It was late afternoon when I got to the hotel quickly freshened up and hit the streets of “la ville de Montréal”. While French is the primary language in the province of Québec, I wouldn’t let it dissuade you from visiting the city. I have yet to meet anyone in Montreal who does not speak English, or at least would do their best to help out if you were lost. I was staying downtown so I picked my way thought the warm city streets to Rue St Catherine’s, a great area for shopping. I tend not to buy things I can get at home in other provinces in Canada for a few reasons, I don’t want to carry it all the way home and we don’t have a provincial sales tax in Alberta. This means more often than not things are cheaper at home than elsewhere. I look for store we don’t have at home or stores we do have that don’t carry the same lines at home. It seems to me that there must be different regional buyers for certain stores that don’t buy things other buyers do. Be it that certain items don’t sell we’ll in some areas or whatnot or that tastes differ in styles from coast to coast. I really cannot see the west coast fleece vest and sandals being a vogue in Montreal or Toronto in the summer heat nor would a wool coat in the damp and rainy winters of Vancouver be practical. One of my favourite stores is in one of the downtown malls, le Centre Eatons, is San Francisco. A women’s clothing store where I swear everything in the store fits me perfectly, despite my incredibly hard to fit inseam. It really is quite a boost to my ego to shop there. It does however make deciding harder when they have a sale on as they did this time. I walked out with 3 pairs of jeans, a pencil skirt, and a shirt for around $200 Canadian. The hardest part of the whole trip was having to fit it all in my carry-on luggage, I must control myself in the future or learn to pack more efficiently. After checking a few more stores but knowing I had little room left in my suitcase and that anything I bought I would have to schlep back to the hotel by foot I opted to quit before I checked out Simons, a very popular store. I notice, and I may alone in this theory, that stores in Montreal aren’t like stores anywhere else. I found that women of all ages shop in the same stores. In Calgary it isn’t uncommon for me not to shop in certain stores as they cater to certain age sets be it too young for me or too old. I find there is a pride in being a woman in Montreal. You may be a grandma but you don’t have to dress like one and I love that I notice less age barriers in fashion here. Could it be cultural? Possibly Quebec does hold on to more European routes than most other parts of the country. Anyway, these are my postulations only and not fact but I do love the clothes as they seem hipper for all ages.
With shopping done, food was next on my list. I worked up quite an appetite trying on all those clothes. I looked for an eatery with a patio and found the chain brewery, Les 3 Brasseurs. I was lucky enough to get a curbside table and enjoy the warm evening air and watch everyone bustle about. I couldn’t resist ordering a smoked salmon salad, and the regional dish poutine. The latter is French fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds, a true coronary on a plate. I have been working hard at eating healthily on the road but the poutine was worth it. It was a lot of food though; I would be lying if I said I made a dent in any of it. Just thinking of dinner is making my arteries snap shut, mmmmmmm poutine.