Canada in 2013 page 5 -- Montreal, PQ 24-26 June 2013
All pictures, unless otherwise noted, are copyright 2013 by John A. and Elizabeth B. Lucas. All rights reserved.

Introduction Vancouver/Victoria Kamloops/Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper Toronto/Niagara Falls Montreal Quebec/Baie St. Paul Halifax Wildlife Second Thoughts Technical Details

24-June (morning departure) Toronto ON to Montreal PQ on VIA Corridor Train

Back to the Toronto Train Station for our third type of train, VIA Corridor Service Business Class, and the fourth set of rules for baggage. There is no checked baggage on the corridor trains and the suitcase weight limit was the most restrictive of the airline and the other trains. That meant some repacking in the station from the suitcases to the carry-ons. We used porter service for these trains as wrestling the suitcases up and into the coaches was more than we wanted to tackle, particularly in Toronto with low platforms. Business Class does provide a pre-boarding lounge and food and beverages were included in the ticket. The Toronto-Montreal consumed most of the daylight hours of the 24th.

Montreal PQ

Of all the cities in Canada, Montreal is the closest to our home, a five-hour drive. Despite that we've never taken the opportunity to visit on our own. John had been in Montreal at about the age of 10 or so, but did not really remember any of it, unlike Quebec City as we'll see.

Accommodation: Auberge du Vieux-Port
Transfers: "Limousines Mont-Tremblant" although the telephone number we were given was for "Gilbert Limousines".
Tour: Gray Line

Auberge du Vieux-Port is a small hotel facing the old harbor of Montreal. There was a park directly across the street from hotel. This one reminded us of some older European hotels where the floors include twists and turns and clusters of steps up and down on the way from the elevator to the room. After a couple of wrong turns, we got the hang of it. The adjoining pub was comfortable and we enjoyed the food. Despite being on a busy street (by day), the hotel was quiet and very comfortable.

The Gray Line tour on 25 June was more of an adventure than usual. We were picked up by a shuttle and taken to the central Gray Line office for the tour. The shuttle driver was pulled over by a motorcycle policeman for, we think as the conversation was in rapid French, a U-turn and improper yielding to pedestrians at an intersection. Later on the main tour, the second driver stopped to report a traffic violation by some other vehicle. The Gray Line office was extremely chaotic or we might have tried to swap our "Heart of Montreal -- see 200 sites in 3.5 hours" tour for a more directed one at the Botanical Gardens and a couple of other sites. At least it wasn't an open top bus and during the morning we saw sun not rain. There were also stops at Place d'Armes and the Saint-Sulpice Basilica,

St. Joseph's Oratory,

the outside of the Botanical Gardens and the former Olympic Stadium,

The Mont Royal overlook (a four frame panorama)

Not all city tours make stops (such as in Halifax).

Before leaving Montreal we strolled up and down the park across from our hotel and toured the nearby Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, Place Royale where some of the foundations and burials from the earliest French settlement could be seen under the museum. We took no pictures but it was fascinating with a very good guide.

We need to come back. As for Vancouver and Toronto (and Quebec, too) there just wasn't enough time and we were fighting the weather at times.

On the 26th we transferred back to the train station for the VIA Corridor Train to Quebec City, which took most of the afternoon.

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