On our second day in Montreal we started with a morning jacuzzi in that big tub in our room, then made our way down to the restaurant for our free hot breakfast. Our train to Halifax didn’t leave until early in the evening and we didn’t want to carry our bags around all day. Fortunately, the hotel offered a free luggage storage service so we checked out and left our bags behind. The plan was to meet up with Kevin, wander the streets, eat good food and check out the some of the local sights.
OLD MONTREAL IS FILLED WITH CHARM
Walking around Old Montreal brought back a lot of memories. We went past Club Soda where I had played the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival over 20 years ago as a side man with a sketch troupe called Skippy’s Rangers.
WALKING PAST VENUES FROM 20 YEARS PAST BROUGHT BACK GOOD MEMORIES
ENROUTE TO THE MUSEUM, WE TRAVELED THROUGH THE UNDERGROUND TUNNELS THAT PROTECT RESIDENTS FROM THE CHILL IN THE WINTER. THIS IS THE DESJARDINS CENTRE … A SHOPPING COMPLEX AND BUSINESS TOWER.
KEVIN OLSON WAS OUR GUIDE TO MONTREAL FOR THE DAY … HE’S ALSO A GREAT STAGE MANAGER
We made our way to the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art., where we met Kevin and explored a range of truly thought provoking exhibits over the course of a few hours. It is hard to encapsulate all that we saw, but below are a few compelling images. Some of the most powerful work was by Teresa Margolles whose work focuses on border towns in Mexico where the promise of a better life has slowly eroded due to crime and corrupt government. During the present political tensions between the U.S. and Mexico, the installations were particularly powerful.
THE MATERIALS FOR THIS PIECE ARE MADE UP OF THE THE HOME OF A RESIDENT IN A SMALL TOWN
The installation above is called The Promise and is made up of materials from a house that was knocked down in a town called Ciadad Juarez. Once filled with hope and promise, the town ultimately has become a place where there is violence and corruption. The materials for the exhibit are transported to each museum, mixed with water and compressed into a long rectangular block. Each day for one hour, a team of people come and slowly scrape away at the block, spreading the debris to indicate the diminishing lives of the residents and the broken promises of a solid life by the government. By the end of the run of this exhibit, the block will be gone and the room will be strewn with pebbles and rubble.
THE THEME OF MANY OF THE WORKS BY OTHER ARTISTS WAS SOCIETY IN TIMES OF WAR
PETE EXPLORES THE CONTENTS OF GLOWING BARRELS FILLED WITH WATER
THE GLOW IS CAUSED BY VIDEO IMAGES IN BLACK AND WHITE OF PEOPLE SLEEPING
WHEN SEEN UNDERWATER … IT IS A DISTURBING JUXTAPOSITION
SURREAL SCULPTURES MAKE UP A PORTION OF THE EXHIBITS
After looking at the art for a few hours, it was time to go and get some food. Kevin took us on a walking tour of his favourite neighbourhoods in Montreal and we wound up at The Main, a favoured deli for smoked meat sandwiches. Frome there we moved onward to a fine coffee shop and then to a bakery for Portugese tarts.
PORTUGESE TARTS ARE FILLED WITH A RICH CUSTARD. A DELICIOUS TREAT
We had walked almost to the base of Mount Royal by this time. It was mid-afternoon, and we started our walk back towards the hotel, but we had one final stop before picking up our luggage and bidding Kevin farewell.
MARY QUEEN OF THE WORLD IS A SPECTACULAR CATHEDRAL IN MONTREAL
On previous trips, we had been to see Notre Dame Cathedral, but we found another Cathedral that is much quieter, a little less known, and in our opinion, equally beautiful. Instead of the hues of blue that Notre Dame is known for, Mary Queen Of The World Cathedral is painted in a light green shade. It is immense. Walking around the space is a humbling reminder that in Quebec, the Catholic faith is still going strong. We were told that on Sundays, the church is full every week. Visiting on a weekday, it was a peaceful respite from the chilly outside where one could sit and reflect in silence.
We finished our visit, made our way back to our hotel, bid Kevin goodbye and made our way to the train station. It was time to start our journey to Halifax.
Tomorrow … riding the rails through a snowy night.
FENTON & WHITE