Hello, Barbie! ~ Exploring the Underground City

Montréal’s underground city is a famed tourist attraction, winding underneath the equivalent of forty-one city blocks, extending over some twenty miles worth of tunnels, with shops, museums, interactive exhibits, and apparently even housing in it. It is touted as a glorious place for tourists, but in reality, it is more of a practical place for the people of Montréal, who have to otherwise walk outside during the coldest parts of the winter (and it does, apparently, get very cold). However, it is a place to be, and the portion of the underground city closest to where I am staying also happens to have something I have been hunting for since I first arrived: a bookstore.

Usually I make finding a bookstore one of the first orders of business when I arrive in a city, but this trip has been a little crowded, and as of yet, I had not been able to even take the time to locate a bookseller, much less pay them a visit. I had been quite excited to make this particular stop, however, as this is Montréal, which means–gasp–French books. Now, before you go about thinking me to be all snobbish and uppercrust bilingual, let me first remind you that my French skills are best used to get me into trouble, as well as to stress that my particular brands of French books run as follows: children’s stories, books from Urban Comics, and classic books I’ve nearly memorized in English.

Thus I had set off for the Underground City, hoping against hope that I would soon find myself in a large bookstore, where I could shop to my heart’s content. But alas, that was not to be. As I walked through the doors and began looking around, I noted that there was, of all things, a Barbie exhibit. Now, I’ve never been a particularly huge fan of Barbie–at least, I wasn’t as a child–but an entire Barbie exhibit? I just had to go.

And boy, have they rolled out the red carpet.

The collection is simply all of the Barbie dolls (or at least the most popular ones) arranged either in model scenarios or in glass cabinets. There had to be well over two hundred dolls in there, maybe even close to five hundred. If that sounds like overwhelmingly a lot, I will add that the dolls set up in the scene boxes, like the fashion show one, managed to pack in a lot of dolls: there were at least twenty dolls watching the fashion show, plus the dolls on the rotating stage, and the announcer doll. Other boxes included, of course, a James Bond theme, a Lord of the Rings theme, a weird let’s-mash-all-the-vaguely-fantasy-and-scifi-leftover-dolls-together theme, and a royalty theme, each with at least a dozen, if not closer to twenty, dolls in them. Then there were all of the Barbies in the wall.

It was incredibly fascinating. It was interesting to see which of the Barbies had aged the worst, and how that had affected their color. It was also interesting to look at Mattel’s around the world collection, which featured Barbie’s in either the traditional or stereotypical dress of many of the world’s countries. It was also interesting to note the evolution of Black Barbie as opposed to Barbie (because apparently Barbie is white unless otherwise specified) and the introduction of the Designer Barbies, with their couture gowns.

I probably spent a good forty-five minutes looking at the dolls. It’s quite surprising, actually, but then, it also makes me wonder what other goodies the underground city might have to offer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hey, Look! I Posted A Thing!

I am, unsurprisingly, still getting used to the new blog format (though I do love it dearly!). Anyway, since I am in Montréal, I figured I might as well review a book set in Montréal. However, since everything is still new, unless you have subscribed directly to each section of the new format, you won’t see what is posted there (unless you’re really dedicated and check all the new tabs regularly).

Thus, some shameless self promotion.

I finally finished reading Déjà Dead, and I have reviewed it here. So pop on over and take a look, yeah?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Outdoor Food, Ice Cream, and Covered Markets

I’ve been spending a lot of time down in Old Montréal–in fact almost all of my free time, I’ve been down there exploring. Much of it is, of course, a tourist trap (because tourists pull in money), but there are quite a number of gems, too. A very popular trend is for the restaurants to have outdoor seating, which makes sense on a number of levels. First off, there is not much room inside each restaurant, so the number of people who can be crammed in is limited. Secondly, it’s gorgeous out, especially in the evenings. Why not sit outside in the light and beauty, rather than settle indoors, where it is dark and a bit cramped? So far, I’ve found two favorites: Bevo and Restaurant Papillon.

We visited Bevo very shortly after our first day in the city. While it is a pizzeria and has very good pizza, we also went ahead and decided to try a pasta, too. We settled on the tortelloni con ricotta e spinaci, which was basically a cheese and spinach stuffed tortellini with a pesto sauce. It. Was. Amazing. The end result was their pesto pasta quickly came out to be everyone’s favorite dish of the evening.

Later, we also visited Restaurant Papillon, which is not far from Bevo. It definitely has a different style of food, more comfort food (in my opinion), and very good soup. We found Papillon to be friendly and a bit slower paced than Bevo, although that might have been due to the days we visited (there will always be more people about on weekends and in the evenings than in the late afternoon on a weekday). My travel companions have gone back to Papillon since, and have been just as impressed.

After both meals, we went down one of the alleys to a little ice cream shop called la Diperie. La Diperie is a different take on essentially soft serve, with ice cream dipped in a large variety of flavored hardshells and rolled in everything from chocolate chips to pretzels to matcha powder. After paying, you can pop out the back door into the covered market, which, while filled with a good number of artisan goods, also has a number of chairs and tables. I learned the first time around that the ice cream will melt if you try to walk around the market and eat it at the same time. Best to eat your snack right away, then explore the market. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something fun.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Of Taxi Drivers and Interpreters

This morning I woke up bright and early, packed my things, and waited for the magical moment when a taxi would pull up and take me away. As per usual with me moving from one place to another, it was raining. Thus, a taxi was necessary to get me to my next destination.

Which is another hotel.

Down the same street.

Like four blocks.

And the taxi driver wasn’t actually a taxi driver, he was an Uber driver. So far, I’ve always had much better luck with actual taxis than with Uber, and surprise surprise, today was no exception.

You see, I was not switching hotels by myself. I was, however, the only francophone. Let’s also keep in mind that I’m not a true francophone. I know enough French to get myself in trouble, but not enough to get myself out of trouble, much less get someone else out of trouble. So here we are, and here comes our Uber driver, who only speaks–you guessed it–French. Oy vey.

The drive was filled with miscommunication, frustrations (the app routed the driver to the wrong place), and mishaps (we couldn’t change the address for the app). This, of course, all endeared Uber strongly to me, and it definitely did not endear us to our driver in the least, who had decided we simply didn’t know how to use the app and was giving extensive directions on how to work the app.

I swear, sir, it has nothing to do with the app, but everything to do with the fact that this phone has suddenly decided it doesn’t speak French 4G and will only accept English 4G.

What bugs me about this, I suppose, is that I have managed to get on with non-English speaking taxi drivers with very few mishaps. Often things involve pointing and and smiling with hand cues regarding the yes and no status of things. Oh, and a meter. Meters make everything easier to pay for, especially when they’re the sort where you just tap your transport card on it and voila! your fare is paid, no money passed hands, neither party has any reason to be nervous about the other one scamming them, and it’s a beautiful world filled with daisies and rainbows and fairies and glitter.

Uber might let you pay over the app, but there’s a lot less trust between drivers and riders, and I don’t like it. We all did eventually get to our destination, and everyone ended the ride content with the outcome (yay, tipping), but still.

Someone call me a taxi, I want out.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Christmas Shop, or An Homage on my Nutcracker Obsession

A long time ago, when I was a tiny little girl, I began dancing. I vaguely remember not having a leotard at my first class and wearing a sort of tie-dye shirt and shorts that I think otherwise doubled as sleepwear, but otherwise, I don’t remember not dancing. Each season had its own production, but the crowning glory of every year was the winter production, which was and is and always will be Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. It was a huge part of my early life, even once I was no longer able to dance myself. I recently found out that participation in this cult hobby at a young age had a lifelong impact on my health, as it has affected my bone density, joint formation, and, more recently, I discovered that it might have had something to do with the fact that I developed flat feet at an early age. Regardless, the Nutcracker is still very important to me. The first bar of the Nutcracker Overture makes me turn into a starry eyed kid again. The first bar of the Nutcracker Overture also makes my dad turn into the Grinch, so it’s a toss up over if you want me to be excited and vocal or my dad to turn green and experience heart shrinkage.

All that to say, Montréal has a Christmas store a little over a block away from Tommy’s and less than a block from Notre Dame. The store is called Noël Eternel, and their website holds about 1/8th of their actual inventory (and not the best 1/8th, either, so don’t judge them on it). There were, of course, the usual Canadian stuff targeted at tourists, which included gilded leaves, a thing which my family has collected since, well, since I was still dancing. We have leaves from a couple different places, but up until this point, none from Canada, so that was of course going to be a required purchase (for those of you not quite sure what I’m talking about, take a look at these). This was, however, a small section of the store’s inventory, although probably the most popular.

Belle, in a pretty variation on the theme of her normal cartoon dress, with Lumiere creepin’ in the background

The second most popular thing in the store, it appears, are the village collections. I find these cute, but they are definitely one of those things that I have absolutely no place for–my Liberty Falls collection is living somewhere in my parents’ garage, or, if they were concerned about the outdoor cats spraying on them, somewhere deep in a closet, where it probably hasn’t seen the light of day since my mother “borrowed” some of the houses for a display at the local library. Long story short, I think those villages look cool, but I have no use for them at this stage in my life. What I also don’t have room for, but somehow end up getting on a semi-regular basis, is porcelain figurines, dolls, and ornaments. At some point (most definitely not today) I’ll have to tell the story about my childhood and porcelain dolls. It’s safe to say they don’t freak me out. One of my favorites (which I actually did not get!) was a Belle figurine, which was probably on display thanks to the recently released movie. I did take a picture of it, though, as I love the take on the costume design.

I was almost done wandering, and thinking that I might have actually gotten out of a Christmas themed store scott free (aka, without buying much of anything) when I turned around and found myself face to face with, not nutcrackers, but ornaments…from the Nutcracker Suite. 

For those of you not familiar with the story of the Nutcracker, it goes somewhat like this: A little girl named Clara is given a nutcracker at a family Christmas Eve gathering by Drosselmeyer, her slightly kooky uncle/godfather who moonlights as an enchanted toy maker (or just a regular toy maker, depending on who is telling the story). Franz, her brother, who was given a Generic Toy™, resents the fact that Drosselmeyer clearly favors Clara and tries to steal the nutcracker from her. In the ensuing scuffle, Franz breaks the Nutcracker. Drosselmeyer gives the Nutcracker a temporary “fix” and puts a bandage on its arm. That night, Clara sneaks downstairs to sleep on the couch by the Christmas tree, and ends up in the middle of a fight between the Rat King and the Nutcracker and his toy soldiers (it’s inferred that Drosselmeyer made them all come to life, but there’s also this weird business of Clara shrinking down to the size of all the toys, which includes the Christmas tree growing to like ten times its original size, and one time when I was a kid the cable that held the Christmas tree so it could “grow” snapped and the entire thing fell down). Clara saves the Nutcracker from the Rat King, and as a thank you, he takes her to his kingdom. Once they arrive, the royal court welcomes Clara, the Nutcracker retells the story of her daring rescue, and all of the people of the court perform for Clara (which is about half of the ballet). Each mini performance by the court is supposed to represent both a sweet and a nationality, breaking down usually as follows:

  • Chocolate/Spain
  • Coffee/Arabia
  • Tea/China
  • ???/Russia and Ukraine (I thought this one was Turkish Delight, but I was more recently informed that they’re supposed to be Candy Canes)
  • Marzipan (or lollipops, again, depending on the telling)/France
  • Marshmallow/The Circus (because apparently that’s it’s own country)
  • Flowers/???
  • Sugar Plum Fairy/Fantasyland

Basically, the sweet/nationality thing only works for part of the time, but it’s a fun way to cause confusion hundreds of years after you compose and choreograph a ballet.

But back to Noël Eternel. There I was, facing a collection of dancing Nutcracker ornaments, with Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, Turkish Delight, and Mother Marshmallow staring back at me. They had a Sugar Plum Fairy, too, but she was obviously from a different collection, and honestly, she’s not that hard to find. But the other sweets? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any collectible/purchasable item from them in my life, and I immediately Had. To. Have. Them.

So I bought all five, which rang up to essentially my daily travel allowance, and I couldn’t be happier. They are now sitting in their pretty white boxes just to the left of my computer, waiting for Christmas to come around.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Of Coffee Shops and Carriages

The first order of business anytime, anywhere, is always coffee. This seems to be a trend with me no matter where I go. This is, of course, because coffee is life, and the root of all things like walking and talking and getting out of bed. If the question is coffee, the answer is yes. Essentially, my spirit animal is Lorelei Gilmore (played by Safiya Nygaard).

Thus, my next order of business in Montréal was to find a good coffee shop. Actually, to be realistic, it was to try coffee at as many places as possible, but the first step in drinking coffee at all the places is to drink coffee at one of the places. Thus, I found myself at the doors of Tommy Café, where the promise of good coffee and tasty pastries awaited me.

Tommy is located about a block away from Montréal’s Notre Dame Cathedral, and it does have a hipster chic feel to it. Past experiences have taught me to be wary of such places, as they are just as likely to ironically brew stale Starbucks coffee as they are to be the real deal. After all, there’s no feeling quite as bitter as realizing your fresh aromatic coffee has been replaced with the sinister bitter taste of old beans. I’m much more a snob about this sort of thing than I was a decade ago–which isn’t even half of my coffee drinking career, to be honest. My mom got me hooked early in life. I’m fairly sure she did this in an attempt to stunt my growth and convince my body that I should be the height of a normal sized person (spoiler: it didn’t work).

The café is well lit, which always makes me happy, because light means windows which means places to sit and watch people go buy. Plus the staircase indicated there was upstairs seating, which is a double boon for sitting and watching people go by. But, before I could get to that, I needed my coffee–and a munchie.

I am happy to say I was not disappointed in either.

For some reason, I decided to get a café au lait, which is not my usual drink. Usually I drink my coffee black. Years ago I ditched milk (but only because it made me sick), and quickly discovered that if coffee is good, it actually is not bad at all black. It was not until much later that I learned that bitter coffee is bad coffee, and not of coffee’s natural state. If you have to have lots of sugar and milk and stuff in your coffee, that’s because the coffee is substandard (here’s looking at you, Starbucks). That doesn’t mean, of course, I am against the occasional frappuccino, it just means that, well, I’ve developed into a snob. I blame Europe. Anyway, the café au lait was good, as was the food, and I was happy.

A good number of the other customers are reading books or working on computers, which is always encouraging (because then we can all work together separately). I lounged about on one of the couches, and watched out the window. Every few minutes a carriage would roll by, and I was reminded of the fact that nearly every big town with anything remotely historic in it has it’s own collection of carriages. Despite that, I still wanna ride the ride and pet the horsies every time. Montréal has a definite flavor of times passed, and Tommy seems to incorporate that into the café through the detailing in the building. Part of me wants to look up the history, but another part of me–a stronger part of me–is more interested in continuing watching people.

Eventually I do have to leave–that is the case with every place, after all–but it was time well spent. Maybe next time I’ll get the coffee, no milk, no sugar. Just coffee.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Doors in the Ivy Covered Walls

“The eyes are not the windows of the soul, they are the doors.”

~The Time of the Angels

I have often thought that old towns are a bit like onions, and the older they are, the more onion-y they get. If you think about cutting an onion in half, side to side, you get a very small center which everything else wraps around. If the center is weirdly shaped, the entire onion is probably going to be weirdly shaped. If the center is perfectly round, the onion will be perfectly round. Old cities start out as the tiny middle part of the onion, and then new, younger layers grow up around it. Every now and then two cities grow into each other and form two Ds in the center of the onion, after which it resumes its regular round growth pattern. No one from the outside would be the wiser, leaving it as a fun surprise for the intrepid explorer.

Honestly, I’ve no idea if the inside layer of an onion is the youngest or the outside layer, but apparently google doesn’t know, either, so I’mma gonna keep telling you the outer layers are younger, as it works with my illustration. For the purposes of telling the story, then, I humbly request that everyone forgo any scientific thought for the next five or ten minutes, or even better, until I actually do figure out how onions grow, at which point, I may properly inform you all of useless information that does not matter much to anyone at all.

Anyway, most cities have some element of an onion to them (unless, you know, Napoleon got a hold of them and bulldozed anything that might let people revolt) and Montréal is no different. It is a port city, so it is a misshapen onion, but the concept still applies. Wandering the streets on my way down to the old city gave me an opportunity to take this in, as well as note all the places that had been rebuilt, modified, or otherwise modernized. The mismatch of old and new has always been fascinating to me.

It is, actually, a rather arbitrary method. At what point is something old enough to be historic, and even then, how many people have to care about it’s historic-ness for it to be considered worth protecting? If something is worth protecting, can people continue to live in it and use it, or should it be conserved? The anthropologist in me wants to know. The anthropologist in me is also wondering about what sorts of people live in a town like Montréal. The problem with festivities is I’ve yet to find myself some real Montréalians (Montréal-ers?) to observe, as everywhere I have gone so far has been populated mainly be people who are visiting the city. That’s the problem with being near old Montréal and the old Port. It’s a tourist attraction, so the only non-tourists are the people who work there, who are probably worn out from dealing with tourists anyway.

As I wandered on, I found myself on a street that probably on any other day would have been quiet, but today was filled with people leaving events. As people in colorful garb (a few wearing the signature tourist hat and hawaiian shirt, which seemed to clash like some ironic hipster joke with the cloudy northern weather) passed, I wondered what the people who lived in these flats thought of the festivities. Surely their everyday lives were disrupted by the sudden influx of revelers down their street (and, as I later found, into their metro). I found the colorful doors and the sidewalk gardens enchanting, however, and thus loitered around until everyone else had passed, at which point I began to snap my pictures.

I find it interesting that, with such little space around them, each of these doors seemed to have so much personality in them. Even in cases where doors seemed like twins, the windows above and the side garden seem to wink at you and say “oh, yes, we’re exactly alike, but so different at once.” Some of the gardens were extremely utilitarian, and I saw more than one set of vegetables planted between doors or lining the walkway to the street, but others had a bit of fancy, giving the whole arrangement a sort of Alice in Wonderland-esque feel. A couple wandering by with some steampunk inspired garb helped strengthen the momentary illusion. Given the earlier performance of the giants, it all seemed a bit like a Renaissance Faire, where all the adults know it is play pretend, but it still feels as if you had walked through a doorway and accidentally crossed into another era where things were similar, yet quite different.

This last picture is one of my favorites because, ironically, it bothers me. First off, I had thought it would be a great picture, as a bike had been stored just to the left of the window…and then someone parked their truck directly in front of the bike. I decided to take the picture anyway, just to see how it turned out. I ended up spending quite a lot of time trying to crop it properly, because, well, the building isn’t straight. Eventually I had to give up trying to straighten everything out, which irks me. But then, it prompts the question–why? Why isn’t this building straight? Was it poorly constructed? Did something happen that made its foundation twist? But those are questions I won’t get an easy answer to. While each of the doors tells me something about the person inside, they hide even more–because that is what doors are meant to do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Giants, Giants, Everywhere

Early this morning I awoke to the sound of drums.

* insert your own Doctor Who joke here *

I assumed it was a concert at a nearby park, and lazily laid in bed and half listened to it. I was not yet fully awake, so when it seemed to end rather quickly (for a concert at least), I thought nothing of it and assumed I had cat napped through the performance. It was, however, sounding like the day would quickly pass me by if I did not get up and out of the hotel. After extricating myself from the covers, getting ready, and debating if I should bring a coat or not, I headed out in hunt of coffee, only to be greeted by a cool afternoon. So I promptly turned about and went back up for the jacket, which later proved to be a very good idea.

I had noticed that some movable blockades had been set up when I first went out, but thought very little of it until, on a whim, I decided to look up on the anniversary app what, exactly, was going on that day. And boy, was I in for a surprise. Apparently all the noise in the morning had been a sort of parade passing by, and I had missed the giants. They were, at that point, “napping” (according to the app), but would be passing by in about a half an hour’s time. Curiosity piqued, I began to noodle around the internet and youtube, searching for more information about these “giants”.  The Giants are essentially huge steampunk puppets. They are presented by Royal de Luxe, a French company who tries to make theater more accessible to the average person by taking it out of the theaters and into the streets. The company has since grown and evolved into something magnificent, and tours the world doing street performances. And they were going to come back past the hotel in about a half hour.

Apparently I wasn’t going out like I planned.

I returned to the street. It was much fuller than it had been a quarter hour earlier, and I figured it was only going to get more crowded. I briefly considered scaling a light pole and sitting on it (as some of you know, I have a bit of history with climbing and falling off of tall things), but good sense prevailed, and I wormed my way through the crowd until I was happy with my potential view.

There is, apparently, a bit of a story to go with the puppets. The dog came by first, barely taller than the viewers, and it is supposed to be the little girl’s pet. Next, of course, was the little girl, who has been frozen in ice for years and only recently melted. Some of the time she moves around on a sort of scooter/tricycle sort of thing, but every now and then it gets left behind and she walks on her own. Behind her follows her uncle, the diver, who came up from the sea to reunite with his niece now that she is free from the ice.

The giants were pretty amazing. My own video of the diver seems to object to the idea of uploading, however, Air Canada apparently quickly strung a video together for the internet to see, since soft advertisement is always good. Thus, to get a flavor of it (with a very different flavor of music than what actually occurred), Air Canada presents:

If you can’t tell from the video, the puppets move through a complicated system of weights and pulleys, the weights being provided by pairs of performers launching themselves off of a platform while holding on to a rope. Very steampunk-esque, and very fun. The procession ended with a large pair of cymbals and a cannon, the latter of which spewed blue and white confetti and postcards with the various puppets on them. After retrieving a few of the postcards, I looked around and headed down to old Montréal. It was the last day the giants would be in the city–they were heading down to the Port to depart. But it was one of my first days in the city, so I still had much to explore.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Irish Hurlers in Montréal

We decided to eat dinner in the little restaurant attached to the hotel this evening. It was quiet when we went in, with only one other couple in the restaurant at the time. We settled in, translated the menu, and got our drinks. So far, it seems that Canada is rather European in schedule, so there is plenty of time to sit and talk, people watch, or otherwise amuse yourself. We were not far into our actual meal when a group of men walked by, and then into, the restaurant.  They were all wearing sports jerseys, so I assumed they were footballers (soccer players. Get with the times). Then, as the evening progressed, I began listening…and I realized. These were no ordinary footballers.

These were Irish hurlers.

For reference, hurling is huge in Ireland, and it is the only game I have ever gone to a pub to watch. It’s a weirdly enchanting sport, because a good part of the time the ball (sliotar) just seems to hover over the stick, and you’re just sitting there going

even though you know it’s not. Also, if people are watching it on a big screen, it’s like watching a bunch of kittens watch a ping pong game. But I digress.

So there I sat, eavesdropping as I am wont to do, and as I listened, I realized that one of the lads was from Cork, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Because, what other sort of person would I run into? Clearly I have been away from Ireland for too long, and the universe chose that this must be immediately rectified.

Apparently they’ve been traveling and doing sports workshops, as well as playing some games themselves. The latter has contributed to all of them getting a bit banged up, but in true Irish fashion, it seems it is nothing a bit of rest and a lot of beer can’t fix. After dinner had run its course and everyone was all chatted out, they went on to do a bit of pubbing.

I sat down and did a bit of research. I don’t have much to do tomorrow, so I am hoping to spend a bit of time experiencing the city and getting to know the personality quirks of Montréal. I’m also set on finding a bookstore at some point during this trip…I’ve run low on books.

Again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Can’t Get There From Here: A City Celebrates

For the record, I was not the person who planned this trip, which is why I did not know that this is Montréal’s 375th anniversary (and Canada’s 150th anniversary). Hence the extensive traffic involved in getting somewhere near where I am staying. It appears there are events running pretty nearly all the time, ranging from spectacle performances to historical walks and tours. I got quite interested in it, and even went so far as to give up some precious space on my phone to download the alive 375 app (you can see the website version here). It not only lays out what events will be going on where, but provides pretty consistent updates on what is happening.

Basically, even if I don’t go to a single event, it will be helpful to figure out traffic–not that I plan to spend much time traveling in vehicles here. There is a metro that is fairly comprehensive, and I would venture to say that it will most likely have a bit less traffic going on than the streets have up here. At least all the traffic will be going in the same directions and not every which way.

Going back to discussing the anniversary, though–I find it interesting that part of the celebrations are, well, not particularly celebrations. You see, part of the the anniversary goings on are linked to small businesses run by the under forty crowd–“young entrepreneurs”. The program, sponsored by the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal (which roughly translates as the Youth’s Chamber of Commerce, Montréal), includes such things as a mentorship program, reduced costs in advertising and rental spaces at anniversary events, and a startup competition that vaguely reminds me of Shark Tank. Color me impressed.

With as of yet very little exposure to Montréal, I’m finding it ironic that a city so old should be so young. Perhaps it is the oldness that allows the youngness to shine. Or it might be the fact that I am quite close to McGill University, and all of the attendees just kind of oozed out to fill up the empty space. Maybe all of the festivities have been geared toward young people. Either way, it makes the city seem alive in a different way–I mean, Paris is alive, but it’s a much colder, uppity place. I think I’m going to like it here.

My utmost apologies, by the way, to my English-only readers. Through the next weeks, there will be a bit of French, as I do like to link back whenever I talk about a place or things, and Montréal is, well, a very bilingual place. I hope you’ll find it as enjoyable as I am, despite any language bumps.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment