
An old Montreal favorite
Something crazy on Rue St-Denis

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal » Old Montréal May 16th 2018

Today's tour was led by Michel who was assisted by Mario. It was mostly walking, with a few short bus hops. Mario was only with us part of the time; the rest of the time was running ahead to get our tasty-tastings set up at the next locale. What a variety of offerings! We started in the Portuguese section of Montreal (who knew there was a Portuguese neighborhood there!?) and ended up at the farmer's market, which was (to me) very similar to Cleveland's West Side Market. On our way to the first stop at Padaria Portuguesia Cafe, Michel talked about the early settlers in the area. Young girls (some native, some French, aged 12-15) would choose from the available male suitors. These young girls (especially the natives) taught the men to survive. The commitment was ... read more
Fairmount Bagel
Mural Fest
Chapelle du Notre Dame du Bon Secours

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal » Downtown May 15th 2018

After our hotel breakfast, we met our guide for the day, Christian, in the lobby for our tour "Facets of Daily Life in Montreal," which is to include the Theater District, McGill University, the Golden Square Mile, and the Underground City (a taste of that yesterday). One of the things that Christian emphasized was the immigration trends, and how that shaped the neighborhoods in Montreal. Christian talked a bit about schools in Montreal; some are primarily Francophone (French speaking) while others are Anglophone, and still others are bi-lingual. In addition there are public and private variations of both. It can be a complex decision for families, but some of the decision is simplified by the constitution, which eliminates some of the conflict. Non-citizens must send their kids to Francophone schools, but English-speaking citizens may choose the ... read more
Metro and Underground Art
The old next to the new!
Ball on a rope!

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal » Old Montréal May 14th 2018

After breakfast buffet at the hotel, Sylvie introduced Marie who would lead us on a walking-history and culture tour; in the afternoon we would have the rest of the day to explore. The potential difficulty is the fact that nearly all the museums are closed on Mondays, so with the beautiful weather, we planned to spend the afternoon in the Botanical Gardens, but that was not to be, since THEY are also closed on Monday! Marie promised to be entertaining and she was! she started out by telling us that Montreal is on an island, with its own "mountain," Mount Royale (get it? MontReal). It's really more of a huge hill, but we learned during the tour that Montreal's tallest building cannot exceed the height of their mountain! The a park surrounding and including Mount Royal ... read more
Marche Bonsecours
Updated Coat of Arms

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal » Old Montréal May 13th 2018

We awoke in Gananoque, ON, ready to head for Montreal. Though we didn't have time to visit the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY, we decided to try the Great Lakes Maritime Museum in Gananoque. FAIL. It apparently had been a large and interesting museum, but they had to move to a different location, and have not yet opened at the final location. What we did find was a) REALLY hard to find and b) a room about 10' x 20' that was part of the yacht club office! Maybe next time! We hit the road for Montreal to meet up with our Road Scholar travelers. But on the way, we stopped in a small town, determined to eat in a local place (I think there was a Subway in every place we went, and in ... read more
Detailed Stone Work
les Chuchoteuses - The Whisperers

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal September 25th 2017

Unseasonable hot weather in Montreal again today. After breakfast we walked our suitcases several blocks to Old Town and checked into our hotel for the next two nights. Exploring this oldest part of the city, we walked to the Place Jacques-Cartier where hundreds of runners jogged by - marathon had been changed to a half-marathon due to heat. This Plaza seems to be in the center of Vieux (Old) Montreal activity though it was Sunday morning quiet today. We crossed the boulevard to the Vieux Port and walked along the piers past tour and pleasure boats, the science museum. Crossing through the park we visited the Pointe a Calliere Museum, a historical and archaeological site. The visit began with an energetic multi-media presentation covering the history of Montreal in 18 minutes. This location was the site ... read more
Back of kiosks at Place Jacques Cartier
Our boat for the afternoon river tour
Model of an Iriquois village on banks of St. Lawrence brick

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal September 25th 2017

After breakfast we gathered for a talk focusing on Canadan history through the lens of diverse peoples, each region with their own unique history, and the importance of the transcontinental railroad which linked the political and economic development of Canada as a nation. This excellent overview gave us background for the learning over the next eleven days. Next was an architectural walking tour of Old Montreal over cobbled streets with stops at the Notre Dame Basilica, Place d'Armes, Place Jacques Cartier and lots of historical information along the way. After a huge lunch we had "free time" so we headed to the Chateau Ramezay, the 18th century home of the first governor. The museum artifacts and multimedia exhibits showed how Montreal and the building changed over time, who lived there, and introduced historical figures from various ... read more
Canada flag
First governor of Montreal
Chateau Ramezay

North America » Canada » Quebec » Montréal September 21st 2017

9:00 am: Up early to finish packing, ride to the arport in Margaret's truck, almost empty airport with no lines at the American desk and in the tsa check-in line. Sylvia and Mark just showed up. We are ready to go. Montreal: After a two + hour layover in Chicago, we had an uneventful flight to Montreal. Easy walk thru immigration and customs, found an ATM. The taxi ride into the city with a very chatty driver took us through suburbs, then past nice homes and finally condos and apartments before arriving in the central city. Our hotel tonight is in the Place des Arts district full of theatres, restaurants, lots of people walking around. We walked into Chinatown down a shop-filled alley, ate a delicious dinner at Restaurant Beijing on advice from a nearby shopkeeper. ... read more
Sylvia and Mark waiting in O'Hare.
Dragon's Beard candy

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