Montreal impressions #1

In October, I traveled to Israel to visit my mom. On the way to Israel, I stopped in Montreal for 5 days for a ‘touristy’ vacation. Those days were, of course, the most interesting days of my trip. Here are a few highlights with the photos.


Day 1

I bought a ‘hop-on, hop-off' bus tour. Unfortunately, we had a boring guide, plus it was raining the whole time, so nobody did the ‘hop-off’ part. It was a pity. Montreal has such a rich history, the tour could've been fascinating with a good guide.

I remembered my cruise to Alaska a few years ago, where we had wonderful tour guides in every port of call. There, in Alaska, every boulder had a tale attached: “Here stood the brave militia hero John Whatever and he shot the notorious bandit Tom Something. And to the left, we had a well-known saloon where the famous Gypsy bear Jane did her tricks, until she ate her trainer. Now, it’s an information centre, but one wall of the saloon was preserved, and the trainer’s blood is still visible ... blah, blah, blah.” It was great, and we, the tourists, ate all those tales with shining eyes, no matter whether they were true or written by a fiction writer.

In Montreal, there is such a wealth of real stories, the guide just needed a history book, nothing to make up, but I guess, he was too lazy even for that. He said he turned 65 the next day and was finally retiring. That was the only moment of the tour when he seemed excited.

After the tour, the rain stopped, and I walked a bit. I saw the Notre-Dame Basilica, a beautiful, super-ornate church, all carved and gilded inside, very ostentatious. They charge $5 admission. It was the only working church I ever visited as a tourist - and I did visit a few in my life - where you have to pay to enter. Maybe they don’t charge their worshippers, I don’t know. Hopefully not.

Next, I walked along St. Paul Street to the Museum of Costume and Textile. Along the way, this little sculpture in a corner caught my attention.


Farther down the street, another decoration - the pirate skeletons in cages hanging over the entrance to a restaurant, their tattered remains of clothing flapping in the breeze. Why didn't our guide tell us a story about them?


The museum itself was tiny, located in the basement of some kind of a shopping mall in one of the historical buildings. The current exhibit was called Leitmotifs. It’s about patterns in clothing from the 1900 to the 1980s. The most interesting feature of this exhibit was a collection of ties. It included about 2000 ties in all colors from 1940 to 1990. The collector Jerry Abramson, died in the late 1990s, and his friend donated the ties to the museum.


They hanged along one wall, about 10 meters long, or maybe longer, the colors flowing into one another, changing patterns like a crazy rainbow.


And then, in the next room, there was a chandelier made of ties.


To be continued...