June 10 to 16, 2018.
Welcome back readers! On the train from Toronto to Montreal we upgraded to first class and had a lovely journey with muchies and wine. Barb is looking pretty chill.
Day 2 a walking tour of Old Montreal. Staying in Old Montreal allowed us to use Notre Dame Basilica as a centre point to the exploring we did in the area. This beautiful old cathedral is as stunning as anything we saw in Europe. Constructed 300 years ago and built by an American Irishman it literally sits on the trunks of trees.
Montreal's flag pays tribute to its many influences, the French, the Scots, the Irish, Great Britain and the Indigenous Algonquins who settled on Mount Royal and must have seen the new explorers coming for miles down the St. Lawrence river.
One sunny day we walked to the Port of Montreal which included a long walkway along the St. Lawrence. There was a science centre and IMAX and a number of museums along the route - one of which, the Archeologcy museum told an interesting tale about the founding of Montreal and housed many artifacts of early settlers and their lifestyle along the river.
We had lunch looking over the Port of Montreal. We forgot that Montreal is an island and in its early history was a strategic port for the burgeoning New France and later Canada.
A funky statue outside our boutique hotel pretty much described this old bank building refurbished into big hotel rooms with large windows and high ceilings. We loved this unique hotel situated close to shops, food and entertainment. Next door was a gluten free bakery that Barb adopted as her own.
Part of the Berlin wall was a gift from Germany to Montrel on their 350th birthday. It sits on the site of the original wall that surrounded Montreal when the city was first developed by French settlers. It's inside a mall so kind of strange place but certainly covered from rain and cold.
Tom and our musical nephew Jordan discussing musical equipment and Jordan's impending trip to Europe - so what does he do with the gear? He and a friend joined us at the Paul Simon Concert at the Bell Centre the next evening. He lives in an area called the Plateau and we got a glimpse of "not old" Montreal.
Paul was in fine form as he looked back on his musical story with humour and humility. One of the very best songwriters and guitarists to ever come along. He had the crowd eating out of his hand as with his encouragement we danced and sang along on all the songs we recognized. Even as a seasoned performer he played some of his newer compositions showing us all that life continues to offer new influences and challenges.
We had brunch with a wonderful young couple Amanda and Connor, formerly from Saskatoon and enjoyed speaking of their ambitions and memories of their home town. Connor's family was originally from Prince Albert so Tom was right in there trying to find a family/friend connection but not succeeding. They are young but they know what they want to accomplish.
On to Toronto we went from our hotel down to the Westin and bought tickets to Toronto Island and did a short tour on another lovely day. When you are on the island it's quiet and peaceful and green and your forget you are just a five minute ferry ride away from the largest city in Canada. We enjoyed the serenity before we had to cross back and join the hubub of the downtown crowds.
The BlueJays had a great week like we did. The first game was a come from behinder and the second a pitching duel with Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Marco Estrada of the Jays. The roof was open and the homeruns were flying.
Barb looks lovingly into the eyes of Kevin Pillar. We love his hustle and willingness to sacrifice everything to catch the flyball. Go Jays!
A great week in eastern Canada. We were charmed by the streets of Montreal and at times overwhelmed at the energy of Toronto but we enjoyed ourselves, ate well, found some amazing wines and clocked 10 km plus a day on the walkometer.
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