I took a recent trip to Montreal over the long holiday weekend. It also happens that Canada Day fell in this weekend, and it was Canada's 150th Anniversary. Here are some highlights:
I was looking forward to spending the day observing how Canadian celebrate Canada Day. I was not disappointed. The parade in Montreal was full of fun & celebration of all the various cultures that make up the country. Despite a bit of rain that morning, everyone seemed to be having a great time! The rest of the day I spent wandering Vieux Montreal and people watching until the fireworks in the evening.
Montreal Jazz Fest!
It so happened that my trip also coincided with the Montreal Jazz Fest. The Festival took place over several blocks along Ste. Catherine Street, which are set up perfectly for festivals. There were food trucks, bars & beer gardens throughout the festival. In addition to the free music at the festival site, several venues in the city had nightly shows that required a ticket purchase. However, there are so many wonderful acts free in the fairgrounds, it's still a great time for those on a budget!
Sites to See
Some of the spots I sought out to see while in Montreal included the Botanical Gardens & Biodome. Both are located near the Olympic Stadium and easy to walk from one to the other. I was amazed at the variety of flowers & trees & plants in the Gardens- and I got some inspiration for my own garden! Next, I dropped into the Biodome. It's a fascinating structure with replicas of four different ecosystems. Both can get rather crowded, but they are worth the trip!
Tam-Tams in Mount Royal Park
Before my trip, a friend had mentioned to me that I needed to seek out the Tam-Tams on Sunday. They take place near the Georges-Etienne Cartier Monument and you'll find hundreds of drum players, vendors, and people out enjoying the day. It was definitely a relaxing way to spend a lazy afternoon in the sun!
Old Montreal is my favorite part of the city to walk. There's something for everyone here. There are plenty of shops- from clothing to art to souvenirs, restaurants, and coffee shops. This part of Montreal is full of history, & there is even a downloadable walking tour to guide you. I found my favorite time to be in Vieux Montreal was early in the morning when the streets were quiet!
Montreal is definitely a town of fantastic food! There are magnificent pastry shops, small cafes, and plenty of fine dining.
While I'm a celiac, and can't enjoy as many of the pastries as I'd like, I was impressed at how many of the restaurants ask up front if you have any allergies they need to know about. I even had fish & chips- something I've been missing since my diagnosis!
A few of the places I stopped included:
- Brit and Chips: a small fish and chips joint.
- Olive & Gourmando: great for breakfast or lunch- you see it when you see the line forming outside.
- Crudessence: a fantastic vegan place (also small) near Mount Royal park.
- Barroco: a cozy little restaurant with great drinks and food.
- Garde Manger: My splurge for the trip. Excellent food, drinks and service. I'll be back!
This was my third trip to Montreal, but the first time in the summer. It's a pleasure to be there during the long summer days and participate in some of the many festivals that take place in the city. However, I know I'll be back soon!!