Here we are, back in Canada! Our trip in the US had ended and we headed to Montreal after that. Over there for a little over a week and a half, we wanted to spend a bit of time because of the fact that it’s a french speaking area in North America! Also has the reputation of being a great diverse city.
We were renting a flat in Hochelaga, which is a cool antifascist neighbourhood in East Montreal. We were lucky to know Phil from the Gutter Demons, he showed us the cool spots and introduced us to his friends. The actual night of Halloween, we had drinks together at the Foufounes Électriques and we even saw the Gutter Demons play live on a radio show, pretty cool introduction to Montréal!
There is a very good alternative music scene in Montreal. While over there, we attended a few shows. We saw the Creepshow at the Petit Campus, we’re not huge fans but they are good musicians and it was nice to meet and talk to people from the Psychobilly scene in Quebec. Another night, Jeremy went to see les Fucking Raymonds, a hilarious Ramones cover band that sings in Quebec french. They were playing at the Katacombes, a very cool co-op venue known for its punk shows. A week after, we were there again to see Bloodshot Bill and the Hiccups for their album release. Excellent show, special mention to the Lab Ratz which were excellent too, great Psychobilly band from Montreal.
For Jeremy’s birthday, we got tickets to see a hockey game. Les Canadiens (Montreal team) were playing against the Capitals (Washington) at home. It was our first time at a live hockey game and we thought it was awesome! There was a great atmosphere, the game was super entertaining, things went fast and the Canadiens won in the last 5 minutes. We are definitely going to follow Hockey from Europe once we’re back…
There are lots of churches and religious spaces in Montreal, it’s quite insane. At every street corner, you’re confronted with a massive cathedral or church. We visited a few. The first one was Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal. It is highly decorated and very impressive. Old Montreal is also a pretty cool area to walk in, it resembles Paris in some ways.
The second religious spot that we checked out was the Saint Joseph Oratory on Mont Royal. Also an impressive building with a great view of the city. We then walked from there to Duluth Avenue, going through Mont Royal park. Duluth is full of little shops, restaurants, bars and record stores, very nice area to spend an afternoon.
The third one was a presbyterian church that has been converted into a museum now, The Quebec’s Master and Artisans Museum. The church has been moved from downtown to a location in West Montreal, decades ago. The exhibition was pretty short but very interesting, and we got the chance to be allowed upstairs and have a look at the massive organ.
The Montreal Botanical Garden is free and amazing. There is a chinese, a japanese, a first nation and a rose garden. Also some great art made of wood. Definitely a place to spend a sunny afternoon at.
There are some really cool bars and places to go out in the city. In our neighbourhood, we mainly went out to the Blind Pig (good beers) and the Trèfle (Irish pub). Downtown, our favourite bar was les Foufounes Électriques. Also a nice place to have after show drinks was the Cabaret Vol de Nuit.
Another thing that we really liked in Montreal was the food: finally some proper bread and cheese! And the poutine here is something else… For those who don’t know what a poutine is, it’s a Quebec dish that consists of a portion of fries topped up with melted cheese curds and gravy. If you have a fancy one, they usually also throw in some more ingredients. Montreal is also famous for their Jewish deli sandwiches with smoked meat. We dined at Schwartz’s Deli one night and it was delicious indeed. In Hochelaga, we had great vegan food at Antidote.
During our stay in Montreal, we tried hard to sell our car, without success. Being from another province, it had to pass a mechanical inspection to be allowed on the roads of Quebec. I’m guessing that was a big turnoff for people. On the last day, someone was gonna to buy it and got a mechanic to have a look at it. Turns out it has a leak in the coolant system, so some antifreeze liquid goes in the engine. Not a problem in BC’s mild climate and the US at the time we drove through it, but a huge issue in extreme temperatures, so that was definitely gonna be a problem when winter comes in Quebec or Ontario. To fix it would have been a $1500 bill since the whole engine has to be taken apart. Aaaarrrgh whatever, we’ll use it until the end and get rid of it for cheap. Montreal we love you, let’s drive to our last stop, Toronto!