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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: MatthewK on July 06, 2019, 06:03:23 AM

Title: Tips from Montreal locals?
Post by: MatthewK on July 06, 2019, 06:03:23 AM
Figured there are some Montreal locals here.

We are a family of 5 (3 daughters between 8 and 14). We will be visiting next week and be staying at a house in the NDG area of your city. We will be staying 3 nights.

We would like to see the Basilique and also make it over to the St. Lawrence River. We will be traveling by car from Michigan so we will have a car at our disposal but would like to limit it's use.

Looking for some cheap/free family friendly activities for our family. As a family we enjoy walks/hikes, love bikes and also visiting libraries, you know, mustachian things. ;-).

 Thanks for any input.
Title: Re: Tips from Montreal locals?
Post by: PoutineLover on July 06, 2019, 07:16:08 AM
Hello, I am a Montreal local. You can easily get around using bixi, pick up and drop off bikes pretty much anywhere in the city. I think there's a daily or multiple day cost for them, and they might be a bit large depending on the size of your younger kids, but the seats are adjustable. Otherwise, metro and bus is super easy and you can buy 3 day passes. For an active family, I recommend walking up the mountain to get a great view of the city, wandering around the old Port and the plateau, grabbing some bagels at Fairmont or Saint viateur and eating them fresh out of the oven, getting poutine at poutineville or la banquise (share larges). The BANQ library is pretty nice. Food in the old port is really expensive, so avoid eating there if you're trying to save money. Walking along the canal near Atwater market is nice, and going over to Jean drapeau Island is fun. There's plenty to do, let me know if you want more specific info on anything, and enjoy your trip!
Title: Re: Tips from Montreal locals?
Post by: lizzzi on July 06, 2019, 07:21:55 AM
Not local, but I live in upstate New York and love to go to Montreal--an easy long weekend from here. The old part of town is very interesting, with a great history museum. Make sure you eat some poutine. Just walk around enjoying the shops, galleries, etc. At this time of year they will probably have flowers everywhere and it should be attractive and just a pleasant place to be. The Basilica of course is well-worth seeing. We liked the Botanical Gardens, although it's been years since I've been there. Believe it or not, there is a Polish restaurant in the old part of town that is well-worth going to--I mean, who goes to a restaurant to eat Polish food? Just go. It's called Stash's. And if you speak any French at all, I would suggest using it. It is great practice--just about the only place you'll get to try out your Bonjour and Merci without having to get on a plane and fly somewhere. Not sure if I should mention this--I don't mean to cast aspersions--but two of my friends have been pickpocketed in Montreal. So be careful about that.
Title: Re: Tips from Montreal locals?
Post by: MatthewK on July 07, 2019, 07:49:40 PM
Thanks for the tips @PoutineLover  and @lizzzi! It looks like a lot of the suggestions are in the Old Montreal area? We'll make sure to have our walking shoes on. All of those looked great, lots to do in that area.

The bike share sounds wonderful but you're right in that they might be a bit big for our small 8yo.

We will look in to Stash's, thanks for the suggestion. We googled it and my DW who is Polish liked what she saw. :-)
Title: Re: Tips from Montreal locals?
Post by: PoutineLover on July 07, 2019, 08:00:14 PM
My boyfriend who is Polish used to work at Stash's and says it's good. They get real Polish grandmas in to make the pierogis.
Title: Re: Tips from Montreal locals?
Post by: AMandM on July 09, 2019, 02:34:14 PM
Montreal native here, though I don't live there now.

Also very interesting, though expensive, are the Biodome and the Insectarium. The Biodome was originally the Velodrome for the 1976 Olympics, so you can also tour the Olympic Stadium while you're there. These are near the Botanical Gardens.

If you go to one of the markets early in your stay, you can pick up local produce, gourmet cheese, charcuterie, etc. to eat for the next several days. There are also mini-farmer's markets on some street corners, mostly for produce rather than the gourmet foods. I second getting poutine and bagels and would add: croissants from the Duc de Lorraine bakery (on Cote des Neiges Rd near Queen Mary Rd). That is near St Joseph's Oratory, which is arguably of greater historical/religious significance than the Basilica, although definitely not as beautiful.  Also, the cathedral (Marie Reine du Monde) is a scale replica of St Peter's in Rome.

Fun for kids is the Parc La Fontaine, in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood (full of arty boutiques and eateries). The parc has a puppet theatre, you can watch people play petanque (French bocce), there are walking/biking trails, a pond, and playgrounds.

In the touristy areas and stores, most people will be bilingual, but if you go to the east end, you are more likely to be surrounded by monolingual francophones. One of my teachers grew up in that part of town and didn't meet an English speaker till he went to university. If you don't speak French, you might find this interesting and exciting, or frustrating and inefficient.

Oh, and Stash's is where the rehearsal dinner for my wedding was held--my MIL is Polish.