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In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Montréal reflected the optimism of the period. It was the largest and most alive city in Canada. In 1967, the city hosted the Expo 67 world’s fair, and in 1976, the Summer Olympics.
So what happened?
In the mid 1970’s, the Quebec separatist movement received a big boost with the election of the Parti Quebecois to the provincial parliament. As a result of restrictive language policies, hundreds of thousands of people fled the province, many moving to Toronto. Even the headquarters of the Bank of Montréal moved to Toronto!
Today, Montréal is still a city worth visiting. Things like the “old city”, the former Olympic facilities, and Mount Royal attract many tourists.
We went to Montréal since Hans wanted to visit the Canadian Railway Museum south of the city. Since there was a blues festival that weekend, Sylvana wanted to stay for a couple of days.
We stayed at Travelodge, which is a popular choice due to its budget prices. Our room was small, with two single beds. Although that’s unusual by North American standards, some people like to compare Montréal with European cities.
The public transit system is quite good. We kept our car parked at the hotel and either walked or took public transit everywhere. We purchased day passes, which made travel on the system easier. The subway, the Métro, is comfortable and efficient, with trains running on rubber tires.
We arrived about noon, and first walked down through Chinatown to the old city. We spent the afternoon exploring the old city. Later, after visiting a couple of downtown churches, we stopped at a deli for a dinner of smoked meat sandwiches. The deli looked like it hadn’t changed in fifty years! We then took the Metro up to Parc Ahuntsic for FestiBlues, an outdoor blues festival.
The next morning, we took the Metro to the Olympic Park where we took the tour of the stadium, and viewed the city from the observation level of the tower. After lunch, we visited the Oratoire St Joseph at the other end of the city, and then Mount Royal. We then took the Metro over for a quick visit to Île Ste Hélène.