Montreal & Quebec Day 3: Parc du Mont-Royal and more

This day, Monday, was the only day in Montreal during our trip where having a car helped significantly. We used it to drive to the top of and around Montreal's main park, Parc du Mont-Royal, Montreal's equivalent of Manhattan's Central Park. As it's large and on a hill, seeing everything was much easier with a car.

I took these these photos during this day's travels. This post is intended to augment the narrative expressed by the photos.

Although I'd have been happy eating the hotel breakfast again, I decided to venture out to try something new. We first drove to Byblos but found it closed, returning to it on another day, and instead went to one of Montreal's famous bagel joints, St. Viateur Bagel. Here's my review.

While dining, I wondered whether small tables, crowded with food, make one eat more or eat less. I could imagine either: more because everything is easier to see and easier to reach; less because it's much clearer how much food there is and that it probably shouldn't all be eaten. Incidentally, we ordered a reasonably sized breakfast and thus finished everything.

After breakfast, we briefly walked around the neighborhood, then drove a few miles west to stroll the shopping street Laurier Ouest. We wander into a grocery market just to see what they are like in Montreal. One aisle was devoted to chocolate bars. I was amused to see Ghirardelli chocolate, here a fancy import.

Incidentally, I learned that, in informal French, "ou" is roughly equivalent to "wha" /"huh"/a grunt in English.

Then we drove all over Parc du Mont-Royal, a huge park on a hill nearly in the middle of Montreal. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same person who did Manhattan's Central Park. Because it's on a forested hill and it's therefore not easy to get to the spacious green areas, it doesn't feel as integrated into city life as Central Park does.

While in the park, we drove through Cimetiere Mont-Royal, a huge cemetery. A wide variety of people are buried here -- we saw a section for Japanese, a section for Greeks, and a section for military personal, which was easy to spot because everything there was arranged in straight lines. The cemetery was nice, more so near the entrance.

Another cemetery, Cimetiere de Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (Our Lady of the Snows Cemetery), had a similarly good appearance. I'm glad we explored this area as the trees changed color.

We also drove to the Oratoire St-Joseph (St. Joseph's Oratory) on the west side of the park. The only comment I have to add that's not expressed in the picture captions is that the preserved heart of the founder of the church was supposed to be on display. I looked for it but discovered it had been temporarily removed. (If I recall correctly, it was because they were renovating that part of the oratory.)

In early afternoon, we parked in the center of the park near Maison Smith. Maison Smith, perhaps as a product of its stone construction and nice cafe, has ambiance. It also houses some displays about the park, including information about park animals and the history of the park. I found the part on the cemeteries and the towers most interesting, the former because it covers how the park is almost out of space for the dead and the latter because it covers the debates about putting radio/television transmitters in the park.

Although we almost decided to get a snack at Maison Smith, we instead hiked a mile to Chalet du Mont-Royal and there had a small snack of items we brought with us. We ate outside, as the chalet had a good view but the interior sucked.

Once finished with the park, we descended from the heights and walked this route. What we saw is well documented by the picture captions. To add, we peeked down Rue Crescent and decided it was cool, filled with many restaurants.

Although we had a late breakfast, it was small and, although we had some snacks of chips and fruit at the Chalet du Mont-Royal, we got hungry for dinner fairly early and headed to Schwartz's Deli. Here's my review. On the way, we discovered one of our maps had a one way street mislabeled. (Don't worry: we noticed the sign before we turned onto it!)

Since we had some time in the evening before bed, we strolled down St Laurent; this map shows our route. It's a neat part of town. Although no St Denis, we spotted a number of restaurants, especially Greek ones. Being a Monday night, most restaurants were empty. This makes Schwartz's even more striking, as there was a line out the door when we left.

We also took an excursion down Prince Arthur, a pretty pedestrian thoroughfare. There was even a fire juggler performing on the street.

The old Jewish quarter seemed to be in this part of town. We stopped a bit to read some markers at an old Jewish cemetery. We didn't stop far long, as it was drizzling on and off during our walk. Incidentally, the weather was pretty good during our time in Montreal. This was the only time it rained.

Before driving the ten blocks to get to our hotel, we decided to drive north up St Laurent to see what's there. And thus we got to see Little Italy.

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