, City Events
, The Weekend
Tam Tams Drumming Sessions
Every Sunday (depending on weather)
George-Étienne Cartier Monument at Mount Royal Park
Montréal, Québec, Canada
Living in Montréal means that I often act as hostess to various friends and family visiting the city. My guests usually know what they want to do while they’re here — visit cool bars, go to the Old Port, and eat poutine at 4 am. Often, however, they have never heard about the Tam Tam sessions in Mont Royal so if we have a lazy Sunday in the works we’ll make our way over to the mountain after brunch. It’s hard to explain, though, what the Tam Tams are about and really, even, why we should go and see this event. Hippies drumming and free-flow dancing in a circle? I admit, it’s not for everyone but it’s a big part of this city and it’s a different part of Montréal living that I like to expose my guests to if they’re open to alternative cultures.
, Health & Fitness
Parc National du Mont-Saint-Bruno
330, rang des 25 E.
Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Québec J3V 4P6
There is so much to explore in my city of Montréal but I also love trips outside the island to discover the rest of the province. A friend had been harping about hiking at one of the mountains outside of the city forever so we finally planned a day to visit the national park at Mont-Saint-Bruno (the trails and not the ski hill), which is so close to Montréal and makes a fun day time excursion.
The different trails were marked by signs with various route distances
, Health & Fitness
The George-Étienne Cartier Monument at the base of Mont-Royal
I love the mountain. Mont-Royal (Mount Royal) is located just north of downtown Montréal and the park is very much visited by both locals and tourists. In the warmer months, you will find cyclists, runners, and walkers climbing the trails while the Tam Tams drum and dance at the George-Étienne Cartier Monument, and a medieval battle takes hold further up in the forest. Others play frisbee, hackey sack, picnic, or just rest in the grassy hills, or take in the view of the city from the Observatory near the top of the mountain. A large crucifix illuminates at the top and faces the east side of the city, and two large cemeteries — the larger and Catholic Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, and the traditionally Protestant and English Cimetière Mont-Royal — encompass the west side of the mountain.
Montréal is a cold city, so we don’t have too many months available for seasonal activities which means that city dwellers learn to embrace the cold. Hence, even in the winter, the mountain is accessible with fresh snow fall immediately plowed and packed to the ground so that cold weather runners and cross-country skiers can whiz up the paths. I also sometimes see snow-shoers as well, though there are fewer tourists who are willing to bear the biting Montréal cold. The Montréal Police also patrol the mountain, riding on horses through the trails, so the sight of road apples is common in the park.
The temperature has been dropping in the city, so if you want to catch the Tam Tams and the Medieval Battle, or take a walk through the park is warmer weather, don’t wait too long to visit the mountain. Find out more information about Mont-Royal on their website: www.lemontroyal.qc.ca.
Parks in Montréal are very well used
Medieval sword-fight battle every Sunday at the mountain
It has been raining every other day or so here in Montréal which, along with the colder temperatures, meant I was back in layers and rain boots. I was walking home in the evening last night after a day of rain, and the drizzle had stopped by the time I came out of metro. I live next to a beautiful park and as I was walking past the greenery I thought the effects of the fog corralled in the air made for a dreamy scenery. I do not carry fancy camera equipment so I attempted to capture the night with my iPhone. I cannot wait for sun and the summer season to start in the city.
Dog Exercise Enclosure (Aire d’Exercice Canine)
At Rue de Mentana and Rue Saint-Gregoire
Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier (“Parc Laurier”) is one of my favourite parks in Montréal. It is situated in the Plateau neighbourhood on the north side of Laurier between Rue de Mentana to the west and Rue de Brébeuf to the east, and enclosed at rue Saint-Gregoire to the north.
The park is perfect because of all the amenities it offers and reminds me of why I love Montréal. In my home town of Toronto, the parks are sub par and kind of analogous to the quality of bread between the two cities — absolutely amazing in Montréal and mostly garbage in Toronto. Toronto parks are often small green spaces haphazardly inserted into neighbourhoods without too much thought or love. That is, you will find a short walkway, a small play area and equipment for children, and if you are lucky you might get tennis courts and maybe a hockey arena in the winter. Some groups of teenage kids might hang out the areas where there is concrete to practice skateboarding tricks, dog walkers quickly stroll by, and a few toddlers may be supervised in the playground. (I know there are some excellent parks in Toronto, such as Trinity Bellwoods, but I find these more of an anomaly, particularly in the downtown areas.)
Here in Montréal, the parks are loved. They are used to their fullest, even in the winter. Parks are an important element of every neighbourhood and are vast green spaces used by surrounding residents. A hockey arena or two are erected in the cold months, and often the park administrators will pool water into a corner for free ice skating. In the warmer months, families and friends bring bottles of wine to sit in the grass and share a meal, amateur acrobats practice juggling and tightrope, and various organized sports are in session. It often seems that everyone in the neighbourhood are out and in the park, so much so that there is nary an empty spot in the parks. As one Québécois friend explained to me, because the residences in the city rarely have their own backyards the neighbourhood parks are instead used as an extension of their homes.
During my stay in Toronto I discovered the trails along the Humber River in the Old Mill area in west Toronto. There are two trails, one that is pedestrian only, and the other that is for both pedestrian and mixed used (including bicycles). Toronto was green for most of the time I was visiting so I did not encounter any snow or slippery routes. I did, however, encounter many types of birds including chickadees, red cardinals, and some very small birds that I could not identify.
The area is heavily forested but with several park benches and picnic tables scattered along the greenery. There were many runners, walkers, and bikers along the trails, with some coming from the neighbouring affluent neighbourhood and others who parked their cars in the nearby lots to walk their dogs. For more information on the trails around the Humber River and Old Mill, and other walking trails, visit the Discovery Walks section of the City of Toronto website.