Exploring Montréal – Day Two

Better weather and lots to see and do on day two in Montréal.

We started early with breakfast at Starbucks before hopping the Métro to Pie-IX station for a visit to the Jardin botanique. There is a special exhibit going on with thousands of butterflies released in one of the buildings. It was very cool to go through the various buildings, learning about the different regions of the world and also things like spices and different fruits.

The Papillons en libérte exhibit was the highlight, to be sure. There were many kinds of butterflies fluttering about and landing here there and everywhere. The best of my photos are here.

After we left there, we walked down to the Parc Olympique area and marvelled at the Big O, built for the 1976 Olympic Games. It was Lindsey’s second Olympic Stadium visit in four days. The stadium area feels a bit neglected and tired, but I guess that’s what you get with these giant nearly single-purposed buildings.

We also checked out Le Centre sportif which was home to the diving and swimming events in 1976.

After that, we hit the Métro again and went over to the Marche Jean-Talon to grab a bit to eat and check out the market there. The lunch options were a bit disappointing, but it was nice to check out the market and see what Montréalers do for their fruits and vegatables. It was like a smaller version of Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market.

Then it was over to Mont-Royal stop on the Métro again and a bit of a long walk over to the Tam Tams and then up the trails and steps to the Parc-du-Mont-Royal and the lookout. The views were great with sunny skies having pushed the drizzle and clouds away.

We walked back down the hill, stopped for some Ben and Jerry’s and then back to the hotel to rest our early legs and watch game 6 of the Leafs vs. Boston playoff series.

Exploring Montréal – Day One

It’s our first full day in Montréal today, and it’s cold and rainy. But that isn’t getting in our way at all.

We walked over to Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral which is just around the corner from the hotel. It’s no Notre-Dame Basilica, but it was still interesting to look around and see the inside of this church.

After that, we walked down to the Lachine Canal locks and discovered two things. First, there was almost no water in the canal. Second, it was windy and cold down there. We continued our journey on foot over to the Old Port of Montréal where we planned to visit the Pointe-à-Callière museum. We were a touch early so rather than wait around, we walked up to see the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Being that it’s Easter Weekend, and likely also because of what happened in Paris this week, the lineup was about an hour to get in to see. So we opted to hop on the Metro and we took that out to see La Biosphère de Montréal.

Once back, we did visit the museum! It was really, really interesting with all sorts of ruins of the old city to see. The museum is set atop some of the foundations and original parts of the city dating back hundreds of years. You can trace the history of Montréal from the 1600’s all the way to the present day.

After a bite to eat, we walked through the Old Port area and made our way back to the Metro. I was stupid and threw away my weekend transit pass, but I figured I might be able to retrieve it as I knew exactly where I had tossed it and it didn’t actually make it into the garbage can proper. It was my lucky day as the pass was lying under the can and I was able to grab it. $13.75 saved!

Our tired feet were looking for a break, so we’re back at the hotel now resting up and planning for dinner and maybe a walk along rue Sainte-Catherine or something tonight.

Long Weekend Travel

If there’s one thing we want to instill in our kids, it’s that travel is something to be excited about and not something to be feared.

There are a ton of neat places in this world and getting to visit them is one of the privileges that we have as fairly well-to-do Canadians.

Lindsey just got back from Vancouver today after spending a week there on a YMCA cultural exchange. They visited and hung out with a group of kids from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver. In a month, the same group of kids will come here, to Toronto, to see our part of the country.

Mackenzie hopped on a plane today with my mom and they flew over to New York City for the weekend. They’ll visit the landmarks like Central Park, the Highline Trail, Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge. I didn’t visit New York until I was in my 30’s so for Mac to get to go there at age 16 is a real treat.

Montréal Skyline by Christine Wagner (CC 2.0)

We’re not immune to the travel bug either. With the kids getting to go away, Ginny and I started getting jealous. So we booked a last minute weekend in Montreal. We’ll take the train tomorrow (Friday) and stay a few days before returning on Monday.

We should probably tell Lindsey that she’s only getting one night in her own bed tonight before she’s hopping the train with us to Quebec. I think she’ll be okay with it.

Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour – Toronto Night One

The whole family took in Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour stop in Toronto on Friday.

We waited a long time for this night to come and 241 days after we bought the tickets, and 1,099 days after we decided we would go to see Taylor Swift the next time we had the chance, it was finally here.

We were sitting in section B3 row 17 seats 1-4 and the B-stage ended up being a fair bit closer than I had even expected. All we did was move down to the end of our row when everyone moved to surround the stage. She did three songs there and we were fortunate to get within about ten feet of Taylor for that part including the acoustic secret song.

We had a great view of the main stage as well with Ginny and Lindsey on the aisle so they wouldn’t have their views blocked by taller people in front. Mac and I are both tall enough that we could easily see over the crowd.

The light up LED wristbands were a cool part of the show.

Our view just prior to the start of the show. The staging was impressive with giant screens that moved up and down and revealed various levels behind where the band was located.

…Ready For It was the opening song. Obviously.

For Love Story the wristbands were pink and it was pretty magical. The mix of old and new songs made for a great concert.

She’s moved over to the B-stage now (via a suspended stage that carried her from the main stage while she sang Delicate) and then we were super close for Shake it Off.

Charli XCX and Camila Cabello joined Taylor for Shake it Off.

Fun was being had by everyone in the crowd and clearly also those on stage.

Slowing it down for the secret song right in front of us. Out of the Woods (acoustic).

Pretty epic to be so close for this set. We could hear Taylor singing.

Just a wild part of the evening…I never imagined we would be so close.

My favourite shot of the night. The spotlight was perfect.

Don’t Blame Me was probably the most theatrical and vocally impressive song of the night. Really well done.

Call It What You Want. I call it amazing.

I stopped taking photos at this point since things really just turned into a fun dance party with everyone enjoying the last few songs. Getaway Car featured some beautiful footage on the screens that was synced with the wristbands for a really nice effect. In my mind, it’s one of the best songs on the new album.

The show closed with a mashup of This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things and We Are Never Getting Back Together which I didn’t take any photos or video of since we were just having too much fun singing and dancing with everyone else.

All in all? A great show.