This is the 2nd of a series of posts dealing with my 2016 trip to Toronto, Montreal, and vicinity. I’ve made minor corrections to these reports (typos, bits I don’t feel like making public). Also, I’ve added additional thoughts with the hindsight of two years later or to add further clarification. These are indicated by “NOW”.
First off a word to my friends in their 20s and 30s: I'm 45 so if I can do this you should be able to do this and more. I’m still using my mini-notebook. While I’m not there today did notice that Backpackers on Dundas did have two terminals; don't know why they said otherwise. I only got about three hours' sleep again. Partly it was a fear of missing an early bus, partly because the person in the bunk above was a bit noisy. I considered confronting him but got a sense he was annoyed with my repositioning myself to try to sleep around him so didn't want to escalate this. At around 2 he and a friend started whispering to each other.
Just after 5:30 I got some breakfast items at a Mac's near Yonge-Dundas Square and then went to the Toronto Coach Terminal, where Megabus was already there. I was first in line but sat a few rows down from the front because I hadn't wanted to pay for reserved seating. I got decent if different photos anyway. A kid sat beside me until Kingston but his mom had him move after that; I think she finally clued in he was restless and kept accidentally hitting me.
I saw a fawn, in Kingston I think, that I passed on the highway. There was not enough time to get off the bus in Kingston this time. Just as the bus was approaching Quebec someone's cell started repeatedly doing that annoying message arrival whistling sound. As I've mentioned ion previous trip reports, once you enter Quebec, beyond the French, the other noticeable thing is speed signs give both maximum and minimum. In some cases a comma replaces a period. The bus was only about five minutes late arriving in Montreal, by Station Bonaventure. I walked to the hostel. BTW won't try to make accents. With this tiny keyboard I'm making too many typos without trying anything fancy.
[NOW: Where applicable I’ll add in the accents during these blog edits. The hostel is Auberge Bishop]
I ate lunch at a McDonald's and then visited 1000000 Comix, Capitaine Québec les Livres Comiques, Librairie Astro (all comics, though the latter also sells books). I walked east along rue Ste-Catherine to Place des Festivals. Despite there being some storm clouds (not a lot) I was very sweaty so cooled off in the water jets. I continued along rue Ste-Catherine to Boutique Volume (bought a number of francophone DVDs) and Archambault, then crossed le village gai (it's easy enough to figure out what this area is in English; pink balloons overhead). I walked to Jacques Cartier Bridge, crossed over from Montreal (including Parc Jean-Drapeau which spans the islands of St. Helen and Notre-Dame) to Longueuil. I briefly went to ground on the other side of the bridge and then crossed back over to Parc Jean-Drapeau/St. Helen Island, the larger of the islands. It took me a bit to find the entrance to La Ronde amusement park (it’s pricey to visit so just photographed the entrance and left). I found a shortcut back to where I was before in the park, where I saw a marmot; well fed. I walked to the entrance of the Montreal Biosphère.
[NOW: The above McDonald’s is at 1472 rue Saint-Catherine St O.]
Via Pont de la Concorde (pont=bridge), I briefly crossed over from Saint Helen's Island/Île Sainte-Hélène to Notre Dame Island/Île Notre-Dame and back then continued on to the main Island of Montreal/Île de Montréal. Now sometimes on a trip you know something’s a bad idea but have an itch to scratch. I wanted to leave Parc Jean-Drapeau on foot without using Jacques Cartier Bridge, Concorde lets you do that, but takes you a fair ways west before you can go east, and east was where I was headed. Plus the view of the port area wasn't nice. Again though it was an itch that had to be scratched. I walked to Old Montreal/Vieux-Montréal, where a lot of construction was happening. I ate dinner at Valentine and visited the outside of Bonsecours Market/Marche Bonsecours and id other exploring of Vieux/Old Montreal. I left using a detour route due to constructions. I walked along rue Ste-Catherine to Place des Festivals. My bag was partly searched before entering the pedestrian area heading towards it - routine in evening, but the security guy didn't check all areas; I probably looked too worn out to be a threat. I more or less collapsed on the lawn and rested until I had enough energy to move again. I walked along rue Maisonneuve and saw the Illuminated Crowd statue. I went in search of cold water (I don't normally drink bottled water but was pretty dehydrated). One place i checked was Couche-Tard, basically Mac's with a few differences, such as their ice drinks are like Dairy Queen, with ice pellets. I finally remembered the Pharmaprix (Shoppers Drug Mart) and got a large bottle there. Hopefully will sleep better tonight as I can just wake to the sun in the morning this time.
[NOW: Actually when I crossed the bridge to Notre-Dame it was called Pont des Îles. However, as you continue towards the Island of Montreal, it becomes Pont de la Concorde. The Pharmaprix I visited was on rue Ste-Catherine.]