After our second stint in America we were back to Canada, for our third visit, and the eastern areas this time. We had three full days in Montréal and there was plenty of snow fun to be had.
From Everett (A) we travelled through the states of New Hampshire and Vermont, 410 kms towards the Canadian border (B) and as we did, we began to see more and more snow appearing, which was getting us very excited until…. At the border we handed over our passports and answered a few questions at the entry booth. We were then asked to park up and come inside the building. We sat down and waited to be called. Logan was called into a seperate area and questioned by a Customs officer while the boys and I continued to wait. Next up I was called to answer some questions while Logan went out to the waiting area. Finally, after nearly an hour and a half, they were obviously satisfied with our travel situation and we were cleared to enter Canada and continue the 80 kms to Montréal (C).Since that experience, (and the time we had our car searched at another Canadian border) we have spoken to numerous Canadians who have said that their border officers are known for being over the top with those entering Canada. And sometimes even with Canadians themselves re-entering. Anyway, we were back on the road and the delay didn’t cause too many issues with meeting up with our Airbnb host. Once in Montréal we were fully immersed in the snow and cold. Well, we weren’t staying geographically in Montréal itself, but just across the St Lawrence river in Longueuil (read our review of the apartment here). It was a windy evening and when we first got out of the car we just about had the icy wind go right through us!! We were definitely not expecting these temperatures.
We settled into the warm apartment and first thing on the agenda for the next day was upping our ‘snow weather gear’ game. We headed to a nearby thrift, second-hand store and sifted through the racks and shelves looking for some more weightier clothing. We all got snow jackets and snow pants and Braxton, Lincoln and I all managed to get snow boots as well but there just wasn’t any in Logan’s size. He was going to have to raise his price tag and actually purchase some brand new ones, probably just from Walmart though. Once back at the apartment we got kitted out in all our gear and went down to the piles of snow for some fun. The boys did snow angels and we had a snow ball fight to make sure our “new” snow-wear was suitable for our new weather conditions and they passed the test.Our second day we woke to snow falling and it was pretty constant all day. The Canadians have got it sorted though, the roads are well ploughed, heated tunnels between buildings and the metro stations and trains definitely aren’t cold. We had a fun afternoon at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium and besides the general exhibits and hands-on activities we saw three, 30 minute shows in the incredible 360° theatre. They call it “an immersive experience” and they were all so well done. You are in a huge dome theatre where the seats are inclined and the screen and visuals have you feeling like you are moving at times. We didn’t take many photos but it was worth the $53.75 CAD/$59.72 NZD entry cost for the family.In the evening we went into the city centre to get some dinner, which included our first taste of poutine. If you’ve not tried poutine then you definitely should, it is french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy and originated in the Québec province in the late 1950s. We decided to skip the traditional version and ordered chicken and bolognese options – we were all instantly sold on this dish!! These would be the first of many.After dinner we spent a couple of hours walking around the city, and looking out for projections on buildings as part of Cité Mémoire, which is loosely inspired by the history of Montréal and shows an array of characters who’ve witnessed the city’s evolution first-hand. Some even came alive further with music being played from speakers on street level. An incredible way to explore a city and at night, with the lights and snow, it made us feel like we had been transformed into a magical wonderland. Plus, the boys had huge amounts of snow to play in along the way.
For our last day in Montréal we found that it was the first day of the Fête des neiges de Montréal, which Google translated to ‘snow party from Montréal’. So with it being -22°C outside, why not go to a snow festival. It was located in Jean-Drapeau Park, on an island between Longueuil and Montréal, so it was a simple, one stop ride on the Metro system for us. It was a pretty “cool” set up, with an ice pirate ship, ice slides and a husky obstacle course, as well as a nice warm building to escape the outside temperatures. We would generally spend about 30-40 minutes outside at a time and then go inside for some warmth, Subway’s soups were a big hit. A fantastic free event, but we did pay for all of us to have access to the larger ice slide area ($25 CAD/$27.78 NZD) and the boys went on a dog sled ride ($20 CAD/$22.22 NZD). Overall, we managed about a total of four hours, which we thought was pretty good for newbies to these freezing conditions.We throughly enjoyed our time in Montréal, we thought we would be doing some heavy translations with French but everyone was very friendly and Logan’s high school French classes (and I’m talking the first two years of high school) got us by pretty well. We would love to visit this city again one day, but for now we were heading to another pet sit with a great array of animals to care for.
However, when we woke in the morning we hit a bit of snag…. a snow storm. Stay tuned for that blog, and more of our awesome world adventures!!
Average Daily Spend for 4 nights – $242.83 NZD ($44.67 under budget per day)