Montreal Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

Walking Across the Jacques-Cartier Bridge

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Built in 1930, the Jacques Cartier Bridge connects the Island of Montreal to both the Île Sainte-Hélène and the mainland shore of Longueuil. It’s one of Canada’s busiest bridges, on which traffic comes to a standstill during rush-hour, but a separate lane for pedestrians and bikes provides an incredible view of the city’s skyline.

Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal

Plenty of bikers use the Jacques Cartier Bridge, but we were the only walkers when we crossed on a Friday morning. It wasn’t really a surprise: crossing the bridge by foot isn’t a practical solution for people who need to get places. Its total length is almost three kilometers, and the subway is more convenient for almost every conceivable situation.

Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal

But if you’re looking for a different view of Montreal, the bridge is an excellent option. With a maximum height of 104 meters (341 feet), you’re far above the water, allowing you to look over Île Saint-Hélène, La Ronde theme park, the Molson Brewery, and across to downtown Montreal. And although the noise of the traffic is aggravating, you might find that the photo opportunities are worth it.

Location on our Map

Book Your Montreal Hotel Here

Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
Jacques Carier Bridge Montreal
, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
June 18, 2016 at 9:58 pm Comments (0)

Habitat 67

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Perhaps the most iconic piece of architecture in Montreal is Habitat 67, designed by Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie for the city’s World Expo. The brutalist interlocking system of identical concrete living cubes still seems as outlandish and visionary as it must have in 1967.

Habitat 67 is what might happen if you were to give 354 identical blocks to a six-year-old, and ask them to create a building. I’ve chosen the age “six” deliberately. A five-year-old would make a mess of it, while a seven-year-old would come up with something more classically elegant. Habitat 67 is what a six-year-old would design: weird, chaotic, and just possibly stable. (You’d look at it for half-a-second, and say something patronizing like “Wonderful, darling.” But later that night, you’d consider the structure more carefully and wonder if you don’t have a little genius on your hands.)

The 354 blocks which comprise Habitat 67 are indeed identical, although the apartments found within the building are not. There are a wide range of apartment sizes and layouts, because the blocks can be purchased together and then interconnected. Safdie’s intention was to create a model for affordable, low-income housing… but that hasn’t exactly turned out to be the case with Habitat 67. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. This bizarre structure has become a recognized architectural landmark, and the prices of its apartments are astronomical.

Habitat 67 is always visible across the river from the Old Port, and every time my eye falls upon it, I think either, “My god, is that building ugly!” or “God, it’s so cool!” We couldn’t resist getting a closer look. Standing right in front of it, we were able to verify the wealth of the people who call it home… almost every single plain gray-brown concrete block had some fancy work of art displayed in the window. As if to pronounce, “Yes, I might live in a hideous container, but look at the ostentatious art I can afford!”

If you don’t have a car, it’s not easy to reach Habitat 67; it seems close, since it’s just across the channel, but you have to walk or bike a long way before arriving. So as long as you’ve made the effort, make sure to walk around the back of the building. You’ll find a little path along a chain-link fence that eventually leads down to the river. Here, the water hits a small set of rapids, creating an ideal “standing surf” spot. It’s popular among surfers and kayakers, as it allows them to ride an endless wave.

Location on our Map

The Drone We Used To Shoot The Video Below

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
June 15, 2016 at 10:44 pm Comments (0)

The Old Port of Montreal

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

In 1976, the same year as it would be hosting the Summer Olympics, Montreal moved its port a few kilometers downstream, opening up a significant section of prime riverside land in the historic center. The Old Port was redeveloped in the 1990s and has since become one of Montreal’s favorite hangout zones, with parks, museums, activities, cafes and even a beach.

Old Port Montreal

Over six million people visit the Old Port of Montreal every year. It didn’t surprise me to learn that, because during the day we spent walking around, I counted at least half that many. Of course, we were there on the first truly warm day of the year, which was also a Saturday. It had been a long and cold spring, and with the long-anticipated arrival of good weather, everyone in Montreal grabbed their picnic baskets, bikes and kids, and ran straight toward the water.

We started our exploration of the port district at the Montreal Clock Tower, which was built in 1919 and dedicated to the Canadian casualties of World War I. The tower marks the easternmost end of the park, and you can climb its stairs for a view of the area.

Old Port Montreal

During summer weekends, there’s almost always some sort of event at the Old Port. While we were visiting, a multimedia exhibit called Chromatic had occupied one of the old storehouses. Inside, we found interactive installations, sculptures and weird art. We spent probably fifteen minutes watching Guillaume Marmin’s project Hara: in a dark room filled with smoke, a geometric set of lasers burn intricate patterns into the air. Randomly discovering such a cool festival felt like a very Montreal type of experience.

Old Port Montreal

We continued walking around outside. Above our heads, people were zip-lining over the port. There were kids playing soccer, mountain climbers scaling an old tower, frustrated sunbathers lamenting that the Clock Tower beach hadn’t yet opened for the year, couples renting paddleboats, friends drinking at various beer gardens, and families heading into the cool of the IMAX theater and Science Museum.

Although these activities looked fun, we were content just to slowly walk south along the river, and take it all in. Elements of the Old Port’s former life as a shipping center were all around, from the store houses to docks, lending a authentic charm to the area. It’s nice to see that a formerly industrial zone like this can find such a great new purpose.

Location on our Map: Old Clock Tower
Old Port –

This is our drone

Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
Old Port Montreal
, , , , , , , ,
June 14, 2016 at 12:49 pm Comment (1)

A Night at the Casino

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Housed in the former French Pavilion from the 1967 World Expo, Montreal’s state-run casino opened in 1993, and has become one of the most popular spots in the city. This is the largest casino in Canada, and is as memorable for its unique architecture as for its rollicking atmosphere. We were invited to check it out on a Saturday night.

Montreal Casino

The last couple casinos we’ve visited haven’t been so great; sad, dingy places with chain-smokers joylessly feeding machines and lifeless tables, where you leave feeling bad about yourself even if you happen to have won. But I’m happy to report that Montreal’s Casino is not like that. This is the fun type. It’s the kind of place you go to have a good time, and where gambling is almost an afterthought.

We started enjoying ourselves the moment we stepped inside. Just past the entrance, a band was rocking out in front of a large crowd, most of whom were dancing. The bar area was packed, the machines were ringing, the noise level was insane, and everything was lit up by a massive LED-backdrop the size of a tennis court which extends from behind the stage all the way up to the top floor.

Montreal Casino

Unlike in most casinos, there are plenty of windows and a real sense of space; in Montreal, they’re not trying to confuse you with a maze of slot machines, or make you forget the time of day. The floors of the casino are interconnected by an open central atrium, so that even from the top, you can look all the way down to see the band jamming. And the views are beautiful… the casino is mostly surrounded by water, and the skyline of downtown Montreal is visible in the near distance.

The main building of the casino is the former French Pavilion, built for Expo 67, and it’s also connected to the neighboring gold cube of the Quebec Pavilion, where you’ll find yet more floors of games, as well as the poker tables. This was perhaps the only place in the casino that I would characterize as “quiet.” The people seated around these tables were concentrating so intensely, it was intimidating. If we hoped to one day be able to take a place here, we were going to need some lessons.

Montreal Casino

Luckily, we knew where to go. Jonathan Duhamel, a world poker champion, was on-hand at the casino to give free lessons. He’s a native of Quebec and often makes appearances. The game we learned with him was three-card poker, a variation which I’d never heard of before. We played a few hands and, within fifteen minutes, went from total newbies to totally overconfident. Time to hit the tables!

Montreal Casino

We wandered over to the a room called “The Zone”, which was unlike anything I’d ever seen in a casino. This was more like a dance club, with a set of four DJs on the stage. Except, instead of dancing, we were sitting at terminals playing blackjack, and instead of spinning records, the DJs were flipping cards over. Everyone in The Zone was playing the same hands, and it was all live-projected on the screens behind DJ Croupier… so if he busted, everyone won.

After playing there and at a couple more traditional tables, we gathered up our winnings and went to the casino’s restaurant on the top floor. Even though it was late at night, this place was packed, and for good reason: the food is excellent and the prices are surprisingly reasonable. Plus, from so high up, you get a great view over the city.

Montreal Casino

We had an awesome night out at the Montreal Casino, although I’m not sure that’s good news. Our last casino experiences had been so miserable, that we had started to lose our love of gambling. But now it’s been rekindled! Even as we were leaving the casino, I was plotting how to justify a return trip.

(Later that evening, as I was getting ready for bed, I discovered twenty dollars worth of chips still in my pocket. “Oh my, I forgot to cash these in. We’ll have to go back at some point.” Jürgen regarded me suspiciously… I’m not sure I fooled him. And I’m not sure I care!)

Location on our Map
Montreal Casino – Website

All of our drone videos

Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
Montreal Casino
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
May 30, 2016 at 8:11 pm Comment (1)

Under the Dome at SAT – Société des Arts Technologiques

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

At first glance, you might mistake the gleaming dome on Boulevard St. Laurent for that of a modern mosque. But in fact, it’s an immersive exhibition space utilized by Montreal’s Society of Technological Arts, or SAT. SAT is a collective of artists and engineers dedicated to a wide array of projects, from mind-bending multimedia shows in the dome, to practical networking and communication applications.

Société des Arts Technologiques

Montreal is equally accomplished in both the worlds of culture and high-tech; not only is this city home to Cirque du Soleil and the world’s largest jazz festival, but it’s also an important hub of the aerospace and video gaming sectors. So a place like SAT, a non-profit organization which blends the arts with technology, feels right at home.

About fifty people work full-time at SAT, but there’s a constant influx of artists from all over the world, who come for temporary projects. The organization hosts courses in multimedia disciplines like “Creation of Online Films” and “Compositing Video with After Effects,” offers residencies and even runs technological summer youth camps.

Société des Arts Technologiques

SAT also opens its doors to the public, welcoming visitors to its third-story terrace restaurant every evening after 5pm. This is a cool spot to hang out and, if the Wednesday night crowd we saw is any indication, it’s not exactly a “hidden secret.” We snatched a table outside on the terrace to enjoy a beer in the sun, and played a SAT-inspired game: is that person an artist or an engineer? It’s surprisingly difficult, both groups seem to have the same fashion sense, and are apparently big beard fans.

We couldn’t linger on the terrace for too long, because a show was starting in the Satosphère. This dome was built in 2011, and is used primarily for immersive artistic endeavors such as “Cauchemar Merveilleux,” the show we’d be seeing. This was a bizarre merging of the poetry of French performer Arthur H and computer-generated visual projections that simulated clouds, stars, tunnels and skyscrapers. It was all in French, so I didn’t understand much (except for the bit about Batman being a homosexual cyborg… which… I guess you couldn’t really say I “understood.”) On weekends, the Satosphère is used for live sets featuring both DJs and VJs, who live-mix video projections against the dome.

Location on our Map
SAT (Société des Arts Technologiques) – Website

Get your own drone

Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
Société des Arts Technologiques
, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
April 29, 2016 at 2:08 pm Comments (0)

La Sucrerie de la Montagne

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

You can’t take a trip to Quebec without at least once visiting a Sugar Shack. I’m pretty sure that’s a law. Jürgen and I spent a sunny April afternoon at La Sucrerie de la Montagne, about an hour west of Montreal. We walked around the maple trees, peeked into the buckets, learned how the sap is boiled down, and enjoyed a hearty meal… all of it drenched in maple syrup, of course.

La Sucrerie de la Montagne

When we first met Pierre Faucher, the owner of the Sucrerie de la Montagne, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Hollywood itself couldn’t have cast a more perfect “Quebec Maple Syrup Man.” With his burly build and undisciplined grey beard, he looked like he’d been born in the woods, raised by bears, and weaned on maple syrup.

La Sucrerie de la Montagne

And in fact, Pierre is as Québécois as they come. He’s directly descended from a family who arrived from France in 1659, and were among the first settlers. He told us that almost all of the other families had perished in the early years of New France. “Only the strongest survived,” he boasted, pounding his chest. And when we met Pierre’s son, Stefan, the hearty blood lineage was confirmed — Stefan looks just like his father, but was even a little bigger.

Early April turned out to be prime season for maple syrup production — there’s only a brief, one-month window during which all the syrup for an entire year is produced. We had found Pierre hard at work inside the shack where the sap is boiled down into syrup. It was one of those perfect moments: opening the door to a log cabin in the middle of the Quebec woods, to find this mountain man shoveling logs into an old oven, while plumes of sweet-smelling vapor filled the room.

I get the feeling that, during the short production season, Pierre is inside the shack almost non-stop. The sap which comes from the trees is clear and watery; it needs to be boiled down from 40 parts to one, so it’s a long, painstaking process… and when the syrup is finally ready, there’s cause for celebration. We were lucky enough to be in the room when the “liquid gold” began dripping and then flowing out of the vat. Pierre lit up with joy. “Look at it go! Wonderful!”

La Sucrerie de la Montagne

I had almost the same reaction an hour later, after we had sat down for lunch, and the food began arriving at our table. “Sausages, ham, potatoes, beans and soufflé? All we can eat? Wonderful!” Naturally, there was a big bottle of maple syrup was at our table, which we made liberal use of. We drank maple-flavored beer and had a dessert of pancakes and sugar pie, both of which we drowned in syrup. Because sugar pie definitely needs maple syrup. This meal was nearly enough to induce a coma… a Sugar Shock at the Sugar Shack.

So, during our first couple weeks in Montreal, Jürgen and I had seen the Canadiens play hockey, visited a sugar shack, and learned that (for some reason) uttering the word “tabernacle” in a bar is reason for riotous laughter. We were progressing! By the time we left Montreal, we’d almost be as Québécois as Pierre and Stefan Faucher. Just gotta work on the beards.

Location on our Map
Sucrerie de la Montagne – Website

La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
La Sucrerie de la Montagne
, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
April 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm Comments (0)
Walking Across the Jacques-Cartier Bridge Built in 1930, the Jacques Cartier Bridge connects the Island of Montreal to both the Île Sainte-Hélène and the mainland shore of Longueuil. It's one of Canada's busiest bridges, on which traffic comes to a standstill during rush-hour, but a separate lane for pedestrians and bikes provides an incredible view of the city's skyline.
For 91 Days