I can’t believe it’s already April! It feels as if only the other week I was just settling into Montreal, exploring the city and learning about it as I went. Now, I only have a month left of studying abroad and I can feel it slipping away already. With so much to do and little time to do it in, I’ve come to think about all the little things I still have to do!
One of the big things I wanted to do is visit and explore Old Montreal. The oldest area in the City of Montreal, Old Montreal is located on the east by Rue Saint Andre and on the south by Saint Lawrence River. Originally colonized by the French, there are some remains of the old architecture the city once had. Today though, there are plenty of shops and restaurants to occupy your time. It’s a part of the city where you can have some interesting routes to walk through, or take some beautiful pictures of a quiet, snowy scene in the city.
As well as exploring the historical aspects of Montreal, I wish I explored the nature side residing in the urban area. During the winter, there are plenty of opportunities to go ice skating and I wish I had taken those opportunities and developed a pretty cool skill. The lakes freeze up and it becomes a social opportunity to meet new people. I did visit Mont Royal to go sledding with our event coordinator, but the hill had more to offer that I didn’t explore. My roommate Lee told me about his jogging trips out to Mont Royal, about how the hill saw over the city. I envied every word.
You know, I’ve been mostly complaining about how the semester is coming to a close and that I won’t be here anymore, but with the end of the semester a new side of Montreal has shown itself to me. Today, it was a beautiful and sunny 50 degrees outside. Instead of the empty snowy streets I had come to appreciate before, the snow melted away to reveal an urban and living environment that just seemed to emanate a positive surge of the city to me. Saint Catherine transformed into a brick street with a multitude of street vendors, performers, and everyday citizens going about their daily business. The Desjardin Complex installed plants surrounding its signature indoor fountain, bringing a sense of energy and announcing the arrival of spring. The city had awoken from its wintry slumber and transformed into an animated metropolis full of new sights to see. If anything, the winding down of the semester only convinced me to stay longer for the summer.
Even though I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to, I feel pretty fulfilled in my exploration of the city. From Chinatown down Saint Urbain to the restaurants up Saint Laurent, I experienced a new place and it was phenomenal to learn about it. The food I experienced, from the staple poutine dish at Frite Alors or a famous smoked meat sandwich from Schwarz’s Deli, still has my taste buds craving for more.The city’s street art and statues brought a story to the city itself, giving me a perspective of Canada I didn’t have before. Even in the nightlife, I discovered an insanely fun side of Montreal in Igloofest and Nuit Blanche in Montreal en Lumiere. Go on as many events as you can, they definitely help fulfill any desire to experience something new in Montreal.
Even though this semester continues to draw to a close and the projects reach their deadlines, I can say that I won’t forget about my time here. Even though I feel satisfied that I successfully pretended to be a Canadian, I wish I had more time to explore a more historical part of the city, as well as its rustic, scenic area. The winter continues to dwindle away, and as all adventures do, this one is coming to an end.
– Abner Herrera, Game Programming Major, Official Blogger, Spring 2015