Montréal botanical gardens (2)

On our first full day in Montréal, Amy and I stayed true to form and made a beeline for the natural history attractions. The Insectarium was closed, but we did manage to tour the Biodôme (housed in the velodrome / Judo dojo from the 1976 Olympic Games) and the Botanical Gardens (founded in 1931 after years of campaigning by Québec botanist Brother Marie-Victorin).

Olympic ParkBiodôme trumpeter

Top left: A flower in the Botanical Gardens. Above left: Olympic Park. Above right: Grey-winged trumpeters (Psophia crepitans). Below left: Ibis, probably scarlet. Below right: An otter, probably river.

Biodôme ibisBiodôme otter

Biodôme turtleBiodôme bird (1)

Above left: A small turtle. Above right: A seabird, probably a tern or kittiwake. Below: Unidentified seabirds.

Biodôme bird (2)Biodôme bird (3)

Montréal botanical gardens (11)Biodôme capybara

Above left: Flowers in the Botanical Gardens. Above right: A capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). Below: Flowers in the Botanical Gardens.

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Montréal botanical gardens (9)Montréal botanical gardens (10)

Montréal botanical gardens (4)Montréal botanical gardens (12)

Montreal by night (2)

A few weeks ago (yes, it’s been that long since I had sufficient idle time to update), Amy and I took a mini-break in the cosmopolitan heart of colonial Canada, Montréal. Our touristy adventures at various sights will be chronicled in later posts, but I wanted to mention first and foremost what will certainly prove to be the stand-out highlight of our trip.

On our first evening in the city, we sought out dinner at a busy Italian-flavoured place and were rewarded with fresh pesto and bread (things almost undreamed-of with our single-income food budget and my lacklustre cooking skills), along with excellent pizza and salads. We took the scenic route back to our hotel, and Amy almost immediately spotted a “Hey! Join us!” sign attached to an ice hockey stick being waved from the roof of a four-storey building. Never ones to turn down a blog post hook, we yelled up at the waver and were invited up toutesuite (note: for the record, I was mildly incredulous that we would associate with strangers on rooftops but things worked out for the best, as you will read).

Rooftop party (2)

A runner was sent down to fetch us, and we climbed to the upper storey of the building, through a hole in the kitchen’s upper wall and then through a trapdoor onto the rooftop proper. We were greeted enthusiastically by a small group of students who were drinking cocktails out of small bowls and trying to entice more people up onto the roof to enjoy the evening. With music streaming from an internet radio station and another round of drinks forthcoming, we settled down to chat the night away above one of downtown Montréal’s busiest nightlife areas. We had so much fun, we went back the following evening with cider and snacks.

Join usRooftop party (1)

Montreal by night (1)Montreal by night (3)