Montreal. . . if it pleases you | Life | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Brevity isn’t always best
    July 13, 2013
    Bud, they've shortened everything, except for how long you work.
  • What ban on Andaman?
    July 13, 2013
    Survival International, a UK-based NGO, has called for a ban on tourism and the closure of the Andaman Trunk Road to protect the Jarawa tribe from…
  • Boycotts are a last resort
    July 13, 2013
    Remove tourists from the Andaman Trunk Road and open an alternative sea route, says the director of Survival International Stephen Corry.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
The flavour of Montreal

Montreal. . . if it pleases you


CANADIAN HIGH: (left) Montreal skyline seen across St Lawrence river;basilica of Notre Dame

My introduction to Canada started long before I boarded my flight to Montreal. My late Uncle Dalbir Bindra, a professor at McGill University, and his wife Jane Stewart, a professor at Concordia University, visited us in Delhi every few years since I was little and gave me an early taste for maple syrup and all things Canadian.

So expectations were high when I finally landed at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport last month. We drove to Jane aunty's beautiful Ave du Musêe home in Montreal's 'Golden Square Mile'. The following morning, at the crack of dawn (the sun was as bright as the noonday sun in Delhi), we climbed up to Mount Royal Park, up the mountain that gave the city its name. From the top, there are wide-ranging views over Montreal and the St Lawrence river plain beyond. While walking through the parks, we stumbled upon a public art piece by Linda Covit and Marie-Claude Sêguin entitled 'Give Peace a Chance'. A commemoration of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono song, it has grey limestone panels with the famous phrase engraved on it in 40 languages including several Indian scripts. It was unveiled in 2010, in memory of the couple's famous Montreal bed-in. Other sights included a pretty lake which transforms into an active skating rink during winter.

A return to home base, quick shower and breakfast later, we sped out for a rapid car tour and covered the Old Montreal and Port area, Outremont and Westmount which offered spectacular views of the city and St Lawrence River. The Atwater Market, a farmer's market, is a great place to snack and stock up on gourmet meats, cheeses and other delicacies. A visit to a beautiful small church at the old port (La Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, "Our Lady of Good Help" ) completed the tour for the day.

The city has a predominant stone architecture though over time it has acquired more contemporary materials and lines, and today's landscape offers an interesting amalgamation of both. It's quite easy to get around in the city. Though French is the official language and sexy accents can be heard in bistros, English is widely spoken too. Interestingly, bicycling appeared to be an almost 'national transport system'. One can hire a Bixi bike at any of the docking stations in the city and surrender it at another. There is a station just around the corner and abundant cycle paths. Bixis have become so much a part of the Canadian DNA that people rent homes near stations.

Day two saw us speeding northwards, past green slopes which transform into ski slopes in winter, a reminder of the diversity of colour that defines the Canadian landscape through seasons. A couple of hours later we arrived at the quaint village of Saint Marguerite de Lac Massonin, which is in close vicinity to Jane Aunty's old summer cottage on the edge of a placid lake amid a profusion of flowers. The haunting call of the loon, a water bird, is almost the only thing that intermittently disrupts the stillness. A lonesome seaplane glides through the sky, as we chomp on the most delicious homemade chicken sandwiches. Two months down, I was told, the landscape would transform to a vibrant red, followed by a gradual change to brown and then snow white.
Back in Montreal after a coffee break at Val David, a charming little village, we hit the road again. This time we are on foot, traversing Sherbrooke Street and the base of The Golden Square Mile, through a profusion of art galleries and art installations, A prized piece of shopping is a piece of Inuit stone art. The evening was complete with delicious Greek food at Molivos.

Next morning was very special for a personal reason for it included a visit to McGill University where I was shown the "Dalbir Bindra Undergraduate Lab", named after my late uncle.

Day three saw us in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where we passed by the Parliament buildings and then headed straight for the National Gallery of Canada, an architectural marvel in itself. This was followed by a supremely delicious lunch at Domas Cafe in the Byward Market area, known to offer the freshest and best produce. En route, we passed a stand selling BeaverTails, a fried pastry covered with chocolate cinnamon and cream. This is the same kiosk where President Obama stopped for a taste. After a short rest, we found ourselves at a restaurant next to a lock on the Rideau Canal. We dined in style and headed to the National Arts Centre for an evening of ABBA music by a Finnish ensemble.

Early next morning, we hit the highway to Montreal and by evening I was checking in for my return flight, with lots of happy memories and maple syrup, of course.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik |


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service