Montreal, Je T’Adore



10 years ago, I went to Montreal for the first time on a whim. I was 20 years old, living in Ottawa and working for the Canadian government when I had just found out that my mother had breast cancer. Right after I received this upsetting news, a French Canadian guy - who I’d only met a few weeks earlier - invited me to hang out with him in Montreal. I was in such an emotional state that I decided to risk it and go spend time with someone I barely knew and have him show me his city.

From that day forward, I fell madly in love with Montreal (not the boy, though - we remained friends and thankfully my mom recovered from cancer shortly after). I have gone back every few years since then, including spending three weeks in a French immersion program, just a few years after my first visit.

When I returned to the city last week with my husband and son, I was reminded why I love Montreal. Here are my ten favourite things - in no particular order - about North America’s coolest city.

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Oct. 29, 1954: A visit by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother to New York included being whisked to the 102nd floor observation deck of the Empire State Building. She charmed her American guides, chatting with them amiably and was “nearly mobbed” as she left the building. “How the crowds knew she was in the building was something of a mystery,” The Times reported. “Her decision to make a visit was not made until noon.” People thronged for a glimpse of royalty, even if it meant playing hooky and waiting. “I’ll probably get fired,” a secretary was quoted complaining. “But I’ve waited this long so I’m going to wait till she comes down — even if I don’t make it back to the office before closing time.” Photo: Patrick A. Burns/The New York Times



Science is “a practice, an artform still budding in its years.” 

Another great response to my “All Call Challenge” in partnership with Call Me Ishmael, where book-lovers everywhere are calling in to share stories of a book that changed their view of the natural world. This one features Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, which I must agree is at or near the top of my you-must-definitely-read-this list for any curious reader or fan of science. It’s a classic, weaving science and storytelling, that will make you ask just as many questions as it answers.

You have no idea how happy it makes me to see these responses coming in (check out some others here and here), these inspiring and profound stories being shared with the world by curious people, all because of a little chat I had with a typewriter named Ishmael. 

Stay curious!