Second visit to Montreal this year and a little different when it isn’t 10 degrees and we have a local guiding us through their hometown. As usual, most of the time is working but our hosts attempted a “Tour De Food” night which was cut short because we were way too old to hit that 3rd meal of heavy French food at midnight (with an 8am meeting looming). Beautiful weather that we viewed from the conference room but I did get out for a couple hours on our last night just as the rain was coming in – I am a bit behind on my updates and our visit was before the G7 summit and the Trump/Trudeau spat but getting through immigration in Montreal was much easier than other Canadian cities. One sterotype of Montreal is although it is a bilingual city, locals will not speak English to you – I found that to be untrue on both of my trips here. It was interesting to learn how my co-workers grew up in Montreal and the “streaming” of whether you spoke French or English (or both). It was not all family history, but where you lived or the profession of your parent.
The first stop of the “Tour De Food” was a pork place that served the meal family style – brought out a pig in a big dish (ok – maybe a piglet) with all the trimmings. It was excellent and in a very eclectic place called “Chez Ma Grosse Truie Cherie” or “At My Big Sow Cherie” (pictured above). Second stop was famous dessert place (which I skipped) and the plan was to proceed to St-Viateur Bagel (a famous bagel place) – but alas we encountered an Irish Pub. We were a little older than most of the clientele and we were the only people ordering something besides the special of $5 Bud Light pitchers. Then a bad band started so we were off. The last stop was planned to be a French Restaurant but we in a near food coma at that point and called it a night.
The next night we had a more formal dinner but there was a hockey game on – it was a great coincidence to have the Capitals and Vegas in the finals (the two teams in which I have a rooting interest) and watching with Canadian co-workers who could explain to be the game. The formal dinner ended rather abruptly at the end of the second period and we went to a hotel next door with a TV in the lounge. Most the Canadians were rooting for the Capitals – the logic being:
- Root for their hometown or childhood team
- Root for last Canadian team in the playoffs
- Root for US team with most Canadians on it.
So – in this case Vegas was deemed to be the more “Canadian team” while the Capitals are considered a “Russian team” and because of the Olympic hockey history, they hate the Russians. But what they hate more is an expansion team getting to the Stanley Cup finals when there hasn’t been a Canadian team in 25 years. So they were #ALLCAPS.
On my last day I was able to walk around Vieux (Old) Montreal and visit the City of Montreal history museum where there was an exhibition on the World Expo 1967. The museum provided some good perspective on the back and forth between the English and the French and why Quebec ended up different than the rest of Canada. Reality is that Toronto and Montreal (and Ottawa) are very different from each other – but closer culturally to New York, Boston and Washington DC than Calgary. Pictures below from Vieux Montreal.
In the old port, a view of the “Biodome” from the 1967 World Expo and the Clock Tower.
Followed up with a couple of trips to Ottawa – tulip festival and warm weather is a quite a different place.