When I first told somebody we were heading to Montréal they exclaimed that it would be our easiest European trip because it feels as if you’ve left the continent. The city is so quickly accessible from NYC that we decided to drive. We plan to try the train next time (oh yes, there will be a next time). I’m still not sure how we missed out on this city for so long, but we are making up for the error of our ways.
Our little road warriors perked up when we approached the city and spotted the enormous Ferris wheel erected to celebrate the 375th anniversary of Montréal and 150th anniversary of Canada. When we pulled into our hotel, the Omni Mont Royal, the fun really began! Our congenial guide loaded all our luggage on the cart and deposited it in our room.
We’ve been needing a bit more, erm, breathing space, so we had two connecting rooms. (Downside of #loftliving). We had the Omni’s Montréal $375 package. The package includes, room, metro passes (the girls asked why NYC subways are so dirty, ha!), and a movie night for $375 CAD. Friday night is our family movie night, so everyone was happy we came in on a Friday. Much to all our surprise, movie night Omni-style meant a table filled with candy, charcuterie, cheese board, and more! Imaging the groans when everyone was pulled away to go explore the city first…
We set out to McGill University and the McCord Museum. The Urban Garden left us imagining we were in Dr. Seusses Oh The Places You Will Go. Just as we wrapped up, the rain started; so we ducked in to the Barbie Expo aka heaven? Even the least Barbie fanatic amongst us was fairly taken with it.
As soon as the rain stopped we raced back to the hotel to the outdoor mezzanine swimming pool. When the rain started again we dashed upstairs for our movie night.
The girls love tiny bits of magic, so I try to provide it here and there. When they woke up to the Select Guest Programs complimentary beverage delivery they fell into hot chocolate comas. We went down to a buffet breakfast at Le Petit Opus; usually a challenge when you have vegan/vegetarian/gluten free eaters, but nicely varied options.
We were hit with another rainy day, but Montréal had plenty to offer. The concierge had put together a wonderful package detailing dining and activities, and highlighting events happening over the weekend. The girls chose the Bio Dome and Planetarium. The shows at the Planetarium were particularly captivating. LuLu was a bit iffy at barely three, but she sat silently enthralled. Tip: Enter the Planetarium first and buy tickets for both sides to skip the crowded lines.
Afterwards, we headed to Jeff des Bruges for ice cream and to buy Belgian chocolate shipped weekly from France. Please get yourself a soft serve cone dipped in chocolate. Do not share it with your children when they insist on vanilla in a cup with sprinkles. It is basically Dairy Queen after the Fairy Godmother came and waved her wand. Buzzing with sugar highs, we headed out into Carifiesta, a carnival style celebration of Montréal’s Caribbean community. Think of younger me playing mas in Trinidad, and you will understand why this was my chosen event. Glitter, feathers, and smiles!
Summer Saturday nights are made for two things: Montréal Cirque Festival and the Montréal International Fireworks Competition. The Cirque Festival is an interactive Cirque du Soleil style performance traveling through the streets. You can track them and participate through their app.
We planned a lazy Sunday exploring the Old Port with friends. Little did we know that the ‘Pirate Ship’ is actually an incredible ropes course for children three and up. So, we got harnessed + helmeted and played masterful swashbucklers at Voiles en Voiles before heading on to our next adventure.
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