Written by 80 Ways Tim on 27 Jul, 2005
The Canmar Pride is 244 metres long, 32.2 metres wide, weighs 39 thousand tons, and travels at around 21 knots. It is part of CP Ships' fleet, the "first and finest to Europe," a poster in the lounge proclaims. It is carrying some 2,000 crates,…Read More
The Canmar Pride is 244 metres long, 32.2 metres wide, weighs 39 thousand tons, and travels at around 21 knots. It is part of CP Ships' fleet, the "first and finest to Europe," a poster in the lounge proclaims. It is carrying some 2,000 crates, a crew of about 20 people, and only two other passengers besides ourselves: Tom and Karl.
I eventually ascertain that Karl is German, although when I ask, he simply shrugs and says, "It's complicated." He's in his fifties, with a tanned face and temperament that Thom summed up perfectly with the word 'jolly'. When he smiles, he reveals slightly crooked teeth. One in particular, in the front row, protrudes noticeably beyond the others and gives him this brilliant childish grin. It fits perfectly with the way in which he talks to us, constantly whispering things in a devilish way, glancing slyly to one side, then erupting in laughter.
Tom is an easy image to conjure because he is Jack Nicholson's brother. Or, at least, I think he is. You see, he is the spitting image of what Jack Nicholson's brother looks like (well, how I picture he would look like). He is clearly not Jack Nicholson, but he bears an absolutely uncanny resemblance to him, so you can just think of him as that.
Tom is on his way to meet his brother in the south of France. I don't know where Jack resides these days, but I can think of less likely places than southern France. He is from just outside Berkeley in California and decided that a boat across the Atlantic would be a good way to travel.
It's harder to get a straight answer from Karl. He's also going down to the lower regions of France, but when I ask him if he lives there, he glances over his shoulder, leans in conspiratorially, and whispers, "It's complicated." We're seated in the Officer's Mess Room, aka the dining room, being served dinner. Karl once again gives a shifty look to one side, in the direction of the crew members who are coming in and out of the room, and says, "I vill tell you about it after ve get to through customs." Thom and I share a look of bewilderment—do we have another smuggler in our midst?
Outside the dining room window, as there are outside most windows on this ship, are stacks of boxes. Only these boxes are different. They have air-conditioning units on the side and digital read-outs displaying the inside air temperature. They read "-18C". "What do you think's in them?" I ask Thom, but the obvious answer dawns on me at the same time it does on him. Bodies.
We were only made aware of this boat's existence some two weeks earlier in Beijing and thus didn't have the first idea of what to expect. Now that I'm onboard, I still don't have answers to half my questions. I know that it is a huge freighter travelling from Montreal to Hamburg that takes only four passengers for a fee of some $1,500. I know that Thom and I occupy the only passenger double room on the boat and that it is a very comfortable arrangement, not at all cramped, with room for two large beds, cupboards, and a sofa. I also know that there is a lounge room with a stereo, TV, and books that has half a dozen couches in it. And now I know that we have meals at 7am, 12pm, and 6pm in the Officer's Mess Room, that they are typically of Indian origin (since the crew is largely from there), and that those meals are notably better than the roadside food that kept us sustained for the duration of our stay in North America. Beyond that are many unanswered questions.
Something else I have come to find out is that the life onboard this boat is good. You have seen the sum of my duties for the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and the rest of the roster is divided evenly among reading, sleeping, and idle banter. After the prolonged on-the-move mentality of our trip, the luxury of this laid-back lifestyle could not have been better timed. Even the Trans-Siberian was hard work compared to this. There we didn't have food provided, we had to share a tiny cabin with two other people, and there wasn't anywhere to go. Here we have both freedom and privacy, space and shelter.
Our exhaustion is self-evident. When I sleep, I like my room to be cold. Our cabin is hot and humid, but before I have time to worry about the temperature, I’m out cold. I was awoken one day after 11 hours of sleep by a breakfast call, after which I had a two-hour nap. The next night, I slept another 11 hours and split the day between sleeping and trying to stay awake. I was concerned that all the daytime dozing would impede my ability to sleep at night, but I have had no such trouble. Yes, the Canmar Pride is just what the doctor ordered.
Written by funkipickle on 13 Mar, 2002
Well I know this is a travel journal but I just had to place a receipe which I picked up when I was staying at the hostel. I decided to venture into the kitchen and cook a lovely feast, sorry guys I didnt mean to…Read More
Well I know this is a travel journal but I just had to place a receipe which I picked up when I was staying at the hostel. I decided to venture into the kitchen and cook a lovely feast, sorry guys I didnt mean to make a mess....
So here goes....
English lasses couscous!
One Aubergine (Eggplant)chopped into small chunks
One Red onion chopped
One red Pepper (deseeded)
handful of chopped mushrooms
Courgette (zuchinni) grated into fine strips
A clove of garlic crushed
dash of Tasbasco sauce
Balsamic vinegar to taste
250g of Couscous
250ml (sorry dont know in American) of boiling water
Vegetable oil/Olive Oil
1)Place a few drops of oil and the boiling water into a saucepan and heat. Add Couscous and give quick stir. Remove from heat, add strips of courgette and cover.
2) Heat some oil in another saucepan, and fry garlic, onion and aubergine together. Once soft add red pepper, and mushrooms. Continue to cook until all vegetables are soft. Then add dash of Tabasco, fresh lemon juice and Balsamic vinegar to taste. I cant gie exact amounts as it is purely up to your tastebuds. By this point the couscous should be cooked.
3) Fork through the couscous and then add to vegetable mixture. Stir together and add more Balsamic vinegar/Lemon to suit. Add to a warm dish and enjoy!
I am no Jamie Oliver but hey give the receipe a go, you might like it!
Written by DrMaximus on 19 Jul, 2001
Having purchased the season pass for 2001, I have been to La Ronde at least 20 times this summer! However, not once did I find enough courage to get myself on this roller coaster! Aptly named "the star attraction" and "monstre", this coaster is one…Read More
Having purchased the season pass for 2001, I have been to La Ronde at least 20 times this summer! However, not once did I find enough courage to get myself on this roller coaster! Aptly named "the star attraction" and "monstre", this coaster is one super giant ride that consists of a super high drop and so many circlings, ups and downs that before you know it, you will be asking for more! That is, of course, you get yourself up there even once!
"The star attraction at La Ronde is sure to provide plenty of spine-tingling excitement. The Monster is the highest wooden roller coaster in the world. Its first run was built in 1985, the second in 1986. The second was revamped with a view appealing to daredevils by offering them a series of vertiginous loops. This ride takes passengers to a height of 39.9 metres before diving at speeds of up to 96 km/hr. At two trains per rail, the Monster can send shivers through 112 people at once!"
Written by cytiev on 19 Oct, 2005
Montreal is Canada’s second largest city and, as far as I’ve observed, the most vibrant one because of the harmony of cultures that make up this French-speaking city of Quebec. After taking the rail from Toronto, which took about 4 hours, we started to explore…Read More
Montreal is Canada’s second largest city and, as far as I’ve observed, the most vibrant one because of the harmony of cultures that make up this French-speaking city of Quebec. After taking the rail from Toronto, which took about 4 hours, we started to explore Montreal. Even in the rail station, you can see the diversity of the city’s culture, French bakeries, Italian coffee shops, Greek restaurants, Palestinian kebabs, and rows and rows of shops that sell just about anything you need. A map of Montreal in English was the first thing we purchased to figure out what sights to go to and see. We made our way to the Underground City, with its myriad of shops and restaurants, and with a quick call to our local host, we finally located a storage area for our heavy bags on the side of the fast-food area of the Eaton Centre. Off we go above the ground and explored the Queen Marie’ Dela Reine Church. Astonishing architecture preserved through the years, the church was a sight to behold. The murals painted on the ceiling, the gold-and-black altar, and the statues of saints: we tried hard to remember that this is a sacred place and pictures must be taken discreetly.
After offering a brief prayer for the success of our journey, we explored more of Montreal’s commercial district and made our way to the front of McGill University. Downtown Montreal is like a European city mixed with modern buildings. French signs may confuse first-time visitors, but getting lost in this dynamic city is not a problem at all. Montreal is still a part of Canada, and the friendly and well-dressed locals speak English.
On the second day of our journey, we took the bus no. 106 to the Angrignon subway station, found the green line, and changed to the orange line, which goes to the place called Old Montreal. Cobblestone streets and old buildings add to the charm of Old Montreal.
Outside at the Place d’ Armes, we did not miss the opportunity of having our picture taken in this historic district of Montreal. Place d’ Armes has an excellent overview of all the periods of Montreal’s history. Just by looking around 360 degrees we saw the city’s oldest building, the huge church, the headquarters of Canada’s first bank and first skyscraper, and the New York Building. Souvenir shops abound in Place d’ Armes, and we had our fill of the souvenirs that would remind us how enjoyable it was to be in Old Montreal.
Back in the streets of Chinatown, we explored Vietnamese food markets and a strip more like a pedestrian mall where little shops abound selling Oriental lucky charms and peculiar souvenirs. Towards the main thoroughfare of Old Montreal, we followed our line of sight to the old buildings just a few blocks away. The façade turned out to be the City Hall, a wonderful architectural structure full of history. Farther along, we saw Marche’ Bonsecours, which served as Montreal’s city hall until 1878. It was restored and houses some excellent designer boutiques and craft shops owned by locals.
On our third and last day in Montreal, we went back to Place Ville Marie and the Underground City and satisfied our curious palates as we sampled a Palestinian fare of kebabs and rice with a Mediterranean salad, which we ordered to-go for our train journey back to the English-speaking, Toronto. There is a lot more to see and experience till our next journey to Montreal.
Written by MichaelJM on 01 Oct, 2004
The next leg of the journey was a long, but straight-forward drive, bypassing Toronto and into Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. Montreal has a true French appeal to it. Indeed the city, we were told by a local guide (more of this later),…Read More
The next leg of the journey was a long, but straight-forward drive, bypassing Toronto and into Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. Montreal has a true French appeal to it. Indeed the city, we were told by a local guide (more of this later), is in the process of removing all English signs and rewriting them in French. This includes historic business signs on the sides of buildings. It does seem a great shame, and I reckon it’s something that they will regret in time.
Montreal was, however, not a city that we fell in love with, perhaps because it’s so big and we were based several miles outside of the city. However, we did enjoy our time there and managed to take in a carriage ride around the old town. If you have limited time, I would commend this to you. We walked along the Promenade des Artistes and risked life and limb as the skate-boarders and roller-bladders hurtled along towards us. The Basilica Notre-Dame has to be worth a visit, but we would recommend that you avoid the local traffic wardens. We were advised by a police officer where we could park (it was a Sunday and local parking laws are more lenient on that day, he told us). The police may be lenient, but the traffic wardens were not – a parking fine pursued us across the water and the car hire company very kindly(!) paid for it off my Visa. Never mind that it could not negatively influence our Canadian experience.
We spent a very pleasant afternoon at the Biodome and the exploration of the Olympic Park. This, in my view, is a must if you are in Montreal. The Biodome re-creates several climate zones, and you can go bird spotting in the Tropics, penguin-watching in the Polar Zone, and spend a fascinating time watching fish in the aquarium. I have to say the Polar Zone was one of our favorites.
On our way out of Montreal, we spent some time in Parc Mont-Royal. I’ve seen it referred to as a green bump rising out of the city, but locals prefer to call it La Montagne. In the middle of the built-up city, it offers Montrealers a chance to visit the countryside and wander the 250 acres of meadowland and forest. The views from up here are worth the effort
A final must-see in Montreal would be the Oratoire Saint-Joseph. We loved it – memories of Paris’ Sacre-Coeur. We hauled our way up the 300 steps (although there is a lift and staircase if you struggle) and enjoyed the view, the vista of Montreal. We were enthralled by the internal and external architecture and touched by the story of Brother Andre, a simple priest whose vision and dedication to his belief resulted in this amazing building.
Written by tamtbell on 02 Nov, 2003
This was my second trip to Montreal with my husband, and this time we decided to shake things up a bit. Normally, because we are relatively close to Montreal and Quebec City, we drive. However, this time we took VIA Rail from Kingston, Ontario…Read More
This was my second trip to Montreal with my husband, and this time we decided to shake things up a bit. Normally, because we are relatively close to Montreal and Quebec City, we drive. However, this time we took VIA Rail from Kingston, Ontario straight into Le Gare Centrale, the central train station in Montreal. We were both really glad afterwards that we did this, as we no longer had the worries of parking in a crowded city, as well as all that extra mileage put on our Jeep, and of course, we also got to enjoy the scenery as it flew by without worries of traffic. As a travel agent, I have always advised passengers to check in at least an hour and a half prior for train reservations. However, I can now tell you that with VIA Rail, 45 minutes or so is plenty of time! First and foremost, they do not check for identification (however, of course, I would still carry it with you); second, pack light! My husband and I carried a larger Samsonite suitcase that was a nuisance when we were boarding in Kingston station, as you have to lug everything you are bringing up some rather steep steps onto the train. The food on the train is acceptable, but nothing to write home about. I would personally suggest bringing your own food and water or beverage, as it’s much cheaper and probably would taste better too. Seating is first-come, first-served, so if you have your mind set on a certain area of the train like a window seat or just simply a seat next to your traveling companion, get in line early! After a very relaxing ride into the heart of Montreal, we of course walked through the train station trying to figure out, "Okay, where do we go now?"
We stayed at the Marriott Chateau Champlain, which is only about a block away from the train station; however, it is pretty close to a rather ugly part of town. If you get your room on the wrong side (facing away from the city towards the water), you’ll most likely get a view of the industrial areas as well as quite a bit of graffiti.
The thing I noticed walking through the train station as well as the underground city was, first, in Montreal most locals are rather fit, which I then attributed to the fact that they walk very, very fast! It's almost kind of hard to keep up with everyone if you’re not used to it, so be prepared for a little cardiovascular exercise. During this trip, we toured a large amount of the city as well as tasting a lot of the local cuisine found in Old Port. The restaurants are charming and offer pretty good prices on their food, but the wine, we noticed, was rather expensive. I guess they have to make their money somewhere.
We also visited the Montreal Botanical Gardens, where I learned that late October is definitely not the time to visit, as many of the plants of course were dead or dying. The Insectarium, which was a welcome entertainment for people searching for somewhere to warm up on a cold autumn day, had a rather small collection of bugs, bees, and spiders. (YUCK!) The good news is that the Insectarium is free upon paying your admission to the Gardens. If you plan to walk along the historic district and visit such attractions such as Place Jacques-Cartier, Notre-Dame Basilica, Marche Bonsecours, and Rue de la Commune and are utilizing Le Metro, I would suggest getting off at the Champ de Mars stop, as the walk is rather short but steep and gets you to almost the beginning of the historic and scenic area. You can stop at Place d’Arms; however, there is construction going on over there and the walk is somewhat treacherous to most of the areas, especially at night.
If you are interested in visiting La Ronde, the Biodome, or the Casino and plan to utilize the Metro, hop on the Yellow line at station Berri-Uqam and head towards Longueil. Get off at the Jean-Drapeau station and there are free buses that you can take to head to any of those attractions upon showing your Metro stub. I have driven previously to the Casino and I have to say this is the easier way to do it, especially in a city like Montreal. Our last full day was spent shopping in Eaton Centre and visiting the Planetarium, which, by the way, was only a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
Now I know I have mentioned Le Metro here quite a bit, and I have to suggest that if you plan to tour as much as we did, buy a tourist pass, as it allows you unlimited rides for however many days you purchase. This during our visit was $7.00 Canadian per person, and I figure that if we had not done this, instead of spending $28.00 for two days, we would have spent approximately $50.00, as we did one heck of a lot of hopping on and off.
All in all, this was one of the best small trips that I have taken in a while. Using the Metro and VIA was an excellent choice that left us with very few transportation worries; the hotel, while I didn’t get the view I requested, was still very nice and comfortable; the food was excellent; and the atmosphere just about everywhere was friendly, open, and truly welcoming. Locals here seem to have a joie de vivre, or joy of life, that is truly contagious. On Monday morning, as our train departed from the city to head back to Kingston, I found myself saying one last goodbye to what I feel became a really good friend. Au revoir, Montreal mon ami, au revoir.
For more info, click on the following link: http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/B2C/00/default.asp
Written by SDCarol on 20 Nov, 2003
Arrived on a Saturday night and stayed at "Square Phillips" hotel on Phillips Square: Our "residence" hotel had a one-bedroom/one-bathroom suite with living room (pull-out sofa bed) and dining room/kitchen -- it cost only CAN$158 per night with a daily paper and breakfast. Also,…Read More
Arrived on a Saturday night and stayed at "Square Phillips" hotel on Phillips Square: Our "residence" hotel had a one-bedroom/one-bathroom suite with living room (pull-out sofa bed) and dining room/kitchen -- it cost only CAN$158 per night with a daily paper and breakfast. Also, there's a laundry room and glorious rooftop pool and deck. Newly opened since Feb '03. In this square on weekend days there are street musicians that perform, people who sell handmade jewelry, and a (daily) flower market in the square. Across from the square is a newly remodeled (Hudson) Bay store.
For dinner, the concierge recommended a bistro just south of Carre Phillipe called "Restaurant Julien". I had the Table d’hote of steak frites and my daughter had the flank steak with sautéed dry shallots; we shared a Tarte Tatin.
I scheduled church tours for the next day (Sunday): Christ Church Cathedral is an Anglican church and catty-corner from our hotel on Phillips Square (in 1966, the church was supported on concrete struts while developers tunneled out the glitzy Promenades de la Cathedrale, a boutique-lined part of the Underground City, an engineering feat that attracted worldwide interest.) Next was St Patrick's Basilica with a green-hued interior of carved wood paneling and painted ceilings. We then walked to the Basilica Notre-Dame built in 1830, which is also where Celine Dion was married and had her son baptized. We took a break about 2pm for salade Nicoise and champagne for lunch at a small bistro, Café Saison Notre Dame. The Cathedral Marie-Reine-du-monde was next and is based on St Peter’s in Rome—the 252-ft. high dome is about a third of the size of the original. There are statues standing on the roofline, representing patron saints of the region. All of these churches were within walking distance of each other. Last, we took the metro to the Oratoire St Joseph on the northwest side of Mont Royal. It was built to honor St. Joseph, Canada's patron saint, and known for its copper dome; it is Italian Renaissance style. In a dark sanctuary lit only by hundreds of red candles, there is a "collection" of crutches that once belonged to people who came to the oratory and were cured. There is a museum dedicated to Frère André, the brother who organized its construction; his heart is on display here and some say they have seen it "pulse and quiver".
That (Sunday) night we ate at the Le Grand Café next to the Julien—voted "best affordable French restaurant" in town". We arrived at 9.20 and the kitchen was ready to close but we were able to still order. We felt a little rushed but ordered a bottle of white burgundy and the onion soup, a salade Nicoise, and a chocolate mousse for dessert.
Our first stop the next day was the Marche Atwater— a block-long building, with an art-deco clock tower and some of the most wonderful food and produce in the city. We took the metro to this up-scale, ritzy, chi-chi market. There were THREE cheese stores--over 550 types; cheese paradise! A chocolatier! And amazing spice shops, charcuterie, patisserie! And that was just the inside. Outside there were beautiful vegetable, fruit and flower stalls. We shopped for fruit, cheese, pate and a baguette and settled down with enormous white china cups of latte to a brunch indoor picnic. We stopped at a SAQ – the state liquor store looking for an "ice wine" to take back to the room for later.
We meandered around downtown the rest of the day, but stopped at Bistro au Cepage for calamari and a bottle of wine when a rain shower hit in late afternoon. In the late afternoon, we took the metro to the Montreal Botanical Garden to look at the gardens.
For dinner our last night, we decided to return to Le Grand Café for dinner and I had the soup de jour—a vegetable cream with orange and lemon zest, chicken with noodles in a goat cheese sauce; daughter had a salad with yummy grilled shrimp and, a veal chop.
The next morning we slept in, then packed up and walked 3 blocks to the Gare Centrale for the train trip to Quebec City at 12.50. We had lots of time—enough to get bored and upgrade our tickets to first class: so we sat in the first class lounge, read newspapers and drank OJ and coffee. I have to admit, it was wonderful to have a meal served on the way to QC– tomato and goat cheese tart, roast pork loin with cornmeal stuffing, red-skin mashed potatoes and asparagus, and chocolate pecan tart for dessert—and, of course all the wine we wanted.
See my journal on Quebec City for our quick two-day trip there.
Okay, I admit skipping this as well. By the time you get here you must be asking me why I got the season pass when I refuse to get on any of the thrill rides. Well, *sticking tongue out* I do enjoy the carousel and…Read More
Okay, I admit skipping this as well. By the time you get here you must be asking me why I got the season pass when I refuse to get on any of the thrill rides. Well, *sticking tongue out* I do enjoy the carousel and other more "grounded" rides! Boomerang is a nightmare come true for me, but a heavenly ride for thrill seekers! It boasts of several loops in what seems like 2 seconds, and before you can scream "mama mia!" you are on your way back... backwards and through the same loops that brought you up there! OMG!
"True to its name, this ride embodies the characteristics of a boomerang, lofting into the air in spectacular fashion, then zooming back to its departure point. At its highest point, the train comes to a virtual stop before plunging back down at speeds of up to 75 km/hr."
Written by digsvillelady on 08 Apr, 2002
To attend JazzFest in Montreal, we traveled our usual route - we exchanged, or "swapped" our home in Hoboken, NJ.
After many emails concerning proximity and accessibility to New York City (from Hoboken), questions about the one-mile square city of Hoboken and whether our mutual needs…Read More
To attend JazzFest in Montreal, we traveled our usual route - we exchanged, or "swapped" our home in Hoboken, NJ.
After many emails concerning proximity and accessibility to New York City (from Hoboken), questions about the one-mile square city of Hoboken and whether our mutual needs would be met, we (our swap partner, Joan) agreed on a one week exchange in early July. Virtually all of the correspondence between Helen and Joan was done by email and the message boards on the Digsville.com website, with neither feeling the need to pick up the phone. Many logistics were hashed out through email communication: how the keys would be transferred; dates and times of arrival and departure; phone and Internet usage; and, parking rules in each location. Additionally we learned about the best roller blading areas in our new neighborhood, and where a few out of the way second-hand shops were located for old jazz and blues recordings. We in turn, informed Joan about our home town, the wealth of eating spots, the stunning view of Manhattan from the Hoboken waterfront parks, and also about some hot events in New York City occurring during her stay, such as the OpSail and the awesome July 4 fireworks display on the river.
Montreal or Bust
With the car trunk and back seat over-packed as usual, we called our dog Sam to join us as we left the house. He had a gleam in his eye in anticipation of a road trip. In fact, Sam would be having his own mini-vacation staying with personal friends of ours - also Digsville members - in their terrific lake community home in Putnam Valley, New York.
We easily found Joan's apartment thanks to Mapquest, and parked the car in free non-sector parking right in front of her duplex. Having the keys to the apartment on Rue Mentana previously mailed to us, we eagerly entered her apartment to check out our digs for the next week. Comfort was ours in every room of her home. We momentarily felt a little nervous about our own child and pet-friendly home not being up to par with Joan's swank place. Our fears were immediately allayed when we heard from her via email that they too had happily settled in at our place in Hoboken, and were eager to visit the Big Apple.
With our energy ebbing after the long drive, we walked to the local market and
picked up some cheese, olives and a baguette and retired to our terrace for a
meal alfresco. Lily huddled on the couch with her blanket and some Cheerios
that we brought from home, and enjoyed the Cartoon Network in French on the TV.
We relaxed sipping some wine that Joan had left for us, listening to the distant
rumble of fireworks before nodding off.
Beginning the next day we discovered the appeal of our immediate neighborhood. Block after block of duplexes and triplexes with terraces and brightly painted doors became the subject of numerous photographs. Small patches of garden, many adorned with varied arrangements of flowers of every hue celebrated Montreal's summer season. The pedestrian-friendly streets and parks were a steady stream of enjoyment for us and Lily. Casual strolls through the alley ways paralleling the streets brought new and interesting finds. One afternoon's discovery was a one-of-a-kind button shop, a long-held passion of Helen's.
Our Local Guides
Joan provided us with a comprehensive list of her favorite places to eat and
shop. Her recommendations were very much in step with our taste, and we found
Montreal to be a haven for outstanding restaurants. Each day we treated
ourselves to lunch out, and bought the ingredients for our other meals at local
patisseries and produce shops recommended by Joan and our neighbors. At Joan's suggestion, we took a trip to the Jean-Talon Market in the Little Italy section of town. We decided to take the Metro four short stops from our place on Mentana. At the market we purchased farm fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, bread, cheese and pates, all to die for! Leaving the market we passed residences typical of the early 20th century - elaborate wrought iron winding staircases and front yard vegetable gardens, often shaded by grape vines.
Back home, we headed straight to our favorite spot on our terrace at home which overlooked a grid of back yards, reminiscent of Hitchcock's film, "Rear Window". Here we sat back enjoying the sounds of typical family life as neighbors arrived home after an average workday. The fact that we couldn't understand a word they were saying allowed us to interpret it all as fun and lively banter. Hopefully nothing Hitchcockian was going on!
During our stay we met several helpful neighbors and a local policeman who, when he learned we were in town for a week at a friend's house, recommended that we sample the smoked meats at Schwartz's on St. Laurant, and the cuisine at the Hong Kong Restaurant in Chinatown. We tried both establishments and were reasonably wowed.
A daily ritual of Joe and Lily's was to pick up fresh croissants at a patisserie around the corner. Next they were off to visit one of several playgrounds within ten minutes of our home. Lily loved all the new playground equipment and communicated just fine with the other kids through laughter and pantomime. One particular day, the parents of a child of similar age to Lily informed Joe of a performance that evening in LaFontaine Parc. The performance entitled, "Cirq' Art" was fun for the whole family- live music, dance and acrobatics, all within ten minutes of where we were living.
It has been said, "the Jazz Festival is the highlight of Montreal's summer, the
expression of the city's vitality, its admiration of art and music... in short,
its beauty". This year marked the 21st JazzFest to be held in Montreal, and
from all signs, the event will be a keeper well into the future.
We managed to get to the JazzFest at the Place-des-Arts and listened to Blues, Dixieland, Louisiana Gumbo, and danced in the streets. Who says Mardi Gras only happens in New Orleans? Lily also had her own fun activities at the festival, and got a little jazz education at the La petite école du Jazz program which introduced children to the various genre of jazz.
Off to plan our next exchange!
Helen B. Close
Written by Foxboro Marmot on 18 Aug, 2001
Not all visitors to Canada are aware that taxes paid on a variety of items are reimbursable. Non-residents who paid federal goods and services tax (GST) on short-term accomodations or goods can get that money back by filing within one year of the date…Read More
Not all visitors to Canada are aware that taxes paid on a variety of items are reimbursable. Non-residents who paid federal goods and services tax (GST) on short-term accomodations or goods can get that money back by filing within one year of the date the tax was paid. Further, until November 1, 2001, visitors can also recover Quebec Sales Tax (TVQ or PST) paid on short-term accomodations. If included in a tour package, only one-half of the tax on accomodations is refundable. The form itself is easy to use.
There are some limitations. The total of purchases involved, before taxes, must exceed $200 CDN. Original receipts - not credit card slips - must accompany the filing. Each individual receipt must exceed $50 CDN before taxes. Unfortunately, taxes paid with restaurant expenses and admission tickets are not eligible.
Type "Canada visitor tax refund" into any internet search engine and you'll get a variety of pages back. Most are services which, for a small fee, will take your paperwork, process it, and return you a check in $US. I've used a couple based in Washington state in the past and found them reputable. You can also go to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency at their website to get the form and cut out the middleman. US residents will even get a check in US currency, eliminating the inconvenience of curency conversion.
It doesn't make a big difference economically, but it's nice to get something back from the government - any government!
It doesn't make a big difference economically, but it's nice to get something back from the government - any government!