Prior to my long weekend trip to Montreal, it’s been over a year since I last traveled. I took the midnight bus from Toronto to Montreal to maximize my stay in Montreal. The bus ride from Toronto to Montreal is alittle over 6.5 hours long. I rode on Megabus and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a double decker bus since I thought Megabus would be like Greyhound and just be like a regular tour bus. It’s not hard to find the Metro Toronto Coach Terminal however finding the right line up for the bus is another thing. There was this young couple in front of me who missed their bus by 24 hours. I’m guessing they bought the Friday midnight bus tickets rather than the Saturday midnight bus tickets. If you want to take the midnight bus on a Friday night, the correct ticket date is the Saturday midnight bus, when in doubt follow military time or the 24 hour clock. Megabus drops you off outside of the Le 1000 de la Gauchetière building which is where the metro Place Bonaventure station is located.
When I got to the metro, I bought the 3 day pass ($18). The 3 day pass is valid for the entirety of my trip. When I went to Montreal, a one way fare costs $3 which meant that I had to make at least 7 trips for the 3 day pass to be worthwhile. During my 3 days in Montreal, I made a total of 19 trips. I really like how the STM offers weekend, evening and 3 day passes. Also the metro is much easier on the ears since the trains emit this violin tune when it comes to a stop rather than come to a screeching halt like the TTC does. Comparing the TTC and STM, I prefer STM more.
I stayed at the Montreal Central Hostel during my trip. It was slightly difficult to find it since its directions on their website didn’t account for the fact that the closest metro entrance/exit is closed down. Montreal Central Hostel has a nice looking lobby, includes wi-fi and breakfast (croissants, eggo, toast, coffee, tea, juice), has free local calls (telephone in the room) and it has a locked storage room. They also provide bedding, towels, soap and a paper cup. I was able to check in at 7am and leave my luggage in the locked storage room since I can only get the keys after 2pm. I basically got my keys at midnight when I finally went back to the hostel after a long day of sightseeing. The room I stayed in was clean and tidy although the washroom was quite small but it was clean and it has a shower stall rather than a bathtub. When I first entered my room, the other people were already asleep and the only free bed was the top bunk. I liked how there’s 3 electrical outlets by the side of each bed and there’s a box tied to the railings for you to put stuff in. It’s especially convenient for anybody who gets the top bunk bed because it can be slightly annoying going up and down the ladder at night with no lights on in the room.
Since my stay started on Saturday, I had to eat breakfast elsewhere. I decided to go to Olive + Gourmando (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details). After breakfast I walked past Place d’Youville before walking along Rue de la Commune to get to Place Jacque Cartier. Place Jacque Cartier is where City Hall and Chateau Ramezy are located. Bonsecour Market and Notre Dame de Bonsecour Chapel are really close to it.
I joined the Old Montreal Free Walking Tour. It starts at 10am and ends around noon so it’s a 2 hour tour of Old Montreal, Old Port and part of Downtown Montreal. I was to meet the guide by the fountain next to City Hall. Since the guide had a large white umbrella, he wasn’t hard to find. We started the tour with the guide explaining how the Free Walking Tour operates (by tips and they are all trained for a year prior to doing the tour). The guide then explained how in Montreal, most statues are in pairs in which one statue is of English origin while the other is of French origin. The English statues are also older than the French statues in most cases. The fountain has Nelson on one side and Vauquelin on the other. We then walked down Place Jacque Cartier to reach the garden of Chateau Ramezy where the guide explained abit about the history of Chateau Ramezy and the rivalry between Montreal and Quebec City and how Montreal was founded. Afterwards we walked further down Place Jacque Cartier and past Bonsecour Market to Notre Dame de Bonsecour Chapel.
We toured the inside of Notre Dame de Bonsecour Chapel. I liked how there are model ships inside the church and the statues of angels and Mary on the roof of the church facing the river. Afterwards we walked along the waterfront before heading to Notre Dame Basilica, Maisonneuve Monument and Place d’Armes. We didn’t go inside the Notre Dame Basilica however the guide talked about the history of Notre Dame Basilica and St. Patrick’s Basilica. We then went to see the inside of an old bank (in our case, it was RBC) built during the 1920s-1930s. Afterwards we went and saw a section of the Underground City and that was the end of the tour.
I decided to spend the rest of my afternoon with a group of New Yorkers who were also part of the Old Montreal Free Walking Tour. We first had to find an ATM for them to withdraw some cash and while we were looking for an ATM we came across afew souvenir shops so we went in so that they could buy some souvenirs. We then walked around Chinatown. It’s very small in comparison to the Chinatowns of Toronto and there’s nothing especial about it aside from a bust of Sun Yat Sen at Place Sun Yat Sen. We then walked to Brasserie T! for lunch (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details).
After lunch, we leisurely made our way to Christ Church Cathedral. The architecture is Gothic and quite pretty. We then went to Dorchester Square which is surrounded by Windsor Hotel and The Gazette. The Windsor Hotel is part of Canada’s railway hotels which include Toronto’s Royal York, Quebec City’s Chateau Frontenac, Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier, Winnipeg’s Fort Garry Hotel, Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton, Hotel Vancouver in Vancouver and The Empress in Victoria. We parted ways at Dorchester Square.
I walked to Mary Queen of the World Cathedral (there was a wedding going on inside at the time so I couldn’t go in). I then walked past Place Bonaventure and Tour de la Bourse before making my way to St. Patrick’s Basilica. The outside may not be as impressive as Notre Dame Basilica or St. Joseph’s Oratory but the inside is quite majestic. It was 4:25 when I finished touring St. Patrick’s Basilica which meant that I had to run since I had to meet my friend at 4:45pm at Metro Mont-Royal. Apparently I had plenty of time, according to my friend when I told him that I rushed over to meet him. We had dinner at Au Pied du Cochon (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details).
After dinner we meandered our way to Le Lab (please refer to my review of it on an earlier post for details). Afterwards, on our way to La Banquise, I spotted the 11 bus so my friend and I decided to take the bus to Mont Royal Park rather than eat poutine. Mont Royal Park is a large park with two lookout points. We first went to the Belvédère Kondiaronk which overlooks downtown before walking to Belvédère Camillien-Houde which overlooks Stade Olympique (Olympic Stadium). After I finished taking pictures of the night skyline, we went back to Belvédère Kondiaronk so that we could make our way down the mountain towards downtown so we could get to the metro station.
- Breakfast: Olive + Gourmando (travellingfoodtographer.wordpress.com)
- Lunch: Brasserie T! (travellingfoodtographer.wordpress.com)
- Dinner: Au Pied de Cochon (travellingfoodtographer.wordpress.com)
- Cocktails: Le Lab (travellingfoodtographer.wordpress.com)
- Megabus (America): How To Use Guide (expattraveltips.wordpress.com)
- Rue de la Commune and rue Saint Pierre (montrealinpictures.com)
- Some views from the Old Port of Montreal (montrealinpictures.com)
- Old Port of Montreal (montrealinpictures.com)