Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Au Revoir à Montréal

My Dad's cousin lent us their house this Labour Day weekend so we could visit my Nana in the hospital.  (Thank you!) This way we could ignore the cost of food and gas and pretend the trip was totally free.  Nana was a delight to visit, rather than a chore.  Such a contrast from visiting Omi in the Alzheimer's ward.  If you can, I highly recommend maintaining all your faculties and your sense of humour right to the very end.  Though bed bound, Nana seemed in good spirits, and was delighted to see my kids.  Jadzia and William were timid around their great grandmother at first (they've only met her a couple times) but were soon climbing all over the bed, scratching lottery tickets together, showing off their toys, and giving hugs.  At one point Jadzia told Nana, in her sweet mousy three-year-old voice, "We're here to say goodbye to you because you're going to die soon."  Classic!  Nana found her honesty hilarious.

Of course, we also took full advantage of being in Montreal, the city I was born into but barely know.  The first day (not including the driving day) we saw the Science Centre (our Ontario Science Centre passes worked) and a rather sparse army festival (though it did include a skydiving show), then we wandered the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, ate at a pirate restaurant, and had ice cream sweetened with maple syrup. It became a running gag that Adam (who doesn't speak French) would ask me to order for us and then I would just order in English. Montreal is fully bilingual after all.

The next day we went to the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which is like the AGO only you don't have to pay to get in (as you can tell, we targeted free museums).  A crowd favourite was Tony Matelli's "Old Enemy, New Victim", a frighteningly realistic silicone sculpture of two skinny chimps attacking a fat one. I was amazed at how well behaved my kids were.  When they got tired of all the art-viewing, they sat on the museum steps and gave me a cuddle (instead of running around giggling like crazy fools, screeching bathroom words and having hair-trigger activated tantrums). Our plan was to go see the Redpath next, another free to enter museum but with dinosaur bones. Unfortunately, it was inexplicably closed.

Though we were all exhausted, we stopped at Fairmont to buy a dozen of their famous Montreal bagels. Then we went to Lac Aux Castors to have a bagel snack.  The lake wasn't there (no really, it was under construction) but we had saw a fabulous view of the city from Mount Royal.  Then went out for dinner for rotisserie chicken at Côte Saint-Luc BBQ.

Since it was our last day, we pushed our tired kids to the limit and went back to Mount Royal after dark so Adam could take night photos of the view.  There, we saw a frightening amount of not-timid-enough raccoons.  Maybe I still smelled of bagels and chicken because some of them were pawing at my leg.  Definitely a cute meets creepy experience.

Still what made the trip worthwhile was how our visit seemed to brighten my Nana's day.  I hope we get the opportunity to visit her again.  Or maybe one day we'll be going to Montreal to visit William, who told us "I want to live here when I'm a grown-up."

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