Monday Morning Musings

Posted on June 12, 2017 under Storytelling with no comments yet

Verdun street fair

La Belle Province.

I’m hanging out with my granddaughter in Montreal for 10 days. Her mother is performing in the Fringe Festival so I’m here to help out. Like many parts of Eastern Canada, Montreal had a crappy spring with lots and lots of rain. But now summer, has arrived ( unofficially ) and we’re seeing the city in all its splendour. And it’s a big year for the city as it celebrates its 375 birthday.

While it may appear that I do a lot of traveling, I really haven’t seen much of the world so I have nothing on which to base the following statement but… I believe that Montreal is one of the great cities in the world especially in the summer months where you’ll find a festival on just about every street corner. This past weekend, the city was just electric. The weather was awesome with warm temperatures and gentle breezes.

The big F1 race was on,  bringing tens of thousands of visitors. The Fringe Festival is also a big deal with hundreds and hundreds of acts. Many communities are holding street fairs with the major thoroughfares blocked off to vehicular traffic. It is all festive and wonderful to behold. The streets are teeming with pedestrians, musicians, vendors, food carts, clowns and jugglers. All of the street side cafes and balconies are packed with happy people. The vibe is just wonderful.

Montreal also has a first class mass transit system making it easy and quite inexpensive to get around.

Now before you get all crazy and decide to jump into your car and come and see all this for yourselves, I want to issue you a stern warning:  DO NOT DRIVE A CAR IN MONTREAL. I have driven through every major city in North America and  L.A. ( Lake Ainslie! )… no, Los Angeles is the worst. Dublin is not an easy city in which to drive. Delhi? Impossible. Only someone with a death wish would get behind the wheel in a city of 23 million drivers with no lines on the road.

I still think Montreal  trumps them all. I have never seen a city where road construction is omnipresent. Yes, major cities always have to keep highways and thoroughfares in good shape but it just never ends in Montreal. There are detours galore and unless you have a GPS or Google maps, the “ French only” signs aren’t a big help and will leave you sobbing on the side of the road as you attempt to find your destination for the fifth time.

I walked from the base of Mount Royal to Old Montreal on the weekend. I never leave the city without stopping in for a few minutes to witness the grandeur of Notre Dame Cathedral where Celine Dion was married and the place where funerals were held for icons like Jean Belliveau, Maurice “ Rocket” Richard and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. I haven’t been there since they started charging admission to go inside and look… $6.00 but well worth it.

I took my granddaughter to a family friendly afternoon of comedy, juggling and magical tricks on Sunday. They had some very young performers and some seasoned professions including a magician and illusionist who was world class.

It’s hard to get in a rut in Montreal… unless you’re driving !

Have a great week.

P.S. Thanks to the large crowd who turned out for the Armchair Traveler’s session at the library last Thursday. It was the first really warm evening  all spring and at 6:50, ten minutes before the show, there were only 3 people there. By 7:00, 55 brave souls came by.

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