The summer is half-way through, July and August are the perfect months for getting on a short flight to Canada. While the humid summer days of New York are flourishing, take advantage of what Canada has to offer - the breezy days, and chill evenings that engulf the waterfront city of Montreal. Indulge your time in Old Montreal that will make you believe you’re in Europe because of its architecture, French dialogues in stores, and a deep-rooted hospitality.
I begin my journey by getting on the 10 AM flight to Montreal. Already by 12 pm I am waiting in line to go through the Canadian Customs. In the early afternoon arrive at Hôtel William Gray - boutique, refined & chic place with a warm atmosphere. This hotel is a combination of a modern building paired with an 18th-century cottage.
After checking in I quickly order an Uber to go for lunch at Toqué!, which is considered to be the second-best restaurant in Canada. I order Princess Scallops marinated with lime juice to start, and then for the main course Guinea Fowl breast with lobster mushroom paired with a glass of white wine. For dessert, I order the Li Chu Chocolate Aerated Ganache and Sponge Cake. The sour taste of raspberry combined with the sweetness of the chocolate is a perfect ending to a memorable meal.
In the evening, after arriving at the hotel, I go upstairs to the iconic rooftop situated on the last floor. I get a reservation in advance because it’s a hot spot at night. From the rooftop, if sitting by the glass wall, I enjoy the view overlooking Old Montreal. Looking East and I can see Old townhalls and their grand cupolas. The North will unveil a Ferris Wheel in changing colors, and looking farther I can see a massive, globe-like iron structure in lightning bright colors. The drinks are well made here, and the food is simple, despite the high-end status of the hotel.
I begin my Saturday morning by getting coffee at the Flyjin Café which is about 7 minutes away from the hotel. This coffee shop mastered coffee brewing and preparation, they carry various sorts of coffee to please every taste. Do not forget to try their local pastries which are freshly made and delivered to the shop daily.
I walk over to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal built in 1824. After admiring this ancient structure, I get an Uber to see an innovative architecturally designed modern complex “Habitat 67” by Moshe Safdie - no neighbors above nor below - highly unusual residential building. When I finish exploring the territory, I go back to Old Montreal for lunch. In fact, I am heading to the galleries situated around the Museum of Fine Art. There I would find plenty of restaurants to please my taste. After lunch is finished I continue to explore the galleries that exhibit many famous local and international artists. After chatting with dealers and learning more about the artists, I order another Uber to go to the Montreal Biosphere - the golden hour of 6 PM is the best time to visit the museum dedicated to the environment because the sunlight will be gently reflected in the pool mirroring the structure. After visiting the Biosphere and sitting by the water pool that reflects this grand structure come back to the hotel. I change my attire for what is to be a fabulous night out. I have a reservation for Bar George, at the luxurious Drummond Mansion which has now evolved into a modern British restaurant with one of kind menu.
The next morning, I am eager to taste the famous Canadian crepes with ham and cheese topped with homemade maple syrup at La Crêpe 2 go - a hokey café with delicious food. After I go for a walk down by the water and get on a ferry that goes up and down the Saint Lawrence River. On the boat, I pass by the “Habitat 67”, but now looking at the structure from the waterfront. Going up the river you will make out the Biosphere in the distance. Cool breezes engulf me, I am glad to have a sweater on hands.
I check out from the hotel around 2 pm to catch the 4:49 pm flight to New York, ending a relaxing, culturally filled and unforgettable weekend.