What to do in Montreal, in style? I present you a list (growing a little more with each visit) of unusual activities in Montreal, and other curiosities. Enjoy your visit!
In the city, I like to discover the unusual things, the ones that make you raise an eyebrow, the ones that make you burst out laughing, or the ones that keep you (for at least a few seconds!) in a state of visual exhilaration. It is in this state of mind, on the lookout for the unusual, that I went to Montreal. Here are the results of my hunt!
Every Sunday afternoon, during good weather, crowds of people, reflecting the multicultural image of Montreal, flock to Mount Royal Park.
Percussionists and other musicians liven up the place, in completely freestyle mode. Others dance, drink a drink, watch, sell stuff, or simply spread out on the large lawns of the park. I even ran into a Member of Parliament who was coming to campaign among the people: she grabbed me!
It is whispered on all foreign lips as if it were a parallel, magical dimension. “It is said that one can access everything without seeing the sky, in a complex labyrinth that only the inhabitants know with their fingertips. The legend is partly true: many passages, more or less curious and/or interesting, allow you to circulate in a vast area of Montreal. As for the inhabitants, they shrug their shoulders and find it very curious that we are interested in these passages like any other practice. But there is a vast art collection and a few curiosities that deserve a detour. Finally, those are little things that you never take the time to do when you live in a place. Among these, I have tested some of them for you…
Barbie Expo: Barbie’s underground museum
I confess, I thought I would spend only five minutes for this report, take a few pictures and leave in a hurry. In reality: I spent a good hour looking at all these fabulous and international Barbie models as so many small works of art and historical witnesses. The museum is accessible in the basement of the shopping center Les Cours Mont Royal (1455 Rue Peel suite 206)… Or from I don’t know where the Reso is located. Spend at least thirty minutes there!
A real piece of the Berlin Wall
It’s curious to find oneself facing a (real) piece of the Berlin Wall in Montreal’s underground. It was a gift from the city of Berlin itself in 1992, on the occasion of Montreal’s 350th anniversary. It was deliberately placed in the Ruelle de Fortifications since this is where the city’s fortifications once stood. A beautiful setting in the abyss!
Circulating in the underground in practice
The network is called Reso, and you can (if you look really well underground) recognize its logo when you walk around. I tried it without a map, it was a bit hardcore. But good news, a map exists, and you can get it at the information points of the city (for free). Also, Gilles from the blog Mes Quartiers, proposes an excellent itinerary through the art and curiosities of Montreal’s underground.
The Lachine Canal Industrial Parkway
If like me you have a certain love (or just a little curiosity!) for industrial areas, you will enjoy your walk around the Peel Basin and the Lachine Canal.
You can walk from Griffintown to Habitat 67 (read below) and observe the giant, functional or abandoned factories, and the somewhat exaggerated metal and concrete structures and sprinkled with a little vintage air.
All along your walk, you will have a changing view of downtown Montreal and its harbour. Don’t complain about the dust or the smell of the exhaust pipes, but industrial, as we said!