|The Old Port of Montreal|
Visiting Montreal for the Candian Masters had been on my bucket list for many years. I remember a very frosty Toronto during Christmas as a teenager through Buffalo, and then most recently had the pleasure of touring Vancouver the year prior byway of Seattle by train.
Montreal in the peak of summer seemed is the perfect escape from a hot, humid East Coast for relief. I visiting anytime between July and October. A vibrant, historic city to explore even outside of tennis.
Flying next to a Pilot
On this most recent trip, I had the fortune of sitting next to and chatting up a young pilot on my small plane up from DCA to YUL via LGA.
She told me about a "positive space" policy or flying deadhead for work, where fellow airline pilots can sit in the highest class, unoccupied seats available! We chatted a bit about favorite international destinations, best/worst airports, and our ways of flying friends for free.
I arrived at the US/Canada terminal - my 2nd time in just a few months. The previous long layover was when returning from Europe. At that time, I had not had the pleasure to go out to see the city of Montreal (plus it was still cold in May).
- On media assignment, I had spent a week at the Barcelona 500
- My 2nd leg was a few days in Mallorca, Spain with Rafa and Uncle Toni at their Academy
- The final leg was a short hop to Switzerland for a 1-day visit to Basel (an hommage to Federer).
Canadian Masters - The Premier Visit
August 2019: I was thrilled to be accepted again as a Media Journalist and Photographer for coverage at the Canadian Masters 1000. Always excited to make plans to see international tennis and new destinations.
The press staff was very nice, courteous, and professional to me as a first-timer - an exemplary example of friendly and inviting Canadian culture.
For Tennis Canada, this is their US Open pinnacle moment. Stars such as Shapovalov, Raonic, Pospisil, and Bouchard are heroes to their fans like the NHL stars.
Now with Grand Slam winners Andreescu (US Open Champ) and bright talents like Felix (FAA) in the top 20, it's a very bright and exciting time for young Canadian tennis fans.
Culture and colors of the IGA tennis stadium
A beautiful Canadian city. I found young people picnicking on the grass, soaking in the sun's summer rays for a few brief weeks in the summer.
Completely immersed in French culture from the bi-lingual signage to strangers asking if you speak English or French before addressing you.
The "Little Italy" neighborhood a very quaint little village rectangle just a short walk from the tournament site. Cute boutique shops with public markets like Jean-Talon plus old churches and murals dot the way to the tournament.
The Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Quebec
With so much to do, it is advisable to spend at least 2-3 days to soak it all in.
Mont-Royal is a must-see when you first arrive, but be sure to start at the TOP (via Uber) and walk down from the summit. Many made the arduous mistake of climbing up in the other direction during mid-day sun which is quite a hike.
My Ranking of Top Montreal Sights for Tennis Fans to Explore
- Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal) and Waterfront
- Notre-Dame Basilica
- Historic Underground - Pointe-à-Callière
- Jean-Talon Public Marketplace
Mont-Royal offers an impressive view of the entire skyline and city. The giant cross at the summit is a very historic monument symbolizing that it survived a great flood that almost destroyed the city.
Dating back to its founding roots, the city represents a peaceful unification of the French with the various surrounding Native American tribes.
Vieux-Montreal (Old Montreal) and Waterfront
A quick tip: I recommend visitors have Canadian dollars ready before entering. There's a steeper 50% exchange rate if you provide them US greenbacks. Take a respectful walk around inside and appreciate the beautiful stained glass art. If you're really lucky to come at the right time in the morning, you can be present for one of their majestic services.
Pointe-à-Callière (History Museum)
This historic underground museum was another hidden gem I would definitely recommend checking out.
Every 15-30 minutes, the virtual stage tour gives the audience a very memorable multimedia experience showing off the rich eclectic history of this city.
As you climb down through the lower levels of the catacombs, it reveals the rich preserved layers of Montreal's past.
It's a very interactive experience and great for the whole family. Allow at least 2 hours to go through all the areas and try to sit on the left side of the stage to exit quickly to the main exhibits.The Mont-Royal Cross we saw earlier is the centerpiece in a video near the last exit.
Tam Tam Drummers - performances every Sunday at Mont-Royal. One of them rode the metro back home and I noticed his signature beads and well-aged instrument. It is a great community of musicians and fans in the public space.
|On Sunday, the African Tam Tam drummers|
performed their music in the parks
|McGill Univerity -|
One of the best colleges in Canada
Jean-Talon Public Market
Be sure to try a few locally grown farmers' goods to buy as snacks or to cook later.