Eventually our Great North American Road Trip had to end; it had been one hell of a ride with so many highlights that picking ‘the’ best would be impossible. Renee had work to start in Montreal so for a little while we would call this city home. I’ve now been living in Montreal for a number of months and can reflect with confidence on the 5 aspects of Montreal I love the most.
Four Distinct Seasons
Montreal differs to my home city of Auckland in that it has four distinct seasons; Celsius temperatures can range from the minus thirties in the winter to positive thirties in the summer. Fall (otherwise known as Autumn) is distinct with its bright foliage colours as the deciduous trees drop their leaves. Plus there is also a distinct Spring, not sure what happens in Spring but I’m about to find out. Montreal is a great city to enjoy the weather; from freezing snow covered winter days to super hot, blue sky summer days – Montreal has it all.
Cycle Culture (In the Summer)
Montreal is a great city to get around by bicycle (when it is not raining or snowing). There are plenty of cycle lanes which are widely used plus there is a great bicycle rental network called ‘Bixi’ which have a network of over 5000 bicycles held at over 400 stations around the city. I’ve never used a Bixi myself because I own my own bike, but they are widely used and reasonably priced.
Merger of French and English Culture
Most Montrealers’ speak both French and English fluently however certain parts of the city are predominantly more English (Anglophone) or French (Francophone). I’m continuously impressed with the linguistic capabilities of the general population of this city and also the selective use of languages – a conversation may switch between English and French sporadically to better describe the conversationalists point. The movie ‘Bon Cop, Bad Cop’ is a funny example showing the use of Quebec French and English languages and cultural differences and mergers.
Parc du Mont-Royal
Designed by the same guy who did New York’s Central Park, Mount Royal Park really is an awesome aspect of Montreal. The park offers a mix of open grass areas and forested woodland areas plus a hill (proudly known as ‘the mountain’) and a man made lake. The park is excellent for summer picnics, walking and biking. In the winter cross-country skiing, ice skating, tobogganing and snowshoeing are all popular. A variety of wildlife also calls the park home including squirrels, raccoons, red foxes and numerous bird species. Mount Royal Park truly is a great place to hang out in the summer, to exercise and to enjoy the winter outdoors.
The Big One
Festivals (Especially Summer)
Montreal is known for being the cultural hub of Canada and the city really comes to life in the Summer months with countless small and a string of large well known festivals. The comedy festival ‘Just For Laughs’ is apparently the largest but other well known festivals include the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal World Film Festival and the Montreal Fireworks Festival which I’m looking forward to photographing.
Hope you enjoyed the aspects of Montreal I love. Hopefully I’ve just given you five reasons to visit Montreal!