I have to say, while walking around Montreal I felt as though I was in Paris! Everyone is speaking french and not to mention they’re all extremely stylish!
Upon arrival we dropped off our bags in our awesome Airbnb. The apartment had a balcony overlooking the street and a great location for watching the beautiful sunsets. Our next order of business was making sure we got an OPUS card in order to use the subways and buses to navigate the city. Our metro stop was in a great location and it was so easy to get anywhere you wanted. The coolest part about almost all of the stations is that there is underground shopping so you don’t have to pass up any cute piece from Zara during the brutal winters!
Now, if you’re into traditional old European architecture then head to the Old Port with your first stop being Notre Dame Cathedral…no we are not in Paris, but you could easily be fooled. The cathedral is beautiful and not painfully crowded. Now if you’re more into walking around and shopping, you’ll find amazing designers and stores on every corner. Some of my new favorite stores I found while wandering the streets were Rudsak where his use of leather and textiles is flawless. The fashion of Montreal is so original which I loved.
Recently Montreal’s Les Cours Mont-Royal shopping center added a permanent exhibit on the history of Barbie. There are over 1000 Barbies and not only are they beautiful they also guide you through a fashion history that is very comprehensive. Probably my favorite Barbies were the ones based off of famous designers. But it’s really too hard to choose a favorite!
We ended our day at The Bell Centre watching The Cure on stage for the first time in eight years. They have so much material that the show was three hours long! It made me realize that “no matter how far away, I will always love Montreal”.
The real reason that we really wanted to go to Canada was to visit McGill…The short list: urban school right in the heart of the City; French speaking (I love the French language); affordable, solid business college, and easy to get to from the U.S. What was great about our tour was that we got several pointers on being an international student. It’s kinda funny to think that I’d be an international student even though I’m from the U.S! Our guide also recommended the Unofficial McGill website that is written by students to perspective students like me the ins and outs from their perspective. There is a lot to consider when thinking about college outside the U.S. At the end of the tour, our guide gave me some very good words of wisdom. McGill is a school for independent people. Not for those who need to be constantly watched. However after our main tour, we took a small tour of the Schulich School of Music and talked to Patrick O’Neill who really opened my eyes. From Patrick, I learned that I can’t have a major in management and a minor is music at McGill but, I can get a General Music Degree and take several business electives. Patrick really helped me with my decision making process and helped to find the perfect solution for me! After meeting with Patrick, we went to lunch Lola Rosa (great vegan restaurant near McGill) and all during lunch my wheels were turning in a new and exciting direction. After lunch we walked St. Laurent Boulevard checking out the street art murals from the 2016 Mural Festival and taking in the creative, young vibe of the City. If you’re ever in Montreal I would highly recommend checking out all of the murals!
Our last day in Montreal we paid a visit to one of the city’s national treasurers. The Botanic Gardens that includes an Insectarium and a Biodome. The insectarium is rather gross but I loved it…big beetles under glass, a live beekeeper, and rows of dead butterflies are obviously very fascinating. But if you hate bugs, there are also beautiful paths lined with flowers and fountains and benches to relax. The biodome has a wonderful penguin exhibit and the added bonus of visiting the Biodome is walking around the Olympic Stadium complex which is right next store and is where you can see the Montreal Tower up close.
I ended my evening at the Place D’Arts entertainment complex watching Return to Grace…The story of Elvis and his music. This complex also has the Opera, Symphony, Dance and the Museum of Contemporary Art and crazy enough, it’s all located at the Place D’Arts metro stop!
I have to say, I was very hesitant at first when I heard of our trip to Montreal but I absolutely fell in love. It’s such an incredible city with such a wide array of things to see and do. McGill is now at the top of my list! Until next time Montreal!
XoXo – Penn