Sunday, September 13, 2009

Montreal - A quick trip!

The top of Mount Royal - overlooking Montreal.

Cruising on the Saint Lawrence.

Neil at the top of Mount Royal - overlooking Montreal.

This weekend we did a quick trip to Montreal for Neil to attend a conference hosted by Merial Canada. Thursday night we stayed at the Vancouver Fairmont Airport hotel due to the early flight the next day. On my way from SFU I managed to fit in the Grouse Grind before meeting Neil at the hotel. We have stayed at this airport hotel a few times now and it is a great way to start the vacation. We spent most of Friday flying - it is about a 4.5 hour flight Vancouver to Montreal with a 3 hour time change. I really enjoy Montreal. I have been here 5 times now. It always proves to be a refresher in Canadian history and an immersion in the Bi-lingualism in Canada. In Vancouver rarely are my French skills required (despite French being a school requirement for several years) The locals are very accomodating to those of us with minimal French - I always manage to get by. Upon arrival we met up with a few other attendees and shared a taxi to the hotel. We arrived just in time to freshen up for the wine and cheese reception prior to dinner in the revolving restaurant above. It was a clear evening and a great way to see the city at night. One of the first topics of conversation revolved around the Montreal Marathon that was taking place in the city on Sunday. We had no idea the event was on...I might have signed up - always a great way to see a city! It was a great evening socializing with many interesting people. I was excited about exploring Mount Royal in the morning and many gave me tips how to get there. Saturday AM Neil was in a lecture and I headed out to explore Mount Royal - left on Rene Levesque Boulevard - right on Peel Street to the end and then straight up! I came upon a series of steps that appeared as popular as the Grouse Grind in Vancouver. All sorts climbing the steps with various routines as they climbed up and made their way down. Once at the top there were a variety of trails to explore. Since I was on my own I took a few photos at the top and opted for the wider more travelled path back down. I ran around sections of McGill University looking for the Faculty of Dentistry Building as I have been doing a project in BC with a colleague from McGill and thought a picture of the building would be good for an upcoming presentation. I was a little lost as I found myself running out of the City Center into an area that was full of night clubs etc...It was early in the AM so it was thankfully very quiet. Turned around and within minutes I was dodging the shoppers on Saint Catherines Street. I had been running now for about 3 hours and decided to head back to the hotel to get cleaned up. Neil had a few free hours in the afternoon and we went shopping on Saint Catherines Street. It was bustling with activity - fun! A few items were purchased to enhance my student wardrobe! Saturday evening we went with the Merial Group for a dinner cruise on the St. Lawrence. It was something to see the docks at night, the huge freighters and the lights of the city. Sunday AM I retraced my steps and showed Neil Mount Royal and today we found the Dentistry building at McGill. I took the picture for the upcoming presentation. Stopped in at the Starbucks en route - quick shower and off to the airport in a lightening quick taxi ride dodging the closed roads for the marathon to catch the flight home. It was a quick trip - but fun!

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