From Mont Royal

Montreal – view of downtown from Mont Royal

Whenever I am asked where I am from I say Montreal. In truth I grew up mainly in Granby, Quebec. Well…after being born in St. Boniface Manitoba, and living in a few spots in between…The first place I truly remember is Kenora, Ontario. My parents moved us from Kenora to Granby when I was 5 years old and that is where I spent most of my childhood.

Even after having lived in Vancouver, BC for over 20 years I say “I am from Montreal”. The irony is that I have never actually lived in Montreal! Until recently… I decided it was time. I have always loved coming here but never really spent that much time in the city. So at the end of January 2017 I landed here. 8 weeks actually living in Montreal before heading anywhere else. Time to absorb and explore the city.

I feel at home here. But then again, I pretty much feel at home wherever I am. Honestly, that gets a little confusing when time to decide where home actually is comes along! Istanbul – definitely feel at home there. London, England – yup, feel at home there. Mexico – yes please, that feels like home. Vancouver – of course. And there are many other places that feel like “home”. What makes Montreal different? First of all, I am surrounded by two languages, both of which I know. It really is nice to hear both English and French spoken, and know that I can slip from one language to the other many times a day (frequently in the same sentence) and be understood and understand others. Using the two languages I grew up with daily is a wonderful feeling.

Montreal is also a really diverse city – you can hear many different languages spoken as you walk down the streets. I love that.

There is a little grit to this city.  It’s not all polished and shiny. I like the grit. Hell, you can say that about me too – I can polish myself up and get all glitzy, but I also like to grunge it out. Heels and a dress? Sure. Ripped jeans and a t-shirt? Even better.

Winter has thawed and spring is here now, but my meanderings so far have been in Winter. And in the snow and blue sky I have found so much that is beautiful.

Atwater Market

The Atwater Market along the Lachine Canal

First Snow 2

One of the first snowfalls

Walking along the Lachine Canal in -12 degree weather isn’t so bad when the sun is shining down on you and the sky is so blue. The air is crisp and fresh and I found I could walk for hours. Yes, it’s true, I am properly bundled up. But as has always been the case for me, it didn’t take very long before the coat was unbuttoned and the hat removed. I was like this as a child as well. Warm blooded I guess!


I love this sign. Look up people…there may be a large icicle coming your way!

Canal Peace

Along the Lachine Canal. Artwork that can be appreciated all year long.

A couple of weeks in, I moved over to an apartment in La Tour Des Canadiens. That is a tower attached to the Bell Centre, where the Montreal Canadiens play. On game nights the street is shut to traffic as people wearing the Canadiens red line the street preparing to go into the rink. I was really hoping for a long playoff run, but unfortunately that was not meant to be this year. This is not permanently home…but I do enjoy being here.

Bell Centre Living

Bell Centre – La Tour Des Canadians. Even in shadow you can tell that the first statue is Guy Lafleur – the stance, the hair flying behind him….

Forum theatres

The old Montreal Forum is where les Canadiens used to play and where they hoisted the Stanley Cup more than a few times. I was not a fan of the team growing up – for whatever reason I decided to cheer for everybody they played against. Didn’t end up well for me on most occasions, because they really were that good. Now the forum is a movie theatre, and you can sit in some of the old seats and look onto what used to be centre ice.

As someone who has lived in Vancouver for so long and has seen 2 inches of snow shut the city down….it is amazing to watch this city go to work to clear the snow.

Chabot Snow

After a fresh dump of snow

Snow Removal

Truck loads being removed from the city centre. They plow the sidewalks and the streets, and they the snowbanks are blown into large trucks so that we can actually see the streets…

I had a couple of friends visit me in February, and it was great to walk the city with people who hadn’t been here before. Plus it gave me an “excuse” to go up into Mont Royal, the mountain in the middle of the city. Okay…after living in Vancouver it’s more of a hill than a “mountain”, but it is a pretty awesome park. And in the winter you can skate, cross-country ski, snowshoe or just walk the paths.

Mont Royal Cross

The Mont Royal cross – visible from just about everywhere in the city and lit at night.

And of course there is Old Montreal. Beautiful any time of the year, any time of the day.

Old Montreal Tree in Lights

Old Montreal

Montreal is a very walkable city. But in the winter…the metro is your friend. When the current system was launched in 1966, each station had their own unique design.  I love seeing the more elaborate ones and looking back at the design of the ’60’s.


Namur metro station

And then there’s the food. Oh lord the food…. Poutine. French restaurants. St. Hubert chicken. Little Italy. Cafês. I can’t even…. I don’t know where to start! Luckily for me I have a nephew in the food industry here. He has been at a few of the city’s best restaurants and most recently at Maison Publique (the food is AMAZING) and has his own company – Aliments Viens. He makes charcuterie – does it all himself and it is DELICIOUS. So when I need a recommendation for any type of food, I ask Phil. Every time he is right – whether it’s Vietnamese or a trendy bistro. Merci Phil.

The snow has melted and I’m now discovering this city in spring. Walks through St. Henri, Mile End, Le Plateau, La Petite Patrie…still so much to discover!

Mile End Water Tower

Old brick warehouses and water towers in Mile End

St. Henry Firehall

Fire Hall in St. Henri

I have always loved the old brick homes of this city. Now there are many condo towers joining the landscape. It’s a wonderful mix of old and new. There’s an energy in this city that I haven’t felt before – so much going on and an overall sense of ease and excitement. I am looking forward to uncovering more.


View from the treadmill in the gym. I love that old milk bottle! And I hope that the new towers springing up around it does not mean it will be removed…it’s a landmark and I hope it will be saved.