Oh, Canada! (Day 2)

May 5

Montreal

montreal smoked meat

[So, I hear you say, what’s the deal with the brochure?  The story begins.  When we first arrived in Canada, we had no idea that eastern Ontario and all of Quebec Province had been experiencing flooding like no one up there could ever recall.  The area was, and had been, stuck in a constant rain weather pattern.  Of course, we in the States have been preoccupied with other matters.  We had prearranged a Gray Line tour our first full day in the city – always the best way to get an overview if you’re just going to be in a place for a day or two.  Gray Line would pick up customers at their hotels . . . but we were at an Airbnb, would they pick us up?  The Biddies’ phones did not work in Canada (who knew?), so we tried to get the info by e-mail – but time was of the essence.  We knew there was a Sheraton a few blocks away – we had gone there the night before to use their ATM (apparently if you are in  foreign country they prefer that you use their currency). We walked to the Sheraton in the morning, in the rain, hoping to find out if the Gray Line picked up there.  As luck would have it, a Gray Line shuttle arrived just as we did.  We hopped aboard for the trip from oldtown to downtown to their main tour terminal.  And now the brochure.  We had an hour to kill, so folks suggested we cross the street to Nickels for breakfast.  We did not know at the time, but Nickels is famous for the original Montreal smoked meat sandwich.  A loyal blog follower advised us before the trip that we had to get a smoked meat sandwich in Montreal.  We would, later.  But for now, it was time to board the bus and give my Antioch College hat a place of honor.]

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[The bus turned the corner . . . and there through the rain soaked windows was Dunns. We had been advised that Dunns was also a great place for a smoked meat sandwich.   And after “developing” the photo, discovered that it was also convenient to an XXX Massage, apparently recommended after a smoked meat sandwich?]

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[Dorchester Square, the heart of downtown.]

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[Still along the Square (I believe) with glances up the street to Mount Royal in the distance.]

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[A city street (as opposed to a rural meadow?).]

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[Notre-Dame Basilica]

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[The bus dropped us at the foot of the hill, about a two block walk to the Basilica. Fortunately the rain kept us cool, if wet.]

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[The Biddies pause out front for a photo op.  I struggled to keep the camera dry as best as I could.]

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[It took twice as long to finish the interior construction as it did for the outside.  Our guide advised us the interior was quite spectacular.  He was right.  If you have followed this blog you know we have featured about every cathedral in Europe to the point where the Super cried out, “No more churches!”  But this one has a real WOW factor.  Amazing.]

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[Let’s listen in about the place.]

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[Back outside, from the front stairs, our bus will be waiting at the bottom of the street on right . . . ]

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[But first we hied to our left to check out a couple of unique looking statues . . . ]

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[Why yes, I was getting rather drenched doing this . . . ]

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[The Old Brewery Mission is the largest resource for homeless men in Quebec and for homeless women in Canada (Wikipedia).]

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[Now back on the bus, Chateau Ramezay Museum and Historic Site in Old Montreal.]

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[Nelson’s Column erected in 1809 in Place Jacques-Cartier, dedicated to the memory of Admiral Horatio Nelson, following his death at the Battle of Trafalgar.  Montreal’s pillar stands as the second-oldest “Nelson’s Column” in the world, after the Nelson Monument in Glasgow.  It is also the city’s oldest monument and is the oldest war monument in Canada. (Wikipedia)]

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[Didn’t know this . . . Montreal is 375 years old this year.  And Canada is 150 years old this year.  Lots of celebrating going on!]

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[A really old colonial era building.  So old, in fact, even Mr. Google couldn’t find it?  But I know our guide told us something about it?]

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[Love these cobblestone pedestrian-friendly streets.]

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[Another old building . . . ]

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[Maybe we could look it up from the street sign?  Hey, we were on St. Paul.]

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[Cirque du Soleil, on the river]

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[The original dock from which we would have boarded our ship . . . high water prevented such.]

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[There’s Mount Royal again . . . ]

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[And a reminder, rivers can flood . . . ]

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[This one just a mere 131 years ago.]

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[Back in our neighborhood.  Our place was just around the corner from the last red awning on the right.]

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[Place Jacque-Cartier, our perpendicular crossing boulevard with Nelson’s Column at the top of the hill.]

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[Buildings along our street, Rue St. Paul . . . ]

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[Victoria Bridge, I suspect . . . ]

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[As we head toward . . . ]

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[Olympic Village, from 1976.  The Olympic Stadium is getting an upgrade.]

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[In the village . . . ]

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[A statue of Jackie Robinson.  I’m sure you’ll remember when the Dodgers called him up to the majors, he was playing in Montreal . . . ]

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[A better clear day photo on loan from the internet.]

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[Remember, we’re shooting all these Olympic photos through the bus windows as merrily we rolled along.]

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[The movie theater, Star Cite.]

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[Maurice Richard Arena, for hockey during the Olympics.]

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[And there’s Maurice, a/k/a, The Rocket, now.]

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[Do you recognize this place yet?]

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[Saputo Stadium, for soccer]

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[Olympic Village, now senior housing]

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[Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral.]

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[What the sign says, and in its neighborhood is . . . ]

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[The first view of St. Joseph’s Oratory, the largest church in Canada . . . ]

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[This was from outside the bus – we pulled into the parking lot just for this photo op.]

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[And now we’re on the way to . . . ]

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[Mount Royal, the city’s overlook]

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[Our view of the city is unfortunately . . . soggy!]

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[Nonetheless, we were all happy to be here!]

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[A rather famous university, respected worldwide.  It was hard to get a feel for the campus driving through what essentially seemed like a residential neighborhood and looking through rain-soaked bus windows.]

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[Back downtown at the end of our bus tour, Underground Montreal (RESO) – I had no idea! This place is huge – 20 miles of corridors with shops, restaurants, hotels, banks, etc., all designed to keep the 500,000 people a day who visit the place out of the Montreal weather.]

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[And here’s three Underground photos by the Super . . . ]

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[And whom amongst us doesn’t enjoy a good cookie?  Certainly not The Biddies!]

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[Back out on the street . . . eh, voila!  Reuben’s was also a place we were told had great smoked meat sandwiches.]

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[So down we went into Reuben’s.  And here’s what happens when an older person attempts a selfie.]

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[When in Canada – Reetz and I split this.  Quite tasty.]

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[And here it is, a Montreal smoked meat sandwch!]

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[The very same sandwich from the Super’s vantage . . . ]

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[Having seen the photos, we were sure one sandwich be enough to feed the three of us.]

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[Dig in, girls!]

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[We very much enjoyed the sandwich, and it was enough for all of us . . . and left room for dessert!]

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[I think Reetz is having one of those special moments!]

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[The Super’s portion was abetted with a bit of the grape.]

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[Reuben’s gets a thumbs-up from another satisfied customer.]

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[I believe she may have been some sort of queen or something.  We had hoped to walk all the way “home” from downtown to oldtown, or as far as we could, in the Underground. But the best laid plans . . . we thought we had hit a dead end and came out to a still rainy day and walked the rest of the way (well over a mile) with an intermittent stop at a McDonald’s to get out of the rain and have a coffee (my first experience at touch pad ordering – uffda!)]

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[After drying out “home,” it was then time to go out and get wet again looking for fine dining.  This time along the river on Rue de la Commune and past the crowds heading for Cirque du Soleil.]

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[Somewhere along events of the day, Reetz ran into folks who were going to be on our cruise and they recommended a restaurant along here with great fish and chips.  We think we found it.  It was a real hot spot.  The hostess said we could have this table if we were out by 9:00 as it was reserved.  We promised.]

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[We ordered two as we figured that would be enough for the three of us.  Our server concurred.  It was very good – still we couldn’t finish off both of them.]

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[Then excitement at the bar caught my eye.  The bartender was stacking glasses . . . ]

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[Then poured some spirits over it . . . ]

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[Then set it on fire!!  I had to find out about it.  They said it’s called a Russian Roulette.]

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[Gaspar Taverne . . . another three thumbs up!  Then home to bed.  We would be boarding the ship on the morrow.]

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You know what’s nice about Montreal? Not only is it a beautiful city, but you have Cuban cigars.  ~ Jamie Farr

Up Next:  Softball?  Canada?

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3 Responses to Oh, Canada! (Day 2)

  1. G. says:

    Didn’t Celine Dion get married in the Basilica in Montreal? Just asking. Nice pictures — even in the rain.

  2. ruthao1945 says:

    Had a great time despite the rain.

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