Montreal in general
Montreal is one of the oldest cities in Canada, and has a distinctive European flair. I've been told that aside from Paris, it is the largest French-speaking city in the world, but don't worry if you don't know much French. Most people are bilingual and it's easy to get by with just English (though the French-speaking people do appreciate it when foreigners at least attempt to speak French!).
It is a very artistic and historical city, Old Montreal especially with its old buildings and architecture, cobblestone streets, and buskers/street performers in the summer. Montreal is also very cosmopolitan - pretty much any ethnic group can be found there, and though the most common languages are French and English, many immigrants still keep their first language even if they learn French or English. There are ethnic neighbourhoods where many of these immigrants live, such as Chinatown, and these are like a piece of their home country outside of that country. For example, in Chinatown, you'll find dim sum restaurants and Chinese writing on all stores and other public places.
Summertime is the best time to visit Montreal even if the weather sometimes gets very hot (over 30 celsius). There are all sorts of festivals in summer, and the places most worth visiting like Old Montreal are filled with activity. But winter is not boring either. Even in the cold snowy weather, it's still worth a visit. At night, the city is lit up by the Christmas lights in the trees, which makes the winter nights very beautiful. My best memories of Montreal include walking around Old Montreal, especially in the evenings and at night. I love places with lots of people and activity, so I loved this part of town. I especially loved the artistic/historical flair of Old Montreal.
I also loved going out salsa dancing at Club 6/49 on St. Catherine Street. Being a die-hard salsa dancer, I just had to take the opportunity to go to a salsa club, since there are none where I currently live.
if you're male you must shop,...
if you're male you must shop, buy clothes and enjoy the exceptional variety of clothes... and especially shoes. go to stoneridge or aldo's stores.
big movie theatres with all actual movies.
see the mont real and walk around the whole city. there is too much to mention it all at this time the special atmosphere, all these crazy young people with.
so near to the us... and such a different mentality... open minded...
and more memory
With only an address and no map, I headed to the main sight of this quaint Quebec town, its historical old fort, assuming the restaurant might be nearby. The fort was surprisingly nice and the park surrounding it a real oasis, with breezes off the fast flowing Richelieu River. It was still very hot and all the shady spots were taken so we asked around and indeed the Fourquet Fourchette was just up the road. This is Unibroue's new project where their beers are featured in the cuisine of New France, wait staff dress in period, and of course, their world-class beers are on offer. Named after the ancient brewing instrument (the mashing rod) and eating utensil (fork), it offers a great ambience and a view of the Chambly Rapids. It's very reasonable with lunch including soup and salad bar clocking in at a mere $8. We had buffalo brochettes cooked in La Fin Du Monde and loin of pork braised in Maudite. If that weren't enough, they had four of their beers on tap, including U1, a pilsner available only in Quebec and Ephemere, a yearly changing seasonal brew. This year's batch is a delightfully aromatic apple wheat beer that has full granny smith flavors and a fantastically dry palate for a fruit beer. The U1 was a bit disappointing. This is Unibroue's first attempt at a lager and a pilsner at that, and I expected them to give the Czech Republic a run for their money. This was a run of the mill Canadian micro beer served in a clear bottle (??) and perhaps aimed at the Corona crowd. You can do a set of tasters which given the strength of their beers and the fact that you have to drive home, is a good idea. The best approach for the visitor from outside the province is to sample the beers only available there, such as the old world styled La Bolduc. If you haven't had enough, you can purchase many of their products in their gift shop, including the much sought after and hard to find 10, their special commemorative tenth anniversary ale. (continued below in My Fondest Memory)
Public Art - Lord Strathcona Memorial
Dorchester Square is considered to be the heart of old "anglo" Montreal. The Lord Strathcona Memorial stands proudly in the center of the square. Donald Alexander Smith (ennobled as Lord Strathcona) (1820-1914) was a Scottish-born Canadian entrepreneur who helped found the Canadian Pacific Railway. He became a millionaire many times over, and then dedicated much of his fortune to a variety of worthy causes. He also served as Canadian representitive in London, where he helped organize the visit of Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier to Britain at the time of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
One of his philanthropic endeavors was to organize a brigade of Canadians to serve in the Boer War - an activity which was the initial spur to this memorial. Sculptor George W. Hill (1862-1934) created a noble equestrial monument - which does not depict Strathcona himself, as the Lord was 80 years old when the piece was commissioned.
In the background is the class Sun Life office building. It's considered to be the finest Art Deco structure in Montreal.
How To Tell When You're In The Old City!
When you are in the middle of the Old City you know that that's where you are - well the buildings are old aren't they? In the New City you can tell by the towering concrete and glass behomoths of the modern commercial buildings.
There is however a sort of no man's land where the two meet and so the only way you can tell whether you're in the old or new is by the street signage. The Old City streets have white on red signs, whilst the New City has black on white - simple isn't it?