After 6 nights in our plateau apartment that we had rented for the full week, we decided to end our Canada trip in style. We have been so spoilt on this trip, staying in such amazing and breathtaking hotels that we thought it would be fitting to end the trip this way as well. So, we checked out of the little apartment early, and headed straight back to our original Montreal hotel, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. It was definitely a fantastic way to spend our last night. We checked into their premium royal suite – and what can we say? IT ROCKED!!!! A few pics of the suite are here.
We spent a day in the Biodome – where there are several different climates in different divisions of the one place. They have created a tropical forest, Laurentian forest, marine ecosystem, Arctic and Antarctic climates. As a result there is a huge range of animals and plants to see. To see our photos click here.
We have had a great few days and have managed to see quite a few things… We visited the world famous Schwartz’s for some smoked meat – the second time we both ate meat in Canada. We also visited Habitat 67 (above) to see the iconic housing built for expo 67 and the most expensive housing in Montreal on the sought after waterfront. Another place we went is Notre-Dame Basilica (below). We nearly didn’t go into the Basilica and were SO glad as it was truly awesome. We even managed to stumble into the Montreal food and wine festival and had a great time there. Some more photos are here.
We saw loads of crazy massive bugs here! They were all pretty cool and we got a few pics:
We spent a beautiful day in the Montreal Botanical Gardens and were thoroughly impressed. We enjoyed ourselves here far more than at Butchart gardens in Victoria near the start of our trip – and they are ‘meant’ to be much better than these ones. There was an amazing Chinese garden which we spent hours in, a Japanese garden, a rock garden, water garden, Canadian garden, a Lilac garden and a few others. It was kinda ironic to love the Chinese garden best in Canada! It was huge though and a lovely place to be.
We also spent a lot of time amongst the Lilac’s, Soph you were so right, they are gorgeous and the fragrance is heavenly… Our photos are here.
We decided to stay in the downtown area of Montreal for the first couple of days and then moved into an apartment that we booked for a week in the Plateau. The downtown area is the main touristy part with the port and all of the cool buildings and stuff, and the Plateau is a supposedly trendy area for people to live – and it did seem quite cool with lots of restaurants and funky apartments and of course, Mount Royal which has a massive park to hang out in. On our first day we wasted no time in trying poutine! Hot chips with gravy and cheese curds – it was good.
We generally wandered around and really liked the feel of the streets and atmosphere. We went to see St Joseph’s Oratory (which was built by brother Andre) and just basically chilled as this is our last stop of this trip. Also we went to the 25th Anniversary show of Cirque du Soliel which was fantastic. Our photos are here.
We loved Quebec City! A lot of our time in Quebec was all about views of and from the Frontenac. When we read that it dominates the city, we didn’t realise just how much until we got here. You can hardly walk or look anywhere without the beautiful and imposing Frontenac taking your breath away. We did also get out and do some other stuff too though; We went to the Shrine of St Anne, a supposed site for miracle healings, and it was a very pretty cathedral, we also did a cruise on the St Lawrence river, went to the Montmonrency falls and went to a Quebecois sugar shack. The cruise was a really nice relaxing way to spend an afternoon, and we both really enjoyed it. The sugar shack was a really interesting experience where we ate traditional Quebecois food like Pea soup, potatoes in gravy, salad, all with maple syrup on them! It was surprisingly good and the real stuff is quite smoky in flavour and not just sweet. We also learned to play the spoons and did some Quebecois dancing. And we finished off with some maple taffy, poured freshly onto some snow. Yum. We also spent a lot of time wandering Quebec City’s gorgeous streets, it really has quite a European feel about it and the people there seem very passionate about everything. Overall we had a ball here and wished that we could stay longer. Our photos are here (a slightly Frontenac obsessed album!).
We stopped briefly in Ottawa just for the night on the way to Quebec City. What we saw of Ottawa we actually really liked, it was a pretty city with lots of old buildings and we saw a gorgeous sunset there.
We spent the afternoon wandering the streets and went over to the Quebec side of the river for a view back over Ottawa, and then after dinner (at which Karen got the best desert of the whole trip – a divine flourless chocolate cake YUM) we went to see the city at night. It was quite lovely and we both really enjoyed our time in Ottawa. Below are the beautiful Parliament Buildlings with the flame in front. Our photos are here.
On the way to Montebello we stopped at Kingston, and did a Thousand Islands cruise. It was a pretty little section of river that divides USA and Canada, and had 1842 islands to be exact. There were some with only enough room on the island for a small house, and other larger islands with a few houses. They are primarily peoples summer homes, as the river freezes in winter (but not enough to drive on), so unless you have a small plane or helicopter there is no way to get to the islands in winter. We saw everything ranging from a small shack to a castle which was built for a rich man’s wife, and once the exterior was completed she died, so the inside is still now a big empty space. Dre found a fancy house and island that he wants to buy :-)
After that we arrived at Montebello, a huge red cedar lodge on the Ottawa river that was built in 1920 and started off being an exclusive club before becoming a hotel.
We’re back in Vancouver in between the Rocky Mountaineer and our Alaskan cruise, and this morning we got up early to go to the Capilano Suspension bridge in North Vancouver. To be honest it was a bit overrated, but still a nice morning out. We also stopped by Stanley Park again and saw that the same trees that had no leaves 2 weeks ago and were in full blossom now have lots of leaves and no flowers – the seasons are definitely much more pronounced and fast changing here. Now we’re off for our cruise – we’ll be on there for the next week so not sure how often we’ll update the site. :-)
Dre on the suspension bridge.