We are back in England. Over the last three months (and a bit) we have been based in Montréal, Canada.
Three months is a long time, and plenty of time to get to know the place, the good and the bad. The city is truly beautiful in both sun and snow. Generally the people are welcoming and helpful and we have met some lovely people.
Things that are less nice are: the fact that some people seem to think that being Québecois means that you don’t have to be polite to non-French speakers; metro announcements are only in French as are most of the signs; Québec province has the highest tax (5% Federal + 9.975% Provincial TVQ) on goods and most places (including most supermarkets and restaurants) only show the price without tax or service charges; despite the high taxation there seem to be more beggars and homeless people than in places such as Calgary (Alberta only has the 5% Federal tax). Most of this is just a minor inconvenience and does not detract from the fact that we enjoyed our time in Montréal.
Montréal has some special sites. Of course, Montréal is named for Mount Royal visible from almost every corner of the city.
Montréal hosted the olympics the same year I was born and the stadium, known locally as the Big-O for its donut like shape (or Big Owe, as it was extremely expensive and was not paid off in full until 2006), dominates the skyline of the northern part of the city.
Next to the stadium are the Biodome and the Botanical Garden
Then there is Jean-Talon, a farmers market for the agricultural produce from around the city
And finally the old city (Vieux-Montréal).