We’re very fortunate in TORONTO to be within easy reach of another major metropolis with great architecture, fine food, theatre and nightlife, elegant shops, funky neighbourhoods – etc, etc. You don’t have to cross a border to get there and the dollar is strong and healthy.
Take the train, as I did last weekend, and 5 hours & 350 miles later you’re in MONTREAL, Canada’s second largest city.
Friday was crisp and sunny – checked into L’Appartement Hotel, 455 Sherbrooke Street (perfectly fine and reasonably priced); visited several art galleries in the Belgo Building on Ste. Catherine Street, and then a concert by the OSM (Montreal Symphony Orchestra).
<IMAGE ABOVE – “I met a witch through a mutual acquaintance. Excitedly I asked her if she could put my soul in a bottle so that I could be embodied in my own work. She told me that she would not, that it would be like asking her to kill me. She said that she could put in a part of my spirit and animate that object with an essential part of my being.
“I don’t know what the witch did or whether she did what she said she would, but I want to believe that artworks can live and walk and breathe and think.
“I believe her like I believe an artist” – MILUTIN GUBASH, the artist>
Saturday cloudy – the Santa Claus Parade, then the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition at the Musee des Beaux Arts, followed by the William Notman exhibit (photographer to Queen Victoria) at the McCord Museum, and a Beatles recreation with 16-piece orchestra at the Maisonneuve Theatre.
Sunday – freezing rain. Excellent brunch at Juliette et Chocolat (finest galettes anywhere including Paris, squash soup and a chocolate crepe)
<Montreal Biennale at the Museum of Contemporary Art>
<‘LA PLONGEE’, an installation by Michelle Furlong on Ste. Catherine Street East>
<Ended the day at Carre St-Louis, one of MONTREAL’s most beautiful parks. Still pouring rain. Snow to follow.>
If you’re visiting, it seems most of the major downtown streets in MONTREAL are being rebuilt. There’s infrastructure money flowing in, and the city is rushing to complete projects before winter sets in. And this city has a real winter – enough snow, ice and freezing rain to satisfy everyone.