Scenes of the City in December

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I was stomping around a good portion of the island today, and Montréal had beautiful weather. After a day of snow then freezing rain, today was bright, sunny, crisp and cool but with sun flooding the city. So I took a few photos of the different neighbourhoods I was meandering through before darkness fell, which at this time of year is around 4 pm.

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The photo above is of the Outremont/Mile End area along Laurier street. This area is lined with shops that are a bit more upscale, as well as some great restaurants including a failed venture with British chef Gordon Ramsay. That restaurant is the first building on the left of the photo, and was a long-standing but faltering establishment called Rotisserie BBQ. Gordon Ramsay came in all Hell’s Kitchen-style, revamping the place and renaming it Rotisserie Gordon Ramsay before abruptly pulling out of the business relationship four months later. The restaurant is still up and running but is now named Rotisserie Laurier.

This neighbourhood is still a great place for shopping and eating. Juliette et Chocolat is a great dessert café, and Gourmet Laurier stocks all the hard to find ingredients for cooking and baking. I was so grateful they had meringue powder so that I can whip up so Christmas desserts tonight.

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This is a photo of St. James United Church on Saint Catherine street in downtown Montréal. Montréal is full of Catholic churches due to the French Catholics who first settled in the province (and make up the majority of the province’s population today though many no longer attend church). Older Protestant churches, such as this one, are more of rarity and St. James was built in 1887. It is designated as a National Historical Site of Canada with its gothic revival architecture and Casavant Frères organ in the interior. I was part of a wedding at the church this year and I was enamoured at the beautiful restoration of the building.

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This is at Parc avenue and Price Arthur street in the McGill Ghetto, just steps from Mont Royal. Do you see that hill in the distance? That is where the mountain starts and Montréal is full of hills big and small. This is fine by me, except that I experience pretty epic falls from slipping on the ice and snow every year. Now that I live in Montréal, I have a proper parka and wear my weather boots once the city freezes over. There is no reason to wear heels after November, unless you are waiting in line at a club, and you’re a young and confused teen or early twenty-something that will teeter back home in a taxi — some of us have been there.

Finally, the photo at the top of the post is a window display of the downtown location of La Baie (The Bay in the rest of Canada). La Baie is Canada’s oldest department store and though they have been through many up and downs over the years, I must give them props for having the best holiday window displays in Montréal. In Toronto, I would say it is a tie between The Bay and Holt Renfrew, which is an upscale department store that is kind of equivalent to Saks Fifth Avenue of the U.S.

After running around today to get my Christmas cookie ingredients, I am now off to bake in my tiny oven. Photos will be coming up soon. Happy December!

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