I finally made it.
I had been waiting for this trip so long, you can’t even imagine. One of my long-term goals was getting to Montréal and I made it. This trip was unbelievable even tough it was extremely fast. Mixed emotions, many plans ahead and a welcoming ambience made me reassure this is a city I want to live in.
Since the moment I stepped into the cozy neighborhoods with a wood-like smell I knew this city was going to be wonderful. I stayed in a room in Candiac South Shore: safe neighborhoods and extremely quiet. The houses seemed from a fairy tale, everything in order, everything clean. Even tough this is far from the city there is easy and fast transportation to get to Centre-Ville. But if you are looking for practicality I recommend looking into BnBs right down at Centre-Ville, Candiac South Shore is more of a residential area and consumes valuable time (and money!) to move from one place to another. I was lucky my hosts dropped me at Panama Station at Brossard where I took a Bus 45 Candiac – Montréal ( $3.25 aprox). It takes 35 min to get to Centre-Ville.
I strongly recommend buying an OPUS+ at the Metro. It is a transit card from $10-$13 CAN but it works for any public transportation all around Montréal for 24 hours, as many times you want! It is definitely easier to carry one card than to be looking for spare change every time you need to move around the city, and absolutely cheaper!
The metro is extremely easy to understand and use, even if you haven’t use one ever in your life I am sure you will figure this one out.
This is a city full of youth, nevertheless there is a remarkable contrast between innovation and antiquity. The Centre-Ville is very well-known to be very artistic and have a hipster-look with a blend of modernism. Montréal has a lot to offer, it is clearly worthy to walk and walk and just walk. The weather is wonderful and the security is great, so enjoy it! (My visit was made during July, so the weather allowed me to walk and explore a lot).
Places I quickly visited:
L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph de Mont-Royal is colossal. It is hidden on top of the hill with an excellent view of the city. It takes from 10-20 minutes to get from the Centre-Ville to L’Oratoire.
Lac Memphremagog – Magog is quite far from Montréal (2hrs by car), but it is a must if you have the time and transportation aid (from relatives, friends or hosts). I loved it! It is a super friendly park and a beach with a very relaxing ground, meditation ambience or just a family (or lover hee hee) getaway.
There is something very useful you must know, the schedule the Canadians have is very peculiar. Most of the shops and convenient stores were closed between 5 and 7 pm, so say goodbye to those cravings before or after dinner. And yes, you will have to anticipate your shopping because you will find some ghostly streets past 5 pm.
As well, the parking spaces are pretty complicated, they are full of rules and restrictions that will make you think more than twice to park in that juicy spot you just found (in case you plan to rent a car).
As I was walking through the neighborhood I noticed Canadians have hockey rinks located in certain places, as soccer fields in Mexico. We have soccer fields everywhere in Mexico! and every time a recreation park opens the first sport-place we build is a soccer field.
The french got the best of me. I finally understood the challenge of moving throughout a city (alone) using a language you don’t master. Just so you know, this city was my motivation on waking up early on Saturdays for a whole year to finish the Basic Level of french. I am looking forward to master the language as soon as I move to Montréal next year. Even tough everybody speaks English around the city, everything and everyone tries to communicate FIRST in French, so I got a chance to practice as far as I could.
I am doing an unbelievable effort to accomplish my goals and to get to Montréal is the main one that leads me to many. I am truly grateful to the wonderful Tiscareño family who opened their arms and made me feel welcome as soon as I met them. Thank you for answering all of my questions, even the silly ones (hehehe), and being open and honest about the city´s pros and cons.
I am looking forward. Excited, thrilled and with tons of very juicy plans ahead before I reach to my wonderful destination again: Montréal.
“It is astonishing how much enjoyment one can get out of a language that one understands imperfectly.”
― Basil Gildersleeve