Bonjour, Hello! We are now in Montréal.

It is wonderful to be in a city where you are almost always greeted in both languages. You hear “Bonjour, Hello!” as if it were one whole word. According to our cousin Jessica, who has been in Montréal for four years, if you don’t speak and give away your preferred language, those greeting you will sometimes just keep speaking both English and French just to be sure. Très intéressant.

View the Montréal photos here.

Arriving in Montréal, lanterns light our way

Jessica and Liz

Jessica and Liz

Speaking of Jessica, she greeted us at the VIA train station the day we arrived, and took us out for supper. We all had wonderful lasagna at an Italian restaurant themed after witches (we were in the gay-bourhood, and Robin spotted a man with his slave on a leash). We had taken the five hour trip from Toronto on Friday afternoon, hoping to see the fall colours, but which we are still eagerly awaiting – the green is only starting to leave (is that a pun?). 

Seahorse lanterns

Seahorse lanterns

A few nights later, Jessica invited us out to see the Chinese lantern display at the botanical gardens, and we were accompanied by her roommate and good friend Liz (yes, that made things confusing). We went at night so we could see the lanterns lit up and it made us feel like kids at a carnival. Please do check out the pictures, it was a gorgeous display. A riot of colour (Liz’s words).

Tea party in the park

Our good friend and long time co-worker/office-mate, Dups, also lives in Montréal (it is awesome to have friends in so many places). We smuggled in a copy of Rock Band 2 for him and his friends, which we purchased in Toronto, since Québec language laws don’t allow RB2 to be sold here, as the songs aren’t translated into French. Although, we all mused at how funny it would be to hear “Hungry Like A Wolf” en français.

Dups graciously invited us to a tea party in the park Saturday afternoon in Parc Jeanne Mance, where a group of his friends were gathering to say au revoir to one of them that was about to travel to Rwanda and beyond. There were blankets sat upon the grass, and as time went by, more and more people arrived bearing a variety of teas and dinosaur-shaped sandwiches. The nutella brontosauruses were particularly tasty. It was a beautiful day, and we met many friendly and charming people, who made us feel at home.

Downtown, the Underground City, and Mont Royal

Mont Royal

Mont Royal

After slowing our pace for a few days while Robin recovered from a brief cold, we headed out to explore once again. Our destination was downtown and Mont Royal. We didn’t know this before, but not only is Montréal a big ass island, but it has a mountain just north of downtown (or at least a very tall hill at 700 ft), Mont Royal. Once you hear the name pronounced in french, you realise that Montréal is named after Mont Royal. We really enjoyed hiking up the mountain, even though the main entrance pathway is undergoing construction of some sort. The views from the top are spectacular.

rue Crescent

rue Crescent

Downtown Montréal is fun. We always assumed it would be similar to Toronto, but we find it is quite different. Not quite as looming, and much more relaxed! Overall we get a calm feeling in Montréal (at least, once Robin got over his anxiety about not speaking french fluently… which hasn’t been a problem at all). 

Spiral staircase

Spiral staircase

The most interesting architectural feature has been the exterior spiral staircases leading to second and higher floors of the older houses. You see them everywhere. They are quite beautiful, but at such sharp inclines, the practicality of such design during Canadian winters is somewhat questionable :) Speaking of winter, downtown features an extensive Underground City, where one can escape from the fierce cold outside (though currently it is mild and lovely). The Underground City is essentially West Edmonton Mall, but underground (sans waterpark and pirate ships).

Overall, we are enjoying Montréal immensely.

A bit more Toronto

Before we left Toronto last week, we had the chance to take in a few more activities.

View the Toronto photos here.


At the Science Centre

The Science Centre was fun, and we enjoyed a lay-down in the planetarium, but overall it showed us how impressive the Edmonton Science Centre really is in comparison.

Liz Loves Früli

Liz Loves Früli

We visited the Bier Markt (beer market) with Cecilia, a restaurant with 100′s of beers and a great patio near the distillery district. We all sat in the intermittent rain under an umbrella and drank beer with our meals for hours. Liz fell in love with the Belgian lambic beers (they are mixed with fruit juices). Früli, a strawberry lambic, was the top pick for her. Robin tried many beers, including Hobgoblin beer made in Wychwood. Ooooo. Cecilia tried a cool beer that was made with tequila and lime called Desperados. Surprisingly enough, it was made in France, not Mexico.

Mmm... Hobgoblin

Mmm... Hobgoblin

We took a mix of buses, trolleys, and trains to get out to the Toronto Zoo (1.5hrs one way!) We didn’t have all the time needed to see everything, so we prioritized. Our favs were a pygmy hippo, a wrinkly rhino, orangutans drinking what looked like tang, and the coral reef exhibit. We took a few videos of the awesome jellyfish tank, and Liz pocketed a few acorns.

Videos: Jellyfish, Seahorses, Anemone

Omakaze dish #4

Omakaze dish 5

Takesushi was a restaurant recommended to us by Ray Lim, specifically the chef’s special, called Omakaze. We needed to order it in advance (the most spectacular of which actually requires 3-days notice!) We didn’t know what to expect, but couldn’t have been more enchanted with the nine course Japanese meal that unfolded. We shared the medium level Omakaze at $85, and we savoured every dish (and we are still fantasizing about it). The dishes ranged from the most elegant sushi we’ve seen, to simple traditional soups that exploded with flavour. Robin also had his first raw oyster, pictured, served with two types of uni (sea urchin). Yum!

We will leave you now with a tranquil video of the bubble machine on Kensington that greeted us each time we ventured to that market…

Video: Bubble machine

Until next time!

Liz and Robin

Au Revoir

Au Revoir

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7 Responses to “Bonjour, Hello! We are now in Montréal.”

  1. Joce Says:

    FYI, I don’t believe that RB2 isn’t available because the _songs_ aren’t translated, but rather the UI / Menus etc.
    For the records, all the Guitar Heroes & RB1 were sold in Québec.

  2. Marlene Says:

    Hi, the Chinese lanterns are incredible!! Love the rooster, I must admit he is my favorite.

  3. Pam Says:

    Posted on wrong one!

    Happy Birthday Robin!!!!

  4. Cody Says:

    Happy birthday to you..Lalala..Happy birthday to you….ooh ooh ooh…Happy birthday dear Robin…Happy birthday to you…now 32!
    Hope you have a great day on the 27th!
    Love Cody, Diarmuid and Emma
    quote from Emma: ” Appy durday unc Robeen”

  5. White Calf Says:

    Happy Birthday Robin – enjoy! love you and miss you mom

  6. Marlene Says:

    This is from your Gran, Robin. Happy 32nd Birthday. Lots of Love, xoxoxoxo

  7. Robin Says:

    Thanks for the birthday wishes!!! I spent the day riding waaay too many rollercoasters :p Will post about it soon.

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