Au revoir Montreal

Soundtrack: Jean Michel Jarre, Fifth Rendez-Vous

Well it was cold the weekend I arrived, it’s been hot and incredibly steamy, now the days are shortening (no not butter) and there’s a chill in the air, although it’s still steamy ugh. Just this morning a loud roofing contractor has started assembling scaffolding over the road. Last weekend was labour day, the last long weekend of summer for locals and so it’s all signs that it’s time for me to move on. Over the last week I’ve been visiting some of my favourite spots to say farewell. So these are not a reprise of old photos, they’re new to you, spots that will stay fondly in my memory of Montreal.

Jean Talon – look at those brassicas! The lady assured me that all those cauliflower colours are natural. Just amazing.

There will never be berries the same… a person could almost cope with 6 months of winter here just for 4 months of berries.


Thank goodness I didn’t go into the Gin Pub till the end of my trip! Continue reading “Au revoir Montreal”

The Garden of Light and Imaginings

Well today’s post study reward was a trip out to the Botanic Gardens for Jardins de lumière Gardens of Light. So off I went on the Metro and since I still get disoriented on leaving new Metro stations I got to see the Olympic Stadium! Shame about the crane, but I’ve heard the whole complex is a bit past its best-before date and costs a fortune to maintain.

I did eventually get directions and arrived at the gardens just on dusk.

Managed a little retail therapy then into the Gardens of Light which are in le Jardin de Chine. Do click on the images to make them bigger, it’s worth it. If you’re in Montreal before they finish do go and visit, they’re quite magical.

Honestly, I think half Montreal was there with their i-devices. Continue reading “The Garden of Light and Imaginings”

Performing as Gender Mannequins

So thrilled to have been asked to contribute to the Belonging, Identity, Language and Diversity blog. Hope you all enjoy a trip around Montreal exploring expressions of gender and identity as much as I did.

Belonging, Identity, Language, Diversity Research Group (BILD)

Bonjour. Hi, GM 1I’m Wendy, an Australian anthropology student visiting Montreal as an intern this summer, and now I’m a guest blogger on BILD this week which I’m pretty excited about. I also have my own blog (Wendy’s Out of Station). The research I do includes a focus on gender, which is sometimes a confusing area, so I invite you to come on a bit of a visual journey, and think about gender and identity.

Firstly, gender isn’t biological. Sure you’re born with genitals. Please don’t show me. And perhaps you like to get friendly and intimate with certain kinds of people. Again, please don’t show me. But, like your identity, you learn, evolve, live and perform your gender. You learn what behaviour you like. What clothes make you feel fabulous. You learn what people expect and sometimes you perform that for them. Gender M CoverDifferent cultures have different expectations of gender which can…

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Old Montreal and McGill, just majestic

Although I’ve been studying at Université de Montréal and probably should show some loyalty, I’ve visited McGill a couple of times and it just looks like a proper British inspired university!

Now that on the left above, that’s a humanities faculty!

And yes, that’s a serious engineering department from when real men did real work engineering real stuff.

The one on the right is actually a house in a street near McGill, I just loved it.

And then there’s Old Montreal, down by the Port in the commercial area. The tourist spots are a bit like Sydney’s Rocks, but still a great wander and plenty to watch. Continue reading “Old Montreal and McGill, just majestic”

St Lawrence Warehousing Co., Mile End

What with the height restrictions, tall things are noticeable in Montreal. And between home, the laundry and Coffee – Olimpico Style, there’s a railway line (wide gauge) and a warehouse. I walked past it a lot. Built in 1924 the water tower is a feature of the Mile End skyline. Now the building is fireproof storage and the water tower a home for mobile phone transmitters. It’s just kind of perched up there like an alien probe watching everything. The present is so prosaic you have to have an imagination. So… here they are, my views of the famous St Lawrence Warehousing Company.

IMG_3010 Continue reading “St Lawrence Warehousing Co., Mile End”

Scraping the Sky – Spires around Mile End, and beyond

Soundtrack: Kodaly Missa Brevis

As I probably told you before in Montreal there’s a law that nothing can be higher in the sky than Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Stairway to knowledge A Turkish Muslim, a Canadian Hindu and an Australian agnostic go into a Catholic Basilica. So you can see in this pic from Belvédère Kondiaronk, Mont-Royal that the downtown sky-scrapers don’t so much scrape as graze.


Well I think there must also be a height restriction for buildings in the suburbs as well, and that church spires get an exemption.

As I’ve been walking around for the last nearly 3 months I seem to have photographed a lot of church spires. Not only in Mile End, also Little Italy, Sherbrooke, Côte-des-Neiges, and Downtown. Didn’t pay any attention to denomination or such, just took pictures of people straining to reach their god. So here’s my collection of church spire architecture, Montreal style!

I guess we have to start with la Basilique Notre-Dame, I am hoping to go back for a Sunday night organ concert so stay tuned for that one.


These are some random local churches. Oh the bells! I will miss the church bells on all days of the week, at all different times. So peaceful and centring. Continue reading “Scraping the Sky – Spires around Mile End, and beyond”

Coffee – Olimpico Style

Seriously, there is only one place in the world for coffee. Coffee and bagels. OMG bagels from Saint Viateur the 24 hour bagel shop – poppy seed, flax seed, rosemary, and the cinnamon and raisin! With cream cheese. With lox (smoked salmon). Coffee and babka. Babka, chocolate bread, baby babka, and cakes all from the Jewish cake shop Boulangerie Cheskie’s open till 11pm, busiest time 10pm. Coffee. Espresso. Latte. Cortado. Macchiato. Coffee and biscotti. Iced Coffee. Affogato. Coffee and cannoli. Coffee and football. Inside or outside. Day or late night. Oh and coffee and people watching. Lots of people watching – even people pretending to talk to their dogs to people watch!


Perfect breakfast, with a well turned out ankle…IMG_3536A two coffee day – one hot, one cold    IMG_3561

Late night coffee munchies

I have drunk rather a lot of coffee.



Today (in the rain), having finished a major piece of writing, I went back to the Montreal Museum of Fine Art Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, but this time not to An afternoon of Art and our old Parisian friend Lautrec. Today I went with a local friend, and many many other Montrealers seeking respite from the rain, and journeyed back about 2000 years to Pompeii. It was a great exhibition, some brilliant pieces that I hope you will enjoy, but the layout and the lighting left plenty to be desired. But enough of my thoughts, let’s go to Pompeii!  Starting with a little statuary, as you do – just love the detail in bronze and marble. The hair. And do you see how the folds in the woman’s cloak were originally added in lengths fitted in to make the flow of the fabric? Just exquisite workmanship to make the layers of marble cloth all fall so naturally. Apologies for the gratuitous selfie.

And what lady would be without her jewels? Sorry there weren’t many.

Sadly too many of us get kitchen and eating utensils rather than gold jewels, but you have to say these are pretty special. I mean look at that strainer!

And you have to love some glass from the eastern Empire.

And some more bronze. Not sure I’d like to pop down to the shop for a “head” weight of lentils though. Continue reading “Pompeii”

Streetscapes of Montreal


IMG_3201Well after around 10 weeks walking around my local area, around Mile End, up to Jean Talon and into Little Italy, then between here and Université de Montréal  I thought I would share with you some of the local street architecture. I do have a collection of more “special” architecture around Old Montréal, a warehouse that’s captured my imagination, some pretty interesting wall art, and a selection of churches, but be patient, I still have 20 days here to add to those! And yes, I’ve done a LOT of walking.

The picture up the top – that’s been my home this last 10 weeks, and I’m not sure that I’ll miss the stairs. The no parking sign – that means that every Thursday in the months when there is no snow, between 1230 and 1330, you will be booked for parking there as the street sweeping truck needs to clean. The other side of the road is a different day.

My street, my coffee shop’s outdoor area, and my God it’s been hot! Humid even for a Brisbane girl.

With the long nights, heat, and apartment living the local parks are full to overflowing. I didn’t feel comfortable photographing, just believe me there was never an angle without spying on some family, a spare square meter to put your rug, or for that matter clean air. Well unless you want to join the ducks in the lake. The desire to burn wood in small portable barbeques meant it was really smokey. But restaurants abound and some nights even the icons come out for a walk and a drink.

Below is a view of Université de Montréal from the Oratory, remember Stairway to knowledge and A Turkish Muslim, a Canadian Hindu and an Australian agnostic go into a Catholic Basilica ? And yes it was about to storm, well as much as it storms here, not like Brisbane. Continue reading “Streetscapes of Montreal”

Accents, Bagels & Dimes

Apologies for the silence, all i seem to be doing at the moment is study (appropriate with 29 days to go) and sleep. Lots of sleep. Not sure why, but I seem to need it. Anyway, yesterday I went out and two people I spoke to commented on my lovely accent. The second went on to ask if I was Italian so we’ll ignore him. But the first was in the wonderful Bagel shop I’ve been frequenting – best bagels in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyway, this lovely guy asked me if I’d brought my didge, we laughed and it reminded me of a late night dialogue there a couple of weeks back that I’d forgotten to share with you:

Me digging in my purse for the right coins while the patient service lady waits.

Lady: “One more dime.”

Me: “What’s a dime? We don’t have them in Australia.”

Lady: “5 cents.”

Guy pulling bagels from the over: “Yes you do, in Sydney.”

Me, looking up surprised and smiling: “No, I’m pretty sure we don’t have dimes in Australia.”

Guy: “Yes in Sydney, there’s a bagel store in Sydney now.”

Me smiling: “Really? But no dimes.”

Guy: “Yes, in Sydney.”

I really should get out more often.