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En Pays Quebecois: a Montreal/Mt. Tremblant TR avec fotos

En Pays Quebecois: a Montreal/Mt. Tremblant TR avec fotos

Old May 21st, 2023, 02:05 PM
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En Pays Quebecois: a Montreal/Mt. Tremblant TR avec fotos

Cher travelers,
Bienvenue to our Trip Report. The goal here is to mix music, imagery and advice for those who may be Montreal-Bound. We invite those who've been to La Belle Province to contribute their own photos, comments et comme ca. The result will hopefully be a more helpful, interactive thread.
My wife and I divided our time between Montreal and the Mont Tremblant area an hour north of the city. By 'Mt. Tremblant' I DO NOT mean the Disneyfied, pseudo-European ski village. Not our style. Instead I mean the lovely Laurentian Mountain region, the cottage country that skirts that above touristy village. Our timing was Fall 2022, designed to experience the peak leaf-peeping period. Surrounded by russet wonders, we based in La Conception, specifically in the oh-so unique resort called Bel Air. We had a great trip but it was sometimes bittersweet. Mrs Z was raised in Montreal and I worked there during the 70s.

As always, we begin avec un Overview. Clicking on the pictured will reduce their size and improve their quality.

Montreal movies: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz; Barney's Version; The Kings of Coke (a doc about Montreal's recent status as the undisputed center of bank robberies) *see also the new doc about infamous hitman Gallant.

It was Halloween season during our visit.

Locals debate which Farmers market is better: Jean Talon or Atwater? We loved then booth and they served our self-catering needs just fine. More about these two later.

Brother and sister frolic around downtown's Dorchester Square. Mrs Z used to work at that spot back in the 70s, when she was a whizz kid pioneer for that new thing called 'the computer'.

Montrealers are some of the most bilingual citizens on the planet, switching easily from French to English.

The remote and sprawling Bel Air resort had its own unnamed pond at the bottom of its hill.

We'd severely underestimated the actual National park named Mont Tremblant. Silly us--it was very interesting indeed. More on this wonderland later.

Just as Italy spells 'soccer' and Dallas spells 'football', the province of Quebec is synonymous with ice hockey. The Montreal team (les Habs) has a long line of all-star goalies.

One can eat really well in Montreal. Shown here is the province's famed 'OKA' cheese err, fromage.

Famed local author Mordecai Richler has a public library branch named after him. Its stained glass décor is of a high quality. His ex-rock critic son Daniel is currently assisting Canuck rockstar Geddy Lee to complete his memoirs.

Montreal has become a major center of street art, so much that entire districts swap out their murals annually. I was surprised to see the number of murals that featured historical themes, such as the one above. More art later, including some more murals.

No summary about Montreal would be complete without mention of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. He was my late father's fave artist. This giant mural is on Crescent Street downtown. *We'll later include a pair of videos with his best songs sung by other artists.

During warmer months, city authorities close off certain streets to traffic. One such street is Avenue Bernard in the Outremont neighbourhood. There, one may visit Richard Wallace's sympa 'Un Amour Des Thes' to shop for a wide variety of delicious teas and lovely mugs. Another essential stop there is Premiere Moisson ('best harvest crop') Bakery, a chain found across Montreal.

We only dined out a few times, but one standout was genuine diner 'Beautys'. Their black Russian bread went perfectly with their peerless liver salad. Oo-lala! Bourdain once visited there (see YouTube). Shown above is owner Larry Skolnick, son of the original owner. Do not ask staff about the time when rockstar John Mayer visited just as they were closing up.

We will now feature a couple of Leonard Cohen's most loved works, before moving onto the rural vibes of La Conception and Mt. Tremblant. Enjoy!

Last edited by zebec; May 21st, 2023 at 02:14 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 02:06 PM
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Jeff Buckley. This song needs no needs no intro. Classic.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 02:10 PM
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Judy Collins did a fine version version of 'Suzanne'. Cohen's lyrics include reference to the chapel angel atop the Notre Dame Bon Secours church, down in the Vieux Port area.
https://www.google.com/search?q=judy...id:brckO6ZMSWw
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Old May 21st, 2023, 02:42 PM
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Great TR and photos, thanks Z. We had a Fall trip planned to visit Montreal and Quebec City before covid hit, now looking at 2024. Love the fried cod at Delices de la Mer in the Jean Talon Market, poutine at La Banquise, coffee at Olive et Gourmando and Polish fare at Stash Cafe.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:02 PM
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(this is that chapel above) OK, now for La Conception and Mt. Tremblant in the following images.

La Conception is part of a countryside that doubles as classic cottage country.

They grow red peppers there.

They also gots lamas, ones that only speak French.

Bel Air is a mix of futuristic houses and modern chalets, plus family pods and domes. They have a useful onsite 'Action Tremblant' partner, where one may rent all manner of fun vehicles (see winter dog-sledding). Phillippe and Chris rented us our first-ever e-bikes. We had a ton of fun with those 'fat bikes'!

Cyclists take advantage of 'Le P'tit Train du Nord', a former rail track converted into a superb hinterland biking trail. Safe as milk as it skirts some lovely local lakes toward the aforementioned Mt. Tremblant tourist area.

Those lakes include Lac du Sommet.

There was a strategically-placed picnic table at its corner---right beside 'Le Maison du Monsieur Castor'---a beaver den.

That was a peaceful place, ideal for picnics, sketching, shutterbugs.

Some infestation (ash beetle?) had ravaged a number of trees in the general area.

Breathe, just breathe.

Simple breathing was not an option after my bike's speed-control got stuck on maximum. True Story. Nothing I did for the first 10 minutes there at Lac Mercier would unstick it. Sacre Blu! Tabernac!! Finally, I fixed it. There were also locals on skateboards, digital craft and regulars bikes. Guaranteed that some locals still refer to that 'maudit anglais' who went too fast on their bucolic trails.

Fall was the right time for us to visit.

Cottage Country central was all along one side of the trail.

Loved the views.

Loved the pleine aire.

Reflections did abound.

Et voila, the historic train station for Mt. Tremblant. It serves as the logical end-point for many cyclists, us included. Its actual building now hosts an art gallery featuring Canuck soapstone sculpture. Btw, there are 3 distinct areas in Mt. Tremblant: the surprisingly pretty bedroom community, the sympa old village (seen here, nice place for a meal) then the full-on ski village, which many folks have enjoyed.

Maple syrup remains an enduring motif for rural Quebec.

Our 4 star rental 'Cortina'. Modern, clean, and right next to the Clubhouse (breakfasts, massage spa, front desk, pool, jacuzzi, boules/petanque (Bel Air is owned and staffed by a French billionaire) and relaxing fire-pits. Most rentals include a private hot tub which was useful after being chased by Quebecois police while my bike was stuck on maximum speed.

One of our neighbours. Bel Air is in the process of selling a number of these uber-modern chalets for folks seeking an upscale cottage. Customers come from all continents.

One such structure being built.

The trail down to Bel Air's massive lower acreage, site of family activities, sports plus a petting zoo for kids.

Bel Air has a well-regarded sushi restaurant onsite.

As above.

Our trip Journal for this voyage. Next=Mt. Tremblant park itself. But first, time for some musique!

Last edited by zebec; May 21st, 2023 at 03:12 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:17 PM
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S'il vous plait, feel free to dance to this and all the others upcoming!
The intro briefly shows Montreal's famed stairways. Much like Chicago and Boston, the city is known for those oft-spiraling staircases, but the difference here is that the emphasis in those 2 or 3 or 4-story walkups is on mutual sociability.

Last edited by zebec; May 21st, 2023 at 03:20 PM.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:24 PM
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Part of the soundtrack from the recent flick 'A Simple Favor'.
https://www.google.com/search?q=ca+c...id:krSGYKmoTfw
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:27 PM
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Canuck folk icon Bruce Cockburn sang this more contemplative song in French. Gald he did.
'Badlands Flashback'.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:31 PM
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'March Past' by former Montrealer and jazz great, Oscar Peterson. Great piano instrumental. *Sports fans note that his band once included the father of the late Canadian sports journalist Marc Saunders.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:37 PM
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Et donc, more variety. This is a cool song by Montreal's Mahogany Rush, who were well-known during the 70s. IMHO 'Try for Freedom' is their best song ever. Apparently frontman-songwriter Frank Marino is now experiencing a period of poor health. We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.
https://www.google.com/search?q=try+...id:GFwMX6VMp0w
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:41 PM
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Et puis, ELP doing their adaptation of Copland's 'Fanfare for the Common Man'. This was shot in the Big O', the Olympic stadium where the expos used to play.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:44 PM
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Et maintenant, musique plus moderne. Jerome Casabon's fine song 'Ocean'. Animated.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:47 PM
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We are tryna capture something of the spirit of Quebec. Young chanteuse Lou Adrienne Cassidy, live @Paste studio.
https://www.google.com/search?q=lou+adrienne+cassidy+paste+studio&rlz=1C1 GGRV_enCA751CA751&oq=lou+adrienne+cassidy+paste+st udio&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60.11794j1j15&sourceid=c hrome&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid96bdaf6,vid:MN3rjvzre3s
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Old May 21st, 2023, 03:53 PM
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Another young local musician, Flavien Berger. His video shows Montreal's Vieux Port amusement section.
*Now time to switch back to imagery: the actual National Park called 'Mt. Tremblant'.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 04:21 PM
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Dtour seems to be the sole company offering park tours at the moment. That's OK. Our guide was wonderful Laurie, whose extensive knowledge was partly based on her being a local. *Ask her to bring her boss lady's private herbal tea, a mint-like wonder guaranteed to replenish your energies.

She also used to work at the park's Via Feratta (iron way) rockface climbing locale.

Morning is a good time to visit. One feared aquatic plant plant is 'Le Myriophylle a epis', which can become invasive and has Wanted posters as a result.

The park was not crowded during the fall period. That has nothing to do with these ferns.

Monsieur Heron.

Madame um, 'deer'. She would be wary of the park's iconic packs of Eastern wolf (loup), whose members come from a unique genepool with longer legs.

The park was once a major logging area, with men working away from home for long periods. One example was Lac Monroe, a major camp.

It is a Boreal forest area with many of the same trees as other similar bands across the globe, birch, fir, spruce, ash and maple.

But for most visitors, it is the motif waterfalls that best define this park: above is Chutes Croche, a nice brief hike.

Le Chute des Fodoria, named for the Greek Goddess of trip reportage.

Suggested lake worth seeking out for peace of mind: Lac Lauzon.

Mushrooms, fungi et les autres can be seen here.

A tangle of branches and roots.

Mother Nature.

Peaceful scenery everywhere you turn.

Near the entrance, during the misty morn.

There was a real red STOP sign on the islet a la gauche (off to the left). The sign warned canoeists.

Next: back to Montreal plus les autres choix de musique.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 05:37 PM
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Yo CG,
I recalled your Delices de Mer recco from another post. Unfortunately for us, they apparently only serve their fried cod on Saturdays---we were there mid-week.
I am done. the marche
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Old May 21st, 2023, 05:44 PM
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Sign at long-time Mile End area luncheonette 'Wilenskys' (site of scenes from 'The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz' novel/movie) referring to their popular and affordable sandwiches:

'When ordering a Special,
you should know a thing or two.
It is always served with mustard and
it is never cut for you.
Don't ask why just understand
that this is nothing new.
This is the way that its been done
since 1932!'


The couple who now own Wilenskys. One minute after I took this shot, a New Yorker who'd been away for decades brought his wife in to see this eatery, his former fave teenage haunt.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 05:50 PM
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April Wine was a popular local band during the 70s. This is their big hit 'Could've Been a Lady'. We used to do a cover of this in our bar band. Because we thought to introduce our songs in French, we went over well all across la Belle Province. Few Anglo bands from Toronto ever thought (or were able) to do that. Bah way, a simple thing that paid big dividends.
Anyway, a song with a female theme. The following street art murals also have a female theme.
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Old May 21st, 2023, 05:55 PM
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Love your photos, great pics. And Beauty’s!!!
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Old May 21st, 2023, 06:25 PM
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This one was in a back alley. Montreal has some 500km of those laneways. There has been a recent municipal program to tidy up those lanes and make them more vibrant. Such lanes are called 'Ruelle Verte' (green alleys).

Montreal has long been a city that accepts folks of every stripe.

This B&W piece was the result of a ten-person team effort. It is located on a loading dock called 'quai des arts' right on The Main, the active N-S strip of St. Laurent Boulevard. The main is an essential stroll for flaneurs and baladeurs. Note that til recently, this street was the dividing line between the French and English sections of Montreal.

Note just how many floors high this one is! The location is near a popular skateboard park that may or may not be soon replaced by you guessed it...condos.

A Plateau-area mosaic depicting a local female popstar. We tried, but could not discover who she was.

Montreal is a lot like its Anglo counterpart Toronto in that they are both quite multi-kulti. Folks from all over come to live there. Here, an Indian cartoon strip, something about 'ladies of the World Unite!' Nearby was another mural depicting Portugese fado superstar Amalia Rodrigues. Also close by was Leonard Cohen's ex-house.

More um, female murals.

A mural showing kids at small local Parc Toto-Bissainthe. Marie Clotide Bissainthe ('Toto') was a Haitian-born comic.

A mural by kids at their Mile End school.

Other female-themed art, done in metal.

Colorful mural with ominous entrance.

Some young local women.

Another local young woman.

A mural done by a local young woman. Has Banksy done any murals in mMntreal?

A pair of fellow visitors.

Consider shopping at Tamey Lau's 'Dragon Flowers' shop on Bernard east near the Rialto theatre. She not only sells top-quality flower arrangements but her collection of (for sale) hanging Victorian-topped birdcages are among the motifs identified with urban Montreal culture.

We shopped there twice.
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