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.

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