By Mary Scheyder
With the summer drawing to a close (though neglecting to take with it the heat), we all begin to settle into our academic minds and schedules once more. Here, in the beautiful and exciting city of Montréal, 29 Champlainers got to just scratch the surface of all there is to see and experience through our orientation weekend.
Friday was simple enough; we moved into our rooms, chatted with suite mates, then met downstairs in the “Auberge” or “Hostel.” With a few introductions and an intense (paper)
snow ball fight, as a “getting to know each other” game, we settled in with some pizza and board games. One crew bravely fought off a zombie hoard, though I’m not sure just who made it out alive…
Moving on to Saturday, we started out with a brief walk to Champlain’s Academic center. After some breakfast bagels, hotly debated as the best in the world, we moved into Orientation Session II. Here we got an overview of campus policies. Next we walked down to the bustling Boulevard Saint-Laurent for a vast arra
y of cuisines to choose from for lunch. I got to practice a little French in ordering my very first Canadian Poutine. No offense Burlington, but nothing beats the real deal!
Next we met up for our team scavenger hunt. Having to find locations throughout the city, we quickly became acclimated to the metro system. We packed in and savoured the few moments to rest our aching feet as we zoomed from the Notre Dame Basilica to McGill to Chinatown and seemingly everywhere else in between. Teams raced around and, despite the aura of competitiveness, still stopped to assist each other in snapping a much needed picture, and occasionally, making a surprise appearance in the background…
Ultimately, we returned to the Residence exhausted but wholeheartedly proud of our new found skills at photography and of course, navigating the city’s public transportation! For dinner we met up at Weinstein & Gavino’s for delicious food and, to the relief of many, some gracious, English speaking servers.
For Sunday we met up again at the Academic Center for breakfast and a tour of the classrooms and labs. Then everyone got to show off their pictures and share in the adventures of the previous day. Teams “Stoop Squad” and “Kawaii Desu” tied in first and enjoyed the spoils of victory with bandannas, water bottles, and highlighter prizes. Next we walked down to the beautiful Parc Lafontaine for a sandwich lunch. Some students were even brave enough to track down the kid’s train for a ride! After the walk back, we got an overview of Montreal’s rich history and vibrant culture, ending with passionate statement from our Assistant Director that “there’s a whole city out there.”
We then ventured out to Mont Royal, where students either hiked up for a gorgeous view or stayed to walk and shop around town, where the streets were lined with vendors. Finally, the evening ended with a hilarious improvisation show at the Théâtre Sainte Catherine.
Now classes have begun and we’re starting to get a feel for the upcoming semester here in Montreal. Orientation opened our eyes to just how much there is to see and do in this amazing city, not all that far from our home in Burlington. Hopefully, before the flood of classwork monopolizes our attention, we can indulge in the fact that “There’s an entire city out there.” Here’s to our semester in a whole new home away from home. Let’s make the most of it!