Ireland day 0986. Monday 10 June 2024- Montreal 2

Ireland day 0986. Monday 10 June 2024- Montreal 2
Today’s summary Spent the day exploring Montreal on foot. Mount Royal park first, then McGill university, Montreal old town, then a ferry to Île Sainte Hélène to look at the Biosphere museum with its iconic honeycomb dome. Back by ferry then a long walk up St Lawrence St to Patati Patata for poutine and beer dinner. Walked back to the hotel through McGill again and now we are worn out.
Today’s weather Cool and overcast but dry. Moderate to strong westerly wind. Appx 16c
Today’s overview location
(The green mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The orange line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Montreal Meander

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

Despite losing three hours out of our day due to the time difference with Los Angeles (and six hours if you compare with Hawaii) we slept soundly last night and were up and ready to go at a respectable hour this morning.

But first we had to get down to breakfast – which was substantial and enjoyable and set us up for the day. Once we had eaten and were ready to set out and about, we decided we would make our first port of call the Mount Royal park.

The park is only a few blocks up from our hotel and it’s a very extensive wilderness area that contains a hill (Mount Royal) which offers extensive views of the city and which eventually gave its name to the city itself.

It’s a good clamber up to the top but worth it for the views and also for the opportunity to visit the Mount Royal chalet – an impressive pavilion built on the top of the hill as a make-work project during the Great Depression of the 1920s.

Once we had finished our tour of the park, we headed back downtown on La Promenade Fleuve-Montagne (meaning “The River to Mountain Trail” – we had lots of opportunities to practice our French in this largely francophone city). The route took us through some of Montreal’s highlights including McGill university and Old Montreal.

We paused for refreshments at a café in the old town then walked down to the banks of the St Lawrence River to catch a ferry across to the Île Sainte-Hélène. The river is massive and fast flowing. The eddying currents and whirlpools look so powerful you wonder how the ferry is going to make it across without being swept away downstream.

Anyway our sturdy ferryboat defied gravity and safely got us across to the island. There’s a large, pretty and quiet park on the island, but we particularly wanted to see the Biosphere museum. It’s housed in a giant geodesic dome which was designed by Richard Buckminster-Fuller (of Buckminsterfullerine fame) for the US pavilion of the 1967 Expo exhibition. It was originally “glazed” with acrylic sheeting, but that was lost in a fire in 1976 and just been a steel skeleton ever since.

Nowadays the open dome is still striking even if unglazed. It contains a biosphere museum which is quite interesting but small and expensive.

We didn’t stay long in the museum and after a quickish look round we headed back to catch the 17:50 return ferry to Montreal city.

Once we had safely charted the hazardous waters, we hiked straight back uptown, mostly along the dead-straight St Lawrence street. These days the street is extensively pedestrianised and hosts a large open air street market. It feels a bit like Camden in London.

Our destination was the Patati Patata café which is renowned for its poutine. This is basically cheesy chips with gravy and it’s delicious comfort food. Especially when washed down with beer, as of course it was this evening.

Once we were stuffed with unhealthy but super-delicious carbs, we waddled back to the hotel for a bit of a rest and an early night. We both felt quite worn out by our explorations – probably too much North American food has been consumed and weight gained over the last few weeks – though so have to admit that tonight’s poutine won’t really have helped very much. Once we get back to Dublin I’ll have to get my diet and exercise regime seriously back under control.

But that’s for another day. There’s still plenty more exploring to do first!

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Sweating our way up the long flights of stairs to the top of the Mount Royal park Excellent view down from the park over Montreal with the St Lawrence river in the background
Somewhat graffiti-ised routemap for La Promenade Fleuve-Montagne On the river ferry braving the tumultuous waters
In the Old Town heading up Place Jacques Cartier with the City Hall on the right and Nelson’s monument on the left Poutine and beer in Patati Patata café – Canadian icons, all
Inside the Mount Royal chalet – a magnificent place, even though its purpose is somewhat unclear
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 22495 m
Max elevation: 232 m
Min elevation: 7 m
Total climbing: 463 m
Total descent: -463 m
Total time: 09:13:43
Download file: Montreal-meander-compressed-corrected.gpx

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