Today we disembarked from the cruise and went to a few sites in Montreal.
Disembarkation and Arrival at the Hotel
The disembarkation went smoothly and we were able to get a taxi to the hotel very easily. We were unable to check in to our room, but the hotel stored our luggage and the concierge gave us some information on where to go to get the hop on hop off bus of the city.
Hop on Hop Off Bus
The tourist information centre was only a few minutes walk away from the hotel so we headed over there to get hop on hop off bus tickets. From there we rode for just a very short distance to the Old Town where we got off to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame and walk around the Old Town.
Cathedral of Notre Dame in Montreal
The Cathedral was very pretty and looked very European. We did a tour of the interior and the guide explained some of the history of the cathedral. One interesting thing that was different than most churches was that the stained glass told the story of Montreal’s founding rather than stories from the Bible. Originally the church had a huge stained glass window behind the main altar but in the 1800s it was covered up because the sun shined so brightly into the building. The glass was only rediscovered when the chapel behind the church burned in a fire exposing the old window. Only two panels survived and they are on display in the chapel.
The organ in the church has 7000 pipes. Our guide said that it is very grand but you can only hear it during Mass.
Behind the main building is a chapel whose interior is very modern looking compared to the main building. It is a combination of the old architecture and new minimalistic architecture (the last picture).
Walking through Montreal
After the tour we walked a bit around Old Town and went past Chinatown. The Montreal China Town is very small compared to other major cities. Our goal was to get to a different hop on hop off bus stop that would take us to the top of Mount Royal, the mountain around which Montreal was founded. After a bite to eat, we walked over to the stop and got on to the next bus.
St. Joseph’s Oratory
The bus tour took us to St. Joseph’s Oratory, a very grand looking structure from the outside, but on the inside it is decorated in a very modern manner. There are 99 stairs going up to the entrance and many pilgrims stop at each stair to pray. We did not go inside, but we got a picture of it from the outside.
We continued on the bus to the top of Mount Royal. It seems like Mount Royal is the Central Park of Montreal. We saw all sorts of people hanging out in the park doing a variety of activities. We continued to an overlook spot where we got a good view of Montreal.
Mass at Notre Dame
The bus dropped us back off at the visitor center and we walked back to the hotel and relaxed for a little while. Then we decided to return to the Cathedral of Notre Dame for the Mass at 17:00 (5:00 PM) to hear the 7000-pipe organ. The organ was indeed very grand. It filled the entire space with sound. We are not Catholics and neither of us had been to a Mass before so it was a very interesting experience. In addition to not being Catholic, we don’t speak French so we had no idea what was being said. It seemed like there were many tourists attending the Mass, but they all seemed to be Catholic (though not Francophone). I’m sure we were the only Baptists at that Mass and I bet we were the only Protestants also. It was a very neat experience.
Walking Around Old Dock
After Mass, we walked down to the Old Dock. The Old Dock area seemed to be the place to be in the evening. There were all sorts of things going on around the area. Lots of people were just walking around but there were also street vendors set up all along the Old Dock. I ate poutine from one of the food trucks. We continued along the Old Dock.
Something possessed us to do the zip line across the Old Dock. We got suited up and went up to the top and I got some nice pictures of the Old Dock. Then we did the zip line. It was awesome. Mom was nervous to do it but both of us had a ton of fun. I took a few pictures of other people doing the zip line.
After the zip line, we walked back through the Old Dock and Old Town to our hotel. There was one pedestrian street that we went up that seemed like the place for buskers. It was like 16th Street Mall in Denver. Once back at the hotel, I worked a little bit on my blog and then headed to bed.