Tag Archives: european

Oh, Canada.

17 Jun

Well I’ve been to the Great White North and have survived! Of course, that survival wasn’t always granted what with torrential downpours and scores of French Canadians all around me. Also, they have giant, mutated beers and fries doused in gravy and cheese curds that can stop a man’s heart in just three beats I’m told. But I’ll get to that. First off, we were up there to see the Canadian Grand Prix, which is the annual Formula One race held at the Circuit Gilles Villenueve. If you are into car pictures or want to read about that, here is a link to my other blog, autopinionsbyvolk.wordpress.com. For this entry, I’ll stick mostly to the other part of the weekend and pictures of my trip outside the car world.

Staying in Montreal during a race weekend can be a harrowing experience. If you don’t get a room pretty quickly, you won’t be able to go, or you can go and just bring a sleeping bag and camp out in the park like so many of the homeless do! Now THAT would be an experience! However, we were not reduced to living like human filth, and so wound up in a bed and breakfast where we had stayed the last time we were at the race. It’s a very nice place with a great owner. This is the extent of my room. It was about 7X7 and the bathroom was up some very steep stairs and down the hall. But I had a TV, a fan and all the city noise I could stand right outside my window every night. The B&B features great breakfasts and a nice porch area for sitting around and chilling though, so it’s not as bad as it first might seem. Actually, it’s pretty cozy and most of the time we weren’t in the room anyway.

My room in Montreal

My room in Montreal

The other side of my room in Montreal

The other side of my room in Montreal

B&B porch

B&B porch

Downtown Montreal is a nice place as well, but it gets really crowded during race weekends. They have some cool stuff like this permanent music venue right next to the museum of contemporary art. Here you can see a dude playing an acoustic guitar. He was horrible and so was his music, but they all seemed to love what he was playing. Suffice it to say, I moved on pretty quickly.

Music venue downtown Montreal

Music venue downtown Montreal

Some musician who was really lame but everyone loved

Some musician who was really lame but everyone loved

This giant church here is St. Joseph’s Oratory. It is the third largest domed basilica in the world and the largest church in Canada. It takes a ton of effort to walk up all of those stairs, but the real test is that middle part that is differently colored. Those are for people who want to go up to the summit on their knees while praying. That is true dedication and we even saw someone doing just that.

St. Joseph's Oratory

St. Joseph's Oratory

St. Joseph's Oratory

St. Joseph's Oratory

View from St. Joseph's Oratory

View from St. Joseph's Oratory

Praying on knees up every single step

Praying on knees up every single step

Near the basilica is a huge cemetery. In the past I have blogged about the huge Lakewood cemetery that is near me, but this place is insane. It houses over 1 million graves and there is a lot of room to expand. It is so large that it would have taken me probably two whole days just to explore it, so needless to say I didn’t get to spend the time in here checking out cool old gravesites like I would have liked. But I snapped a few pictures of some of the more famous (and close-at-hand) tombstones there. In fact, the guy who composed the national anthem, “O Canada,” is buried somewhere in this place, though I didn’t venture far enough in to find his final resting place.

Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery

Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery

This is the gravesite for the guy who designed the cemetery. Thought he would have better digs.

Rocket

Grave of Maurice "Rocket" Richard, famous Montreal Canadiens hockey player.

Some other cool things about Montreal include the fact that the city itself has a nice old part and a new downtown, so you can stroll down a narrow, cobblestone street and then get dressed up in the evening and go to where the action is downtown. Montreal also has giant beers for about $6 (giant in that they are 32 oz, or 2 ¾ beers) and they also have this great Jack and Cola in a can. No more need to mix, just grab your six pack and go! Neat, and also my new favorite!

Jack and Cola

Jack and Cola in a can

Giant Molson

Giant Molson

If you are ever planning on taking a trip somewhere in Canada (or want to experience a false France for pretty cheap), I’d recommend Montreal. It’s a great city with a very French flair and feels thoroughly European throughout. It’s like flying to France without the hassle of an eight hour flight, although you still get the hassle of snobby, pushy and somewhat rude French Canadians.

View of Montreal

View of Montreal

View of Montreal

View of Montreal

Downtown streets on race weekend

Downtown streets on race weekend

Downtown streets on race weekend

Downtown streets on race weekend

Entrance to Chinatown

Entrance to Chinatown

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

Old Montreal

Old Montreal at night

Old Montreal at night