To get to know the city better I went on a variety of tours: right after my arrival – a convenient trip with Via Rail from Toronto – I went on a driving tour with a personal guide to get a lay of the land. I also took a marvellous architectural walking tour of Old Montreal that helped me to learn about the centuries of history and the outstanding buildings in this unique atmospheric part of the city. A Montreal Ghost Tour in the evening was another unusual and entertaining way of learning about the city’s history.
One of the best ways of getting to know the city was to take a bicycle tour. My first guided bicycle tour took me through the various neighbourhoods of Montreal, including the Parc Lafontaine and various beautiful residential neighbourhoods in the Plateau Mont-Royal area. I also cycled beside the Lachine Canal, an industrial legacy from the 1800s, in an area where old factory buildings have been revitalized and turned into state-of-the-art condominiums. The Art Deco-era Marché Atwater was a great place to stop and grab lunch. I also explored Montreal’s other big market: the colourful Jean Talon Market in the city’s Italian neighbourhood which was bursting with colourful produce from local and regional farmers.
Montreal is well known for its outstanding culinary offerings and I had a chance to sample a variety of cuisines, from Italian fare at Galiano’s, to dinner with jazz at Modavie, to an upscale gourmet dinner at Nuances, located inside the Casino de Montréal. To work off the extra calories I did lots of walking and admired all the downtown architectural jewels and the unique townhouses near historic Square St. Louis.