Category Archives: Our Bloggers

Each semester two students are chosen to write blogs on a regular basis about their experiences in Montreal.

In The Streets

By Laura Reilly (EGPR ’18)

With the weather getting warmer and warmer, there is no valid excuse to stay indoors (that includes schoolwork, right?). Whether you’re just getting out of class or looking for something to do on the weekend, there are almost too many places to check out around the city. While Burlington might have Church St, we’ve got some streets of our own that are full of city life and things to do.

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I Swear I Made A Movie!

By Freeman Fletcher (FILM ’18)

If you’re a film major, you’ll know how daunting the task of making anything is. There’s equipment you have to wrangle, actors you have to coordinate, a crew you can’t argue with, a spectacularly under-considered shooting schedule; the list goes on. Did the lens always have that crack in the side? What do you mean the batteries aren’t charged? Are we sure that outlet can withstand those lights? Can we get that again but this time do it entirely different? You want to put the dolly where? We can’t wrap, we haven’t rolled yet! What a pleasure!

Now try it with four people in a country that only mostly speaks the same language. Welcome to semester abroad Montreal Film 2! “If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all!” [Nightmare On Elm Street reference -ed.]

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Gaming the City

By Laura Reilly (EGPR ’18)

Montreal is a huge gaming hub. What I mean by this is that Montreal is full of not only great game companies like Ubisoft or Compulsion, but Montreal is also home to some of the greatest gaming opportunities for either developers or those that just love playing video games. To name a few would be an understatement, so I’m here to name all of the different aspects of gaming culture here in Montreal!

  1. In the classroom

If you’re majoring in a division of the Game Studio, chances are your professors are developers themselves at different companies. For example, artists here learn VFX  from a developer at Behaviour, and two sections of Production ll learn from a producer and a gameplay programmer at Ubisoft! Since our professors are in the industry themselves, they have the firsthand experience of working in the industry to apply knowledge into the classroom. And if you’re lucky, they’ll invite recruiters to come and play your Production games! (Some are coming next week to see mine…help).

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A City on the Thaw

By Freeman Fletcher (FILM ’18)

Keanu Reeves, star of John Wick 2, shocked to find out that he is indeed Canadian. (Courtesy: dlisted.com)

The other night, I went to see John Wick: Chapter 2, the sequel to one of the better Hollywood action offerings of the last decade. The sequel is even better. My feelings towards the film aside, one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had at a movie theater unfurled before my eyes. There is a scene when the titular Wick (Keanu Reeves,  a native Canadian) is beset upon by a female assassin who moonlights as a street violinist. It’s a lot cooler in the movie.

What follows is a good, fun, neck-snappy brawl in a cool, colorful, stylish hallway; lots of back-lighting and changing LEDs. But you know what the best part is? I LIVE WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF IT. Yeah, the scene is SUPPOSED to be set in New York but it was shot in Montreal’s very own Place des Arts, a block away from where our student residence!

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City of Lights

By Laura Reilly (EGPR ’18)

It’s a great year to be studying abroad in Montréal! 2017 marks the city’s 375th anniversary, which means there are celebrations everywhere! Montreal en Lumiere is a two week long festival that takes place all over Montreal each year, from live performances to a 3.6 kilometer route of illuminated artwork starting from the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles. Montreal does an amazing job incorporating interactive art with the city, and the best part is that you can experience the celebration barely a block away from Champlain’s residences!

Some key facts about Montréal en Lumière, Nuit Blanche à Montréal:

  • Over 600 artists
  • 300 activities and shows
  • 13 countries represented
  • ~1,000 projectors
  • 2600 kg of cheese!!!!!

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Making the Most of MIGS

By Maina Chen (PWRT ’18)

A section of Ubisoft’s booth, featuring a VR glimpse into Watch Dogs 2.

For gamers coming up to Montreal in the Fall, one of the most talked about events other than the weekly game company visits, deals with prepping for the Montreal International Game Summit; classes are shuffled around and professors reschedule to accommodate. Titled MIGS for short, for three days in mid-November, MIGS is a gathering place for anyone interested in the game industry. With people appearing from Hibernum, EA, PlayStation VR, Microsoft, Playtika, Frima, Ubisoft, WB Games Montreal, Eidos Montreal, Ludia, and a bunch of indies; MIGS is open to those looking for future jobs.

In fact, they’re marketed not only to those already in the industry, but students like us who want to try stepping foot in that door. The price of the tickets is daunting, but with the Super Early Bird discounts, the price can be cut down 20 percent, and even more so for Student passes. I’ve had the pleasure of attending and have some words of advice to anyone looking forward to the 2017 edition.

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On Ice – Skating Mount Royal

By Laura Reilly (EGPR ’18)

Laura demonstrating her slightly-better-than-average skating abilities. (Photo: Silas Baker)

Back in Burlington, receiving Facebook invites for RA events as a Junior isn’t as exciting as they were in the first year of college. Admittedly, while making paper cranes in the common room with some friends is stress relieving, it isn’t exactly something you’d look forward to all week (or maybe it is, if you’re really devoted to paper cranes). In Montreal, those Facebook invites are something to get excited about. From the pub crawl during Orientation Weekend to traveling to the top of Mont Royal, the RA’s and staff here have got it down. In such a busy city with so much to do, how can you pass up any opportunity?

Last weekend our RA’s Matt, Haley, and Natalie brought us up to Mont Royal Park, where the group Les amis de la montagne (The Friends of the Mountain) offers any winter activity you can think of. From snowshoeing or cross country skiing to ice skating, rentals for equipment is affordable and the park is open all day!

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Chilly Romance in Montreal

By Freeman Fletcher (FILM ’18)

Old Montreal in the winter: still charming (Sammi Vashaw)

Last weekend, my girlfriend (yeah, you and me both) came up to visit Montreal for the first time. Given that I myself am experiencing this city with relatively fresh eyes, the prospect of designing a weekend filled with exploration, discovery, and romance was a daunting one. Thankfully, I had the city to help me out.

Montreal is vast and diverse. I’m talkin’ “Douglas Adams’ brain on hallucinogens” vast and diverse here. And it can get cold. I’m talkin’ “need a tauntaun’s stomach to survive the night” cold. At least, that’s the case in the winter. These are two speed bumps when it comes to wandering around a city (especially, as my shrink keeps trying to tell me, because apparently tauntauns “don’t exist”…).

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Dining in the Dark

By Laura Reilly (EGPR ’18)

Laura’s suitemates at O Noir before entering the culinary void (Laura Reilly)

Montreal is well known for its food culture and exotic restaurants. Over the weekend my suitemates and I decided to check out O Noir, a restaurant ten minutes away from the residences. What’s cool about O Noir is that the eating experience is completely in the dark where the wait staff are seeing impaired. If you’ve ever duct taped shut your eyes and tried to eat dinner, you’re almost halfway there!

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Discovering Montreal

By Freeman Fletcher (FILM ’18)

Spring 2017 students gathered in the Residence lobby during Orientation (Hannah Cartmel)

I entered Montreal on a bus, the most dystopian civilian transport this side of the people wagons from Planet of the Apes. I was nervous and it was raining. I was nervous because I hail from a small town in Maine and have never stayed in a city for longer than a couple days at a time on family vacations. It was raining because of global warming.

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