We got full on tourist in Montreal; visiting the forty year old Olympic stadium was on our list of things to do before we arrived, as were the botanical gardens and the biodome. Conveniently these were all close together so we could tick them all off in one day.
The Olympic park is an incredible concrete monstrosity – it plays host to the tallest inclined structure in the world and it’s remarkable that it didn’t get bulldozed at some point in the four decades. Far from it, repairs continue to be carried out, the lift still runs to the observatory and parts have been repurposed into a multi environmental biodome, which houses many plants and animals from different climates. There was some “poop” related event going on when we were there which made for some comical photos!
I guess October is not the best year to go see flowers but it was surprising what was still on show. The Japanese garden was a serene oasis geared towards reflection and peace; there is a peace bell which is struck to mark the dropping of the H-bomb on Hiroshima – one strike for each year passed. Around the corner the Chinese garden boasted some impressive lanterns and magnificent pagodas surrounded by huge pools of water. It kinda felt like we were in the final scene of Kill Bill Vol. 1!
I think we timed our visit just right since hoards of people began to arrive as we left the park and in any case we needed to prepare ourselves for the next days adventures.
After heading over to get the ‘Best Poutine in Montreal (2015)’ from Dirty Dogs I decided to drag Amy up the main peak in the city park: Mont Royal. There’s a steady path that guides you to the top with joggers and cyclists zipping past you; we took a few shortcuts by scrambling up some less well trodden routes to save time. As we marched up we were in awe of the incredibly huge trees and how we were suddenly surrounded by finches and woodpeckers stripping off huge pieces of bark.
The summit was disappointing: just a telecoms mast surrounded by trees obscuring any hope of a view. We did however find this massive steel cross which could be seen from down below and we were finally rewarded with a lookout point on the way down offering superb views of the skyscrapers. The pineapple dance crew skipped around us as we soaked up the view.