Back from an amazing week in Montreal, the French-speaking capital of Quebec province in Canada. Steeped in layer upon layer of colonial and Canadian history, Old Montreal is a fascinating warren of cobblestone streets and colonial-era buildings. On balmy spring evenings, the Old Port and Place Jacques-Cartier buzzes with street performance, the circus street culture that gave birth to world-renowned Cirque du Soleil, musicians, content children sporting ice cream crusted cheeks, and whizzing bikes.
Outside Old Montreal, I met the beating heart of the city in her leafy neighborhoods, serene cafes, plethora of ethnic eateries, and a Sunday morning stroll through the grand oasis of Parc Mont Royal. The best Polish pierogi I’ve sampled outside Poland, a divine Mexican hole-in-the-wall, and the free-for-all experience of Chinese dim sum. Montreal has it all.
Serendipitous moments often color my travel, and May 22, 2012 was no exception. While I was in Montreal, the 3 month student protest of a huge tuition increase mushroomed over the weekend into a massive protest of the passage of Bill 78 in Quebec City, which many Quebecois found to be too harsh, severely restricting their freedom of assembly and speech. It was impossible to miss the hours-long sea of people marching through the city, estimated between 100,000 to 250,000 people, depending on who was counting. Helicopters droned overhead. Police knighted in riot gear clustered in strategic points around the city. A spectrum of ages, from mothers pushing strollers to students marching to fife and drum to professors welding huge banners to gray beards and grandmothers in wheelchairs – the sight was amazing. I ditched my sightseeing plans and snapped away on the camera. A grand finale for my introduction to a feisty old city.
To view my photo slide show, click on the link.