Trip Start Nov 14, 2011
Trip End Feb 28, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mary's Contributions:
We arrived in Montréal at rush hour on a Thurs. night – it was good to be coming back to the city that Jeff and I have spent a big part of our lives in. Jeff lived in Montréal when he was going to McGill.  I worked extensively in Montréal while I was living in Ottawa and eventually moved to the city in the early 90's.  Whenever we come back to Montréal there is a mix of happiness and sadness.  Happiness for the good memories and good friends we have had and still have in Montréal, sadness for the political uncertainty that continuously impacts the economic viability of this great city.  However our visit to Montréal was not for political purposes but to reconnect with friends.  Our time in the city was unfortunately cut short as I had to go back to Toronto to take care of some family matters that arose unexpectedly.  No matter, Jeff and I made the best of our time visiting Montréal.

While staying in Montréal, our friends Alex and Karen gave us a gift certificate to try out the Bixi Bikes for the day that are stationed throughout the city.  We had seen these bikes in Toronto and throughout our travels (re: bikes located strategically throughout the city, waiting to be rented out for the time, hour or day as required) but we had never rented them before.  We were ecstatic with our day’s rental.  I found it very liberating to be able to pick up a bike at one of the stations, ride it and then drop it off at the next bike station.  No worry about locks, someone stealing your bike, wondering where I would need to lock up the bike, the hassle of keeping your bike safe – it was all gone with Bixi Bikes!!  Jeff and I rode the bikes, gave them back at the next Bixi Bike station we found where we could then walk or take the metro, continue our journey with the rental of another bike at the next station.  I am totally a convert to the concept of Bixi Bikes.  I can see the opportunity and freedom of being able to rent Bixi Bikes within Toronto next summer.

Another highlight was our shopping day at Marché Jean Talon.  Marché Jean Talon is a farmer’s market located in the "Little Italy" district of Montréal (it borders between Rue Jean Talon, Mozart Avenue, Casgrain Avenue and Henri Julien Avenue).  Wandering around the market reminded me of the many times Jeff and I enjoyed going to the open-air markets in France.  We went to the market with our friends Alex & Karen to purchase the ingredients for our dinner that night.  It was a treat to be able to eat locally produced goods – leeks, beets, mushrooms, brussel sprouts, meats, cheeses, breads and desserts.  We ate like royalty that night (of course accompanied by many lovely bottles of French wine)!!

I had a chance to also reconnect with my friend Vivien.  Vivien and I met when we worked and lived in France as “jeune-fille-au-pairs”.  We connected immediately by our mutual love of the French culture and our strong desire to improve our French language skills.  Over the years, we have kept that connection by our continual interest in learning and trying new things.  We also share a passion for travelling.  We have exchanged many stories of the experiences and travels we have done and the joys we received from such travels.

Although our stay in Montréal was not as long as we had hoped and we missed seeing some of our other friends, Jeff and I know that we’ll be back again to revisit the streets and places that are so familiar to us that we can identify as home.
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