Instead of staying home eating turkey, Dave and I visited Montréal this Thanksgiving. This is the first time for me to visit this French speaking city, and I quite like it.
Old Montréal is filled with European style architecture. Doing nothing but walking up and down the streets is quite an enjoyment by itself, let alone there are many beautiful churches to see on the way.
1. Montréal City Hall.
2. St. Patrick's Basilica. Its 80 feet long single pine pillars are absolutely stunning.
3. Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral.
4. Saint Joseph's Oratory. Near Mount Royal, the biggest church I have ever seen.
5. Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal. The most beautiful church I have seen on this trip. Also the only church that charged for admission, $4 for regular tour, $10 for the "light show" at night. It was not really a light show, but more of a "movie" reenactment of the history of the church. At the end of the "movie", the lights around the altar were turned on, (which was really beautiful), but the whole church was still barely lit, making it impossible to take any good picture. Besides, there was not enough time after the movie to look around the church, we were only given 15 minutes to take pictures before the church closed. If I knew this, I would take the day tour for sure.
We also went to Mount Royal and toured the Olympic Stadium. I knew the 1976 Montréal Olympics was a financial disaster, but didn't know the detail until this time. According to the tour guide, the stadium did not have a roof and its leaning tower was only halfway built when Montréal hosted the Olympics. It took them 11 years to finish it after the Olympics. The retractable roof didn't work as desired, and the tower had to be redesigned, changing from concrete to steel since the original design would be too heavy. In 1992, the roof was replaced with a permanent roof. In 1999, a portion of the second roof collapsed, dumping ice and snow on workers setting up for the annual Montréal Auto Show ...... 30 years after the Olympics, the stadium is finally paid off, but the government still has to subsidize 47 million dollars a year to keep it running. What a disaster! I felt so bad for the stadium and the city of Montréal that I even forgave them for charging me $12 for the stadium parking.
6. Olympic Stadium from Mount Royal.
7. Stadium tower.
To make the trip extra memorable, there was a surprise on the day we were leaving: the hotel's fire alarm went off at 4:50 am! We were on 11th floor, so I was reluctant to get up and walk all the way down by stairs, hoping this was a false alarm and someone would turn it off soon. Dave didn't believe that was the case, he hurried me out of the door. When we reached the lobby, we saw the elevator shaft was flooded with water still coming down. (Later that day we learned from hotel staff that someone sabotaged a fire sprinkler on the 3rd floor, causing the fire alarm to go off.) The fire fighters came and left. We waited and waited in the lobby. Finally we were allowed to go back, but the elevator was deemed unsafe to use, so we had to climb all the way back by stairs!!! Dave was not happy, he said I knew there must be some reason why this hotel was cheap. (I found the hotel on Expedia for $95/night, a bargain consider its convenient location, clean and spacious room with full kitchen.) He didn't mean it. We still love the hotel, except the climbing stairs part. :)