DAY 1: April 26 2017
With Sophia having a 2-day conference in Montreal, I decided to take the opportunity to join her and explore Montreal.
After a 5.5 hour drive to the French city from Toronto, we arrived around noon and decided to get a head start in exploring by checking out the Saint Joseph’s Oratory, the largest Catholic dedication to St. Joseph in North America.
Built in the 1930s, this large structure has multiple rooms and levels to explore. At the time, there was an exhibition dedicated to the portrayal of the nativity scene from across the world.
There is also a dedication to Saint Brother André, caretaker, adviser to the sick and healer. His story is not to be missed!
A busy place on the weekends for tourists, but going midweek can almost guarantee a quiet and peaceful tour of the Oratory, including access to daily mass.
TIP: Parking and entrance are included and the cost is usually a set donation amount that goes into preserving and maintaining the Oratory.
After a few hours well spent, we headed to our Airbnb accommodations in downtown Montreal. While these can be a hit or miss, with careful research you can usually find a great deal on a good place, in the right location and with a view of the city.
The rest of the day was spent walking around the area. We went to the famous smoked meat deli Schwartz in downtown, where we had some smoked meat sandwiches and poutine. Open since 1928, many famous people have visitors Schwartz for their sandwiches, and it certainly didn’t disappoint! A landmark in Montreal it is worth a visit.
After that, we walked on St. Catherine street and passed by Juste pour rire headquarters…
before ending up at one of our favorite Quebec dessert houses Chocolats Favoris. You’ll find multiple locations across the province! When in Quebec, visit this place for some fantastic soft-serve ice cream that can be dipped in a variety of delicious chocolate flavours.
On the way back, we found ourselves taking in the beauty of the city.
As we headed back to our place, we enjoyed a temporary outside art exhibit that featured swings that generated musical beats and lit up as you swing!
DAY 2: April 27 2017
With Sophia spending the day at her conference, I decided to venture out and explore the older parts of Montreal by myself.
While I’ve been to the city numerous times, I’ve never taken the time to explore the old port and downtown, so I downloaded the app Histoire Montreal which is a fantastic app that I can’t recommend enough. With multiple circuits for daytime and nighttime, the app (which is fully downloadable onto your phone so no internet is required) walks you through the streets of the old port and downtown, and presents a series of audio clips and pictures as it guides you through the streets.
The coolest part however is at certain locations there is an augmented reality segment where you point your phones camera an area or building and it superimposes a series of scenes over top explaining about the area.
As a 100% free tour guided app for Montreal, I can’t recommend it enough for exploring the city.
After doing my own walking tour with the app, the rest of the night was spent with Sophia at the gala she needed to attend to.
DAYS 3-5: April 28-30 2017
The rest of the trip was spent shopping and visiting family (along with a few business meetings I had while Sophia was attending her conference).
Once we were both done, we met up at a small coffee shop off St. Catherine Street called Café Parvis. We took our time to relax before heading out to dinner with her cousin Pete.
Dinner was spent at a Japanese restaurant called Biiru, where we enjoyed great food and drinks, and of course company!
Making the most of a business trip and extending it to a mini vacation is what we do best!
Hi, I’m Jason Wingate and I caught the travel bug a few years ago with my wife Sophia Bello. Together, we’ve been travelling the world and sharing our experiences here on our blog, hoping to inspire and help you on your own journey!