By Ethan Moore
Photos by Eva Fahantidou & Ryan Hipgrave
Hey everyone, Ethan here! One of the main attractions of coming to Montreal is the allure of a new country and all the differences it brings. But of course, only seeing one city gives you a very tiny peek into what that country really is and how it differs from yours. To remedy this, the Montreal staff puts on two weekend excursions for students to take part in, which travel to two wildly different cities within Canada. The first is to Quebec City, the provincial capital of Quebec. The second is to the capital of Canada, Ottawa, where you get to explore the English side of the country, and investigate the breathtaking Parliament buildings. I went on both of these trips, and want to share information and tips on what you can do in your free time.
The first trip was Quebec City. This is the oldest city in Canada, and also one of the most French-speaking
you’ll find. The French heritage here is very prominent and at times you can feel like you are in Europe instead of North America. While the staff is always trying to find new and interesting things to do when visiting each city, I will give you a brief overview of what our schedule looked like for one of the nights. Arriving Friday evening, we went to our hostel and immediately dropped everything off. Once we were all settled, we were escorted to an Irish Pub where we had a wonderful meal. Afterwards, we went on this amazing ghost tour of the city, where we got behind the scenes access to many places you couldn’t normally visit. After the ghost tour, we were given free reign and let loose on the city. A good many of us went to go get some of the fabled beaver tails of Canada. Plenty of others went on an expedition of their own. These are only the activities of one night, and we had two more days still to go!
The second trip was to Ottawa. Ottawa in many ways feels less like a city more like a large town. The city is, for the most part, entirely English speaking, and it can feel a bit strange speaking only in English in Canada! There are some beautiful sites to take in, and foods. The hostel location is central to everything so you can easily explore the city and find many interesting things. Of course one of the most impressive things is the Parliamentary building where the presence of Canada’s history can be felt through the architecture and galleries. The depth of history within the building not only speaks for Ottawa, but Canada itself. One of the most telling experience was actually a comedy show we went to. You got a feeling for Ottawa being more of a local neighborhood instead a large city, on top of laughing until you are teary-eyed!
To anyone coming to the Montreal Campus, I highly recommend going on both trips. Each trip is $100 dollars for the weekend, though the staff is willing to work into finding other ways to pay for it (for Ottawa, if you took part in a photo shoot, it would only cost you $50 for the weekend). Not only do you get to take a break from your studies, but you get to explore two entirely new cities, each with their own unique feel and presence. After all, you are in study abroad for more than just the work!