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mustang84

Observations from Montreal

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I got back from Montreal Tuesday afternoon after our flight was cancelled Monday evening due to hail in Chicago. It was a good time over there...I did a lot of walking and sightseeing. Anyway, here are some interesting observations I had while I was over there.

Everybody dresses up all the time. Doesn't matter if it's Monday morning, Saturday night, or Sunday afternoon...they're always dressed to go out on the town.

I have never seen a place where strip clubs are right next to shoe stores and family eateries. Rue St-Catherine and Boulevard St-Laurient had little strip clubs and sex shops nestleld in among all the "family-friendly" businesses.

People don't have much of an appreciation for cars there. On a lot of the parking lot signs around the city, somebody spray painted "voitures = suicide." I was walking down Rue St-Paul when a Francophone spit on a Chevy Silverado that was parallel parked on the tiny street.

They love their Pontiacs. I swear I have never seen so many Pontiacs in my life. I didn't know Canada had a Pontiac Aveo...and I saw a ton of G5's, Pursuits, Sunfires, Montanas, and Grand Prixs.

People drive pretty terribly. Our taxi driver cut off at least 6 semis between Dorval and Ville-Marie. Not much use of turn signals from what I could see.

Tim Horton's are everywhere.

The taxis seemed to be mostly Centurys, Intrepids, Camrys, and Montanas. I rarely saw Panther cars while I was there, and none of the cabs are yellow.

The weather is a bitch. It rained for a good chunk of the time I was there, and it was a cold, windy rain. I can't imagine what winter must be like.

I loved how on nice nights the city opened up to the street along Rue Peel, St-Catherine, St-Laurient, etc. A lot of the cafes have outdoor seating and the big windows open up so that you get fresh air inside.

Everybody seemed pretty fit and in shape. I rarely saw obese people when I was over there.

Food is expensive, beer is expensive...finding cheap places to eat was kind of hard.

The Metro stations were really warm...almost a little uncomfortable for me.

They can tell right away that you're American when you try to speak French.

The girls are gorgeous...like all of them.

Canadian Customs was pretty easy to go through, the people were friendly....US Customs were full of armed guards and stern looking people...it felt like I was entering a police state.

Dorval Airport was really modern looking and nice...the leather seats were comfy. It made Des Moines' airport look like a truck stop.

The IGA food store in Complexe Desjardins was one of the weirdest laid-out grocery stores I have ever been in. There was no logical order to anything, and all the signs were in French...so I spent an hour just looking for a couple items.

Edited by mustang84

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Wow. What a different take on Montreal.

I think the food is expensive because of the exchange rate. If it had been 1: 1.5 (wishful thinking, 1999), you wouldn't have said that.

I didn't know when you were going to go, but I was going to tell you "no right turn on red, even after a full stop." I will be there in 2 weeks. Are the trees already turning color? I hope I don't miss it.

You mentioned a lot of things that are true: they do dress up, the sex shop type stuff is everywhere in what is a Catholic stronghold (what can I say, the French are libertines :lol:), the women are beautiful (again, the French blood line, no corn-fed Germanic or Scandinavian hefers to be found), and yes, they love Pontiacs (I think the reason is that this line has historically had the Frenchiest of nameplates -- Grand Prix, Bonneville, LeMans, Grand Ville, Parisienne, etc. etc.) so the Quebecois like that the same way a WOP likes to have "Monte Carlo" roll off his or her tongue.

I get treated well there. My French is decent. Needless to say, I love going there.

Now, Mustang dude, what sights did you go see of the long list that I gave you? And where did you eat? Did you try any Italian or Greek food? They do it quite well there as both communities are large. Did you go onto McGill's campus (the Harvard of Canada)? Dorval has been face-lifted...it was very 60s and 70s looking about 3 years ago.

Well, so you had a good time, right? This is good preparation for expanding your horizons...(read "Europe next year.") I LOVE that damn city.

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Wow.  What a different take on Montreal.

I think the food is expensive because of the exchange rate.  If it had been 1: 1.5 (wishful thinking, 1999), you wouldn't have said that.

I didn't know when you were going to go, but I was going to tell you "no right turn on red, even after a full stop."  I will be there in 2 weeks.  Are the trees already turning color?  I hope I don't miss it.

You mentioned a lot of things that are true:  they do dress up, the sex shop type stuff is everywhere in what is a Catholic stronghold (what can I say, the French are libertines :lol:), the women are beautiful (again, the French blood line, no corn-fed Germanic or Scandinavian hefers to be found), and yes, they love Pontiacs (I think the reason is that this line has historically had the Frenchiest of nameplates -- Grand Prix, Bonneville, LeMans, Grand Ville, Parisienne, etc. etc.) so the Quebecois like that the same way a WOP likes to have "Monte Carlo" roll off his or her tongue.

I get treated well there.  My French is decent.  Needless to say, I love going there.

Now, Mustang dude, what sights did you go see of the long list that I gave you?  And where did you eat?  Did you try any Italian or Greek food?    They do it quite well there as both communities are large. Did you go onto McGill's campus (the Harvard of Canada)? Dorval has been face-lifted...it was very 60s and 70s looking about 3 years ago. 

Well, so you had a good time, right?  This is good preparation for expanding your horizons...(read "Europe next year.")  I LOVE that damn city.

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Yeah, the trees have already turned and leaves were actually falling. Hopefully there's still some left on them when you get up there. I'll post some pics tomorrow.

The first night we went to Rue St-Paul with all the narrow, winding streets that look like Paris. That was probably my favorite neighborhood...we ate at a French restaurant on the corner of St-Paul and St-Jacques called Le Grand Cafe or something...I can't quite remember. I had some really excellent spaghetti, but I spent $25 in that place...ouch.

The next day we went to the historical museum down by the river where they built over top of the ruins of Montreal's first buildings. Some of the other stuff we did that day was a walking tour through the Plateau to check out some of the residential neighborhoods...and we saw some neat graffiti artwork along the way. We also saw some house in the Plateau that was some kind of "experimental" work...I can't remember the name of it.

The third day was the busiest....we toured Universitie de Montreal and saw the Student Union building, which was pretty neat how they use color to define different functions. Then we went over to the Quebec National Archives building, Le Institut, a Cinematheque, and somewhere else.

The fourth day I did a bunch of site research for our project and a lot of walking around the city. I was analyzing the activity along certain streets at different times of the day, so I got to see pretty much everything. The Place des Arts plaza and Palais des Congres building were pretty neat...I also walked around old Montreal a lot more.

The two things I really wanted to see but didn't get the chance were the Expo park and the Olympic Stadium...they were too far away and I never had time to check them out.

Foods I ate included Portugese, Italian, French, Japanese, and Chinese. I had Udon soup from the Japanese place which was some really good stuff. I tried a little escargo...nasty...don't want to eat that again. :unsure:

Our hotel was at the Travelodge right near Complexe Desjardins. It was a good location because it was right in the middle of everything and right by our site (an empty lot two blocks to the south...we visited an architecture firm that was across the street called Panzini Architects...the principal was Italian and was working with the Italian owners of the site to develop a huge mixed-use residential/hotel tower on the site).

But yeah, I had a great time there. It's a really nice city with lots of variety...it's like going to Europe without actually going to Europe.

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Yeah, the trees have already turned and leaves were actually falling.  Hopefully there's still some left on them when you get up there.  I'll post some pics tomorrow.

Our hotel was at the Travelodge right near Complexe Desjardins.  It was a good location because it was right in the middle of everything and right by our site

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:angry: about the leaves

:lol: about Travelodge, I've stayed there 2x, for the money, the location is great but the digs aren't; however, it has a great breakfast. When I stayed there in 2003, the day person was a Chinese chick, the afternoon person was Argentinian and the graveyard person was Moroccan....all of them a riot. And the breakfast room had both an Italian and a Brazilian guy working there, I spoke with those guys every morning. I will not be staying there this time...I plan to spend a little more for more upscale digs.

Travelodge on Blvd. Rene Levesque...6 degrees of separation, I swear...LOL.

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:angry:  about the leaves

:lol: about Travelodge, I've stayed there 2x, for the money, the location is great but the digs aren't; however, it has a great breakfast.  When I stayed there in 2003, the day person was a Chinese chick, the afternoon person was Argentinian and the graveyard person was Moroccan....all of them a riot.  And the breakfast room had both an Italian and a Brazilian guy working there, I spoke with those guys every morning. I will not be staying there this time...I plan to spend a little more for more upscale digs.

Travelodge on Blvd. Rene Levesque...6 degrees of separation, I swear...LOL.

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Lol, yeah the Travelodge wasn't the greatest...the lobby is a little misleading.

Our room was on the 2nd floor and had two floor beds with two lofted beds above that were attached to the walls with huge bolts. The room had this weird angle and the bathroom door opened the wrong way for some odd reason, so that when someone was coming out of the bathroom it swang out into the room right into the walkway instead of over toward the window. You would have to close the door to get through or scoot by on the bed. I don't know what they were thinking when they designed that.

Also, I think the maid watched TV in there when she cleaned the room, because everytime we turned on the TV the volume was blaring! :lol:

We ate in that little breakfast room every morning...free croissants, cereal, and toast. Those croissants were pretty good, too.

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I got back from Montreal Tuesday afternoon after our flight was cancelled Monday evening due to hail in Chicago.  It was a good time over there...I did a lot of walking and sightseeing.  Anyway, here are some interesting observations I had while I was over there.

Everybody dresses up all the time.  Doesn't matter if it's Monday morning, Saturday night, or Sunday afternoon...they're always dressed to go out on the town.

I have never seen a place where strip clubs are right next to shoe stores and family eateries.  Rue St-Catherine and Boulevard St-Laurient had little strip clubs and sex shops nestleld in among all the "family-friendly" businesses.

People don't have much of an appreciation for cars there.  On a lot of the parking lot signs around the city, somebody spray painted "voitures = suicide."  I was walking down Rue St-Paul when a Francophone spit on a Chevy Silverado that was parallel parked on the tiny street.

They love their Pontiacs.  I swear I have never seen so many Pontiacs in my life.  I didn't know Canada had a Pontiac Aveo...and I saw a ton of G5's, Pursuits, Sunfires, Montanas, and Grand Prixs.

People drive pretty terribly.  Our taxi driver cut off at least 6 semis between Dorval and Ville-Marie.  Not much use of turn signals from what I could see.

Tim Horton's are everywhere.

The taxis seemed to be mostly Centurys, Intrepids, Camrys, and Montanas.  I rarely saw Panther cars while I was there, and none of the cabs are yellow.

The weather is a bitch.  It rained for a good chunk of the time I was there, and it was a cold, windy rain.  I can't imagine what winter must be like.

I loved how on nice nights the city opened up to the street along Rue Peel, St-Catherine, St-Laurient, etc.  A lot of the cafes have outdoor seating and the big windows open up so that you get fresh air inside.

Everybody seemed pretty fit and in shape.  I rarely saw obese people when I was over there.

Food is expensive, beer is expensive...finding cheap places to eat was kind of hard.

The Metro stations were really warm...almost a little uncomfortable for me.

They can tell right away that you're American when you try to speak French.

The girls are gorgeous...like all of them.

Canadian Customs was pretty easy to go through, the people were friendly....US Customs were full of armed guards and stern looking people...it felt like I was entering a police state.

Dorval Airport was really modern looking and nice...the leather seats were comfy.  It made Des Moines' airport look like a truck stop.

The IGA food store in Complexe Desjardins was one of the weirdest laid-out grocery stores I have ever been in.  There was no logical order to anything, and all the signs were in French...so I spent an hour just looking for a couple items.

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Expensive? Well, there are cheap places to go, as well as ritzy, expensive places. Maybe I'm just brainwashed by Toronto prices. (They're generally worse).

I didn't notice any car hatred when I was there. I did notice a lot of really small cars, old compacts, people who didn't care about their OWN cars... but that's just uncalled for, spitting on cars.

Pontiac love is not just a Quebec thing, it's a Canadian thing. I already see more Persuit coupes around Toronto than Cobalts. I've seen 2 new Waves and no Aveos yet. I think Canada is one of the most compelling reasons why cutting Pontiac is BAD idea.

Tim Hortons is also Canada, not Quebec. There's one place you can stand in Hamilton Ontario (where Timmies was founded) where you can see 4 Tim Horton's at once. They plan to more than double the number of Timmies in the US over the next few years... so you may be seeing a lot more over there too. 8)

Glad you enjoyed the city. It's such a nice vacation spot for me, and within an easy day's drive.

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Cool thread Mustang...I have long been fascinated with the cultures/customs of other peoples...Hope to visit one Canada one day.

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Food is expensive, beer is expensive...finding cheap places to eat was kind of hard.

...

They can tell right away that you're American when you try to speak French.

The expensive food and trim people are definitely correlated; I bet the food was much better than the crap Americans usually eat. Also, Quebecian French is horrible... native speakers from France have trouble understanding them.

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The expensive food and trim people are definitely correlated; I bet the food was much better than the crap Americans usually eat. Also, Quebecian French is horrible... native speakers from France have trouble understanding them.

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Quebecian French is as different from French French as British and American English are.

French French is all for preserving the language, while Quebecian French is evolving. For example... "C'est un..." is something you will see in France, while Quebecian French has added contractions, making this "C't'un..."

In speaking, this changes "Set uhn" to "Stuhn"

As a result, you can't say it's "horrible" French...it's just different French.

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I went to Montreal and Quebec City on a French class trip during the winter carnival when I was in 10th grade. Maybe it was because I was young but the only cool thing I remember was the underground city in Montreal.

I have head that Quebec and, to a lesser extent, Ontario are totally different from the rest of Canada in regards to attitudes and culture, somewhat like how the northern US is different from the southern US. I've actually heard people refer to the other Canadian territories as the "real Canada."

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I went to Montreal and Quebec City on a French class trip during the winter carnival when I was in 10th grade.  Maybe it was because I was young but the only cool thing I remember was the underground city in Montreal.

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Go back again. You'll appreciate it and have a blast. The nightlife is great, if you're into that. I'm not.

I don't think there's a "real" Canada. Exactly like the US, the East of Canada is more densely populated, older (in terms of construction) and more culturally savvy. The West of Canada has large unpopulated expanses, like the US, and the cultural meccas are few (in their case, Vancouver and Calgary and Edmonton) whereas we have LA, SF, Seattle and Denver. So, is any part of the US more "real" than another...probably not.

If I had to live in Canada it would be the Eastern provinces despite the fact that the Western provinces are more scenic.

I recommend Montreal highly to everyone.

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Quebecian French is as different from French French as British and American English are.

French French is all for preserving the language, while Quebecian French is evolving.  For example... "C'est un..." is something you will see in France, while Quebecian French has added contractions, making this "C't'un..."

In speaking, this changes "Set uhn" to "Stuhn"

As a result, you can't say it's "horrible" French...it's just different French.

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Yeah, well, their rendition of the French language may not be as elegant, but good gawd, they actually LIKE Americans (more so than Canadians from the Anglophone provinces) whereas there will be a "mixed bag" reaction in the authentic Frogland...though I did have a French lady walk up to me outside of the gates at Versailles seeing that I had a tourist map, asking me if I needed assistance. UNBELIEVABLE. when I spoke French to her, she became even nicer!

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I have head that Quebec and, to a lesser extent, Ontario are totally different from the rest of Canada in regards to attitudes and culture, somewhat like how the northern US is different from the southern US.  I've actually heard people refer to the other Canadian territories as the "real Canada."

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Tell an Ontarian that us Western Canadians are the "Real Canadians" and they may end up lecturing you about our history, aka, beaver pelts, beaver hats, beaver tail, beaver traps, the ethical implications of beaver traps, the Hudson Bay Company buying beaver pelts... and John A. Macdonald...

...and somewhere in there, you will realize that everything that is Canada is historically Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec) and the Maritimes.

The West in general has better scenery, better economies (Alberta & B.C), and is often pretty pissed off politically, but the "Real Canada" is in the center.

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The West in general has better scenery, better economies (Alberta & B.C), and is often pretty pissed off politically, but the "Real Canada" is in the center.

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Center as in Manitoba area or Ontario?

There's definitely a huge difference between Montreal and Western Canada. I've been to Vancouver, Victoria, Banff, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Manitoba before...there's a completely different feel in that part of the country.

Victoria seems a lot like Britain with all the double-decker buses and European influences. Vancouver is highly scenic and dense, sort of like Hong Kong. I really liked Vancouver a lot...I want to go back someday. The view from Grousse Mountain was amazing.

Alberta down by Lethbridge reminded me a lot of Kansas. I remember there being lots of wheat fields, flat land, and grain elevators. There was a really neat provincial park where you could climb rocks south of Lethrbidge...I can't remember what it's called.

I don't remember a lot of Calgary and Banff since I was young when I was there, but from what I've seen in pictures, it looks like a nice place.

Canada has some strange names for large towns though. Medicine Hat, Swift Current, and Moose Jaw come to mind.

Edited by mustang84

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Try Swastika, Ontario and -----, Newfoundland on for size.

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Damn it, TYD, now you're going to make me comb the Newfoundland map to look for this town. :lol:

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Try Swastika, Ontario and Dildo, Newfoundland on for size.

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http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=di...12&om=1&iwloc=A

Ask and ye shall recieve...

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Why do I find it funny that Newfoundland has Dildo, and to the northeast is Come by Chance which happens to sit upon Placentia Bay...

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