I spent the week seeing the best of Montreal with a friend. Little did I know I would be packing all my belongings into two bags and boarding a plane with a one-way ticket at the end of that week. 

The week of exploration felt like a vacation inside this exchange right inside the city. Time to get to know Montreal even better and it turns out my guide to Montreal was indeed missing a few activities that I will add when I return to Montreal someday. I want to take vacations right where I am living from now on.

Lac Castor – Mont-Royal Parc, Montreal Quebec

The highlight of the week was somewhere between finding Lac Castor and the Botanic Gardens.

After a few detours and explorations, I found a route that took less than 6 miles to run. I wanted to route us up to the lookout (mentioned in a previous post), then down past the cross, and finally down the other side to see 270 degrees of the city in one morning. Aerial views of the city bookended our week. Once from up on Mont-Royal and then again on La Grande Roue.  

We booked an AirBnB a block away from Concordia in the center of downtown. We got to see the sunrise and set over the Montreal Skyline. A new vantage point of the city from a few miles away and 30 floors up was a really fun way to know it even better.

Les Jardins Botanique

The botanic gardens were a gem even in the winter, quiet on a midweek day. “The Strange Plants of Madame Z” opened for a spring special event, which was a look into some of the world’s most strange and Dr. Suess-like plants with a fun theme of a steam-punk investigation occurring. I saw the advertisement for it on a billboard in the metro and I am so happy they did a good job advertising.

The entrance to the Exhibit- a cheeky display

As we went along we saw signs pointing us toward the exposition. Before the final exposition, we wandered through each beautiful space. I felt a pang of nostalgia in the southwestern exhibit, reminded of Albuquerque. Separate climate-controlled halls broke up the large facility. Each one represented a different place in the world. Montreal did such a good job of bringing us a taste of the many climates in the world. I am inspired to travel more, to seek out those strange and wonderful creations we got a glimpse of at the Gardens. 

….African Dr. Seuss like plants – name unknown
Strange Plants – the Staghorn Fern

La Grande Roue

On the last full night, we took a ride on the La Grande Roue, the 60-meter Ferris wheel in Montreal and saw it from above again, as the city lights sparkled below us. By the end of the week, Old Port had become a ghost town, and all of Montreal lay silent beneath our feet. 

The view from the ferris wheel

I am finishing writing this from Alaska. I had no idea when I started writing this that I would no longer be able to blog from my host country about my exchange. Like most of the country, I find life feeling a little upside down… Right now, I do not know when I will be going back. I am slowly getting used to the idea that I no longer live in Canada… I feel blessed to have so much to miss. This experience has been a good lesson in taking advantage of the opportunities when you have the chance. Everyone is going to have their own story of the week when the pandemic was announced. I will try to record mine next month, hopefully with a few more answers.