I thought I would tell you a little about the city I’m from: Montreal. I’m sure you’ve heard of it; it’s one of the oldest cities in Canada, right after Quebec City, which was founded in 1608. Last year, Montrealers marked its 375th anniversary, doing our favorite thing: celebrating!! Yes, Montreal is a very important part of Canada and is certainly known for its ‘Joie de Vivre!’. First, most of us can speak, read and write in at least two languages. Montreal is a city in which every culture finds its home, and every home proudly enjoys its cultural heritage. My Nonno and Nonna kept row upon row of homemade jars of tomato sauce and hung legs of prosciutto in the cold room. A few blocks over you can buy all kinds of Mediterranean delicacies at a specialty grocer. In a neighbouring community, the wood burning ovens are cranking out dozens of Montreal-style bagels and over in China town, the crowd is bustling along from one shop to another. The scent of delicious food wafts from every street corner in town and the accent changes depending on which boulevard you are standing on.
As I mentioned, there are so many different cultures present, yet we are united in our love of family and community, and our desire to celebrate. Montrealers love its summer festivals, from the Internationally renown Formula 1 car race and the Jazz festival which kicks off the summer festivities, to the Comedy festival and even the Fireworks competition; you can literally be out every night of the summer at a free outdoor event.
While I do enjoy the fun vibrancy of the city, I am also a lover of my quiet suburb on the west side of the island. After an exciting night out dancing with my friends, I am happy to come home to sleepy tree-lined streets and homes with manicured front-lawns. Being an island, none of us is ever too far away from a body of water, and just driving to the end of a boulevard will deliver you to the Lakeshore- the road which tours you around the island. The Lakeshore is a great place to go for a bike-ride or a walk, or even a nice Sunday drive. On the north of the island, this road is called Gouin boulevard, and it faces Lac des Deux Montagnes (Lake of Two Mountains) which then leads to the Ottawa river. The south of the island faces Lac St. Louis, which is part of the famous St. Lawrence seaway, which runs all the way from the Atlantic ocean to the Great Lakes. Lac St. Louis is a great lake and on a warm summer day, sailboats dot along the sparkling periwinkle blue water. I spent four glorious years of my youth in sailing camp and loved every minute of it.
(Photo of me (right) sailing on Lac St. Louis)
So what does Montreal have in it? Everything! Fashion, high tech, cultural venues, shopping, museums, vibrant economy, restaurants, people, love, community, tolerance. I’m so happy to represent you – Montréal, je t’aime!