We’re still following the Formula 1 races around the world, so this post we’re in Montreal, Canada. And guess what? I used to live here. Okay, it was for less than two years and I was only eight years old so I don’t remember much. Except there was a meadow near where I lived and my friend and I used to collect the caterpillars and watch them turn into Monarch butterflies and then release them. I’m pretty sure that meadow is now a strip mall. My parents and younger brother also lived in Montreal when I was 20 and I visited them there a couple of times so not all my memories are ancient.
I like Montreal. At least for a visit. I think the politics would drive me crazy if I lived there as an adult. That and the traffic. Hmm, let’s build a city on a bunch of islands in the St. Laurence seaway, because bridges are great. Unless you have to drive over them. I asked my brother who went there for the Grand Prix to send me a photo of something quintessentially Montreal and he texted back, “What, a pothole?” Having lived through more springs than I’d like to remember in Manitoba, potholes are not exclusive to Montreal.
What’s to do in Montreal? Well, if you’re from anywhere else in North America, enjoy the oddness of a bit of Europe dropped into eastern Canada. Although to really get the European flavor, head up to Quebec City. Still, if Montreal is as far as you can get, enjoy the fabulous restaurants and head up to Mont Royal and get an overview of the city. Then wander around Old Montreal and Rue St. Catherine or if the weather isn’t very nice visit the Underground City (a great place to warm up in winter or cool off in the summer).
The absolute best time to visit Montreal is the autumn, in late September or early October. The weather is bearable and the maple trees turning colour are spectacular. Take a trip out of the city to the Laurentian mountains, although as a Western Canadian, I object to the term mountain here, they are more like rolling hills. It’s about an hour’s drive out of Montreal, depending of course on how long it takes you to get out of Montreal.
As a great city, of course there are museums, art galleries, and if you’re into that sort of thing, churches/basilicas, etc. But the best thing to do in Montreal is find a small café, order a café au lait and a pain chocolat and just enjoy the ambiance of Europe without having to go through customs and immigration. Oh, and don’t forget to try the French onion soup, and the cheese, and the wine… Okay, you get my drift. It’s a great place to eat.
So, until July 1st.