The incredible lightness of being in Montreal

Palais de Congres

How do I begin to tell you about the beauty and culture of Montreal? I spent four wonderful days there last week – with the excuse of having had to go there for work – and couldn’t get enough of walking around the city. My head bobbled up and down and around at will, taking in all the beautiful sights. (Is that why I’m waking up with my neck sore this week? Huh.)

Some of you may be thinking, Oh, Montreal in the middle of winter, that must have been fun. And you’d be joking. But I’m not. It was wonderful. The sunlight warmed me as I tramped up and down icy streets and the snow was no match for my newly-purchased winter boots. (Yes, I had to get them in Montreal when I realized my “Victoria winter” dress boots just weren’t going to cut it!) Standing there at Place Jacques-Cartier looking at the ice sculptures pictured above was downright warm.

I walked all over the city, admiring the men and women in their, yes, stylish, furred earflap hats (I couldn’t find one anywhere that I was happy enough with to buy for myself, but I really wanted one!) and soaking in the language and the age of the buildings.

And the churches! I slipped inside the Notre-dame Basilica in the middle of the Sunday morning service and quietly sat in the back sketching the magnificent splendour of the altar. Wow. My primitive scratches just couldn’t do it justice, but it reminds me of the moment. I also ducked into another nearby church and soaked up another part of a service. Although I often appreciate the beauty of music, I found it even more enchanting to listen to music being sung in French, when I had no idea what the words were. Heavenly.

You know, even the subways are beautiful in Montreal! I took several pics of underground art that were more appealing than many above-ground or museum-based objets that I’ve seen in other places, including my own city. And they know how to do an outside party up right: I walked through the Place des Arts and saw flaming oil drums being hovered over by Montrealers roasting marshmallows. If I had seen where to get one, I would have joined in! (Next time.)

Of course I had to make the obligatory stop on St. Viateur for bagels, but I’m not sure if I “got” how different they are from other bagels I can buy at Thrifty’s. Though the staff at the bagel shop were more than friendly, with one of the guys telling me: “You should have told me you were coming! Next time you have to stay longer!” And he pushed me into the picture with the bagel oven-master when all I wanted to do was take a shot of him, not me.

There was more than enough to do to fill the edges of time around my work meetings in Montreal. And it has whet my appetite to get back there again soon. I have fond memories of sitting in the Jardin Nelson though in the summer though so maybe I’ll have to go back in that season next.

(Head on over to my Flickr site if you’d like to see my other trip pics.)

4 thoughts on “The incredible lightness of being in Montreal

  1. I also LOVE Montreal, and hope to live there someday. I lived nearby for 3 months during high school, and visited many attractions. We went back on our honeymoon and again twice about 5 years ago. Love it!

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