Out and about

We left our hotel room at 9:30 this morning, giving us time for breakfast before we got picked up at our hotel for our bus tour. Our pickup was at 10:00 and the tour started at 11:00; we spent the intervening hour hopping from hotel to hotel, as the driver picked up other passengers. Not really a wasted hour, though, since we got to just look out the window and see different parts of the city (mostly downtown).

The tour itself wasn't bad; 3.5 hours, with four stops for photos or, as our driver put it, “pee-pee”. I really don't know if he was being cute, or if this was a result of his less-than-fluent English…he had a few other unusual turns of phrase too that he kept repeating. And it took a bit of time to get used to him switching back and forth between French and heavily-Francophone-accented English.

Regardless, it was a nice tour. Our first stop was at the Notre Dame Basilica, which we saw yesterday. Good thing too, because on the tour it's only a 30-minute stop, and that's not nearly enough time (we think). We wandered into the Bank Of Montreal instead, and visited their currency museum, which is small and well-presented (and included a photo of the big Bank Of Montreal building in Winnipeg – home!).

Bank of Montreal...in Montreal!

Currency museum. It included old counterfeit bills, with genuine ones to compare them to.

Then we drove out to the old port area, where we saw the port itself, Habitat 67, Olympic Stadium…a ton of stuff. I'm too tired to try to list it all, but here are some pictures! (Not the greatest pictures, sorry.)

The incredibly weird Habitat 67, built for Expo 67 and still in use today.

The Montreal skyline behind the old port.

The famous dome, built for the American pavilion in Expo 67, and now home to the Montreal Biosphère, an environmental museum.

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Village, the athletes' residence for the 1976 Olympics

Pierre Trudeau's house, still owned by the Trudeau family.

St. Joseph's Oratory — sort of a church but not quite. People apparently go up the 99 steps on their knees, praying for miracles.

I cannot describe how big this graveyard was. It's incredible.

Montreal, seen from Mont-Royal. You can see Olympic Stadium on the right.

From the same vantage point, you can also see the Laurentian Mountains.

Oh, and we learned about the exterior staircases! They started because they allow you to have more room in your apartment — you don't lose interior space to the stairs. But they're dangerous in the winter and you aren't allowed to build them anymore. Houses that already have them are allowed to keep them, but new buildings need to have interior staircases,

After the tour we went to the “underground city” — Montreal's network of shops, malls, and office buildings connected by tunnels. Very much like Winnipeg's skywalk/tunnel network and Winnipeg Square, but on a larger scale. We grabbed a late (3:00) lunch in the food court (where someone asked us for directions, saying that we “look like Montrealers”!), and did some wandering around and shopping (but did NOT buy the $300 cashmere scarf we found).

Shopping in Centre Eaton

It's too cold for us to be tempted by ice cream, but this almost convinced us!

Art! I think!

I'll give them credit, they build nice shopping malls here.

Afterwards we went for a walk down St. Catherine Street: the “Fifth Avenue of Montreal”, aka the main shopping drag with all the big stores on it. It was much nicer weather than yesterday, so it was an enjoyable walk, and then we tripped over “Lumino Thérapie”, which was a neat art installation made up of a field of reflectors, changing coloured lights, music, and projected images. Hard to describe but neat to experience, especially since it was unplanned.

Cathédrale Christ Church

Église Unie Saint-James

Me, at Lumino Thérapie

Lumino Thérapie. The lights changed colours a bit, and there were speakers hidden among the reflectors playing quite nice soothing music.

There was a whole crazy animated something going on on the side of this building.

We then took the Metro back towards our hotel, had our “nice meal” of the trip at a little Italian place called Pizzedelic, and took our (delicious) dessert back to our hotel room to enjoy with tea.


Good night everyone…and happy birthday, Katie!



Posted on January 8, 2014, in travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a nice day!
    aww! you remembered Katie’s birthday, I will show her in the morning! She actually said today that she should phone Auntie Ali on her birthday because she wouldn’t be able to come to the party:)

  2. Sounds like you’re enjoying Montreal; neat to see all those old buildings. We should be seeing our share of historic buildings today, since we’re headed to Savannah.
    …Mom S

  3. Mom and Dad Veenendaal

    You posted too late last night for us old folks but we enjoyed the tour with you. We are now into the single digits minus so we’re smiling too.

    Dad and Mom Veenendaal

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