Montréal at a Glance
I figured it would just be a Parisian New York or vice versa. Naïve as I was,
I didn't realize that I was in for a spirited, bold and complex mix of contrasts
that completely defies comparison.
Sure, Montréal's renowned duality of Old World charm infused with North American
energy lies at its very heart; however, I discovered that it is the plurality
of cultures that really makes this metropolis tick.
A shutterbug's dream, you could snap away at warp speed and capture a new story
with every click. It doesn't matter where you go on the island; every neighbourhood
is different and everyone stars in their own Oscar-worthy screenplay.
Montréal is as romantically traditional as it is cutting-edge innovative,
as cosmopolitan dynamic as it is small-town friendly. Yet despite this diversity,
an underlying homogeneity exists in this vibrant population who collectively and
confidently "live and let live"—and do it well.
Take Saint-Denis Street for example. On the first warm day of spring, Montréalers
flock to the outdoor terraces en masse to celebrate winter's departure and lift
their faces to the light like sunflowers.
Or downtown during the holidays, where rosy-cheeked shoppers stop to listen to Cyrille
the Spoonman as he merrily click-clacks away in front of Ogilvy's department store.
Or summer Sundays on Mount Royal, where everyone gathers to let loose to the tribal
beat of the tam-tams. Bohemian? Maybe. Uplifting? Definitely.
After spending some time here, you'll notice that without the complex mix of flavours—ethnicity,
culture, language, ideas, cuisine, you name it—warm camaraderie and sheer
joie de vivre, anywhere else just seems bland.