A weekend away to practice my French. Not really, it was my birthday celebration. Arriving on Friday evening, it was freezing around -10C. Either way, I decided to take on the worrying weather.
First, I took the 747E autobus from Pierre Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to the Courtyard by Marriott Montreal Downtown. It costs 10 Canadian dollars. My home for three days was in a good central location.
After settling in, I decided where to go for dinner. Close by, Bonaparte Restaurant was welcoming. Their savory seafood menu is amazing. I highly recommend the shrimp and scallops entree. The gourmet dinner menu was a bit of a splurge but birthdays only come once a year. Then for drinks, Notkins was a lively bistro bar with old school tunes to get anyone moving. Soon enough, it was time to call it a night.
Saturday morning, the Canadian Centre for Architecture was calling. The exhibition on display: It’s All Happening So Fast. Learning about Canada’s water consumption and views on desertification was well interesting. Then the wonderful walk along La Rue René-Lévesque was lovely seeing statues and the beautiful cathedral. Next I visited MAC, Musee d’art de contemporain de Montréal. The admission is 15 Canadian dollars. The exhibitions on display were: For time is the longest distance between two places and Le Biennale de Montréal. I spent over an hour there mesmerized by about thirty rooms highlighting modern art. You can tell I’m an art admirer. My favourite piece was an oil on canvas 2015 painting, ‘Long Distance’ by Nicole Eisenman. Staring at the work made me think about so many things at once. The coffee cup, calendar, element of writing with stationary and the screen are all there. It represented all the things that couldn’t be said for many in long distance relationships. Let’s call it a moment of realization in life.
Eventually it was time for a 1pm lunch. Strolling over to La Rue Square Victoria, I discovered Ê.A.T (Être-Avec-Toi). Translated into English, it means to be with you. It was a cool contemporary concept restaurant moderately priced and positioned in the W Hotel. There were detailed drawings and illustrations as wall décor. Also the cool vibes with ambient electronica music setting the atmosphere. The manager and waiters had excellent customer service too. I was fully taking in Montréal’s hospitality.
Exploring must be in my DNA because about an hour later, I was getting lost in Vieux Montréal (Old Montréal) and enjoying it. So many cafés and shops to embrace Canadian culture. Later on at 4pm, I met up with two friends who were staying in the gay village of the city at a hostel. Was it fun? Oh yes! Especially when they’re both named Alex and it’s happy hour forever. Drinking beer, throwing darts and playing pool in a massive basement while having crazy conversations about international current affairs was my evening. The excitement continued until my stomach grumbled. Must be dinner about 9pm. Of course coming here, I had to eat poutine at least once. There it is below and it was so filling.
To end the night at 11pm, I attended a gig for Ferry Corsten and Kungs at the vibrant entertainment venue, New City Gas. There wasn’t a long queue to enter. I saw that Canadians do dress up to go out. They party hard as well. Lots of dance and debauchery took place for around three hours. And I loved every minute of the music.
Now it was Sunday Funday! Being lazy, I ate at the hotel’s restaurant, Le Darlington. Yes it was very darling lol. Then the time came for the inevitable as the concierge brought my carry-on. A 40 minute bus ride to the airport. Taking in all of the art, architecture and beauty left to see, I smiled at the Montréal cityscape. In all, it was a great weekend. Merci Montréal. A bientôt, bisous!
All photos taken by Niya Sinckler.