Just one day in Montreal, and a great wish to come back.
My wife hates cold weather, but what I saw and learned (in August) made me believe that Montreal must be one of the best places to live winter.
Canada seems to have achieved the balance between richness and social justice, and everything in it is attractive.
Montreal, wait for me.
The central area of Montreal shows a perfect combination between historic and modern buildings.
If I had to choose a place to live in North America, I think this would be my first choice.
Harmony, quality of life, safety, and a natural blending of races and cultures, attracted me.
Was it a wrong idea, caused by the rushing visit? Maybe! And, of course, I know that I was there in summer, winter being another thing, but the solution of using the subterranean resources may help.
Large stories we heard from our guide, about this 19th century church.
Problems with structure and steeple weight, sinking soil, and finally the construction of the underground and neighbor tower, that forced to hold the entire building in the air, while excavating below it.
Well, don’t expect me to keep the details. They are available at Wikipedia, with more accuracy than the guide’s colored descriptions.
Hotel de Ville
I visited Canada included in a french group (a decision to practice my fading french), and they looked surprised when I said, in Quebec, that I was feeling like being in France.
“Completely different” they argued. Well… reading about this classical building (in a now moved or lost site) I found:
“L’hôtel de ville, bel exemple du style Second Empire ou Napoléon III, est l’oeuvre d’Henri-Maurice Perrault, auteur du palais de justice voisin.
En 1922, un incendie (encore un!) détruisit l’intérieur et la toiture de l’édifice. Celle-ci fut rétablie en 1926 en prenant pour modèle l’hôtel de ville de Tours en France…”
Well… I was not so crazy after all!
The buildings and surrounding gardens are very beautiful, and deserve a visit, even without entering the casino.
I couldn’t imagine myself in a Casino with two kids. How to handle it? Well… it was perfect. A small preparation about viciousness and the need of self control, then a notion of budget and selection of priorities, and finally $5 for person (adults and children) as the present budget.
As you may guess, it didn’t take too long to get rid of it, but the fun of carefully identifying the most amusing games, the conscious management of the progressively disappearing coins, and the discipline and tranquility shown when they ended, did, really pay all the costs.
Notre Dame de Bon Secour
Also known as the sailor’s church, this chapel, started in the 17th century, was burnt and rebuilt in the 18th.
A wooden image rescued from the fire is venerated as a blessing for the sailors.
A quarter to discover
We stayed far from this quarter, and only crossed it twice by car. Enough to make a decision: next time in Montreal it will have its own day.
Traditional architecture, and the mixture of styles and nationalities, turn it in something we shouldn’t miss . But we did!
(I think that if Fernanda knew about its shops we would have found a way…)
In 1967 Montreal organized a large exhibition to celebrate 100 years of independence. The most significant buildings were preserved and used to different purposes.
The Biodome (using the American pavilion) and the Casino (French and Quebec pavilions) are the most remarkable sights in a wide gardened area that includes the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.
Overlooking the plane town of Montreal, the hill of Mount Royal (that gave name to the city) is at the same time, the “lungs” and the best sightseeing point of it.
Small lakes and statues embellish this recreational area of Montreal
The Olympic Stadium
Conceived to be a highlight of Canadian technology this risky construction suffered lots of problems that made its costs to mount until “impossible” levels.
Its funny to read what Wikipedia says about it:
The stadium was designed by French architect Roger Taillibert to be a very elaborate facility featuring a retractable roof, which was to be opened and closed by a huge 574 foot (approx. 175 metres) tower — the tallest inclined structure in the world, 6 feet taller than the Washington Monument, and the sixth tallest building in Montreal. The Olympic swimming pool is located under this tower.
Initially projected to cost C$250 million, the stadium’s costs quickly spiraled out of control. The Quebec government introduced a special tobacco tax in May 1976 to help recoup its investment.
The final cost of the stadium was to be C$1 billion, which is scheduled to be paid off in October 2006. Perceived by many to be a white elephant, the stadium has also humorously been dubbed The Big Owe (or Uh-O). …
Problems plagued the stadium from the time it opened for the Olympic Games–which at that point was only half built. Seating 58,500 at the time, the stadium was not fully completed in time for the games due to strikes by construction workers, leaving it without a tower or roof for the opening and several years following.
Both the tower and the roof, made of over 60,000 feet (approximately 18,500 meters) of kevlar, were not completed for over a decade, and it was not until 1988 that it was possible to retract the roof. The 65-ton roof then proved difficult to retract, and was occasionally torn in heavy winds
Anyway, it’s an interesting building (at least for those who didn’t have to pay it) even by night, as it happened to us.
You walk in a modern avenue, surrounded by huge buildings with their impersonal shapes, and suddenly, close to you, without a legend or explanation, art comes to life as naturally as good taste advices. For instance, as it happens by the BNP tower. It’s a Raymond Mason’s statue representing a crowd.
How could I imagine that… one day… Tito would join this company?
Casino- The Best meal
I had there the best Canadian meal.
Fabulous in presentation and taste. The price… I don’t know – it was included in the package, but I read a lot about free meals in the Casino, and wouldn’t be surprised if the price stood far below the quality of the dinner.
They have many more ways to get paid (well… not by us!).
It’s an inexpensive package that I think, is available in all hotels.
It doesn’t show much more than what you saw by day, but you’ll have it with a different look, and if you have the chance of a pleasant summer night as we did… much better.
Laurentides seem to be the favorite destination for winter sports.
We were there in summer, rainning, and couldn’t get much more than the look of the natural beauty of the sights, and… mosquitoes.
Well, that is a story to tell in my St. Sauveur theme
Living under the ground is a spreading resource in the congested modern cities, but nowhere I found such an effective solution as in Montreal.
The numbers that the guide announced as the length of subterranean roads, parks and shops, are smashing.
We could confirm for ourselves the good integration between the road system, the metro, and the big buildings that, despite their elevation, start living from several floors below ground level, with responses to all the commercial needs. Wise solution!
Freedom and Imagination
In a free and safe town, you will only depend of your imagination and resources to travel around, and I must confess that I never had seen such a comfortable bicycle, and never saw it again.
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