Monday, February 16

Montreal: Habs + Shopping = Fabulous Family Trip

I am so thankful for the wonderful Family Day weekend we just enjoyed. We planned a trip to Montreal with my parents and my brother's family, and it went off without a hitch! The highlights:

  • We hit the road directly from school on Friday, grabbing a fast-food dinner along the way, and arriving at our hotel, Square Phillips, around 9 pm. We unpacked and settled into our little suite, complete with kitchenette and pullout couch for the girls.

  • Saturday morning was so cool - after the free continental breakfast at the hotel, we went out to Brossard (about 15 minutes away) and watched the Montreal Canadiens' practice. Dad had been before, but we weren't sure if the team would be skating on a game day. Thankfully Montreal Gazette columnist Dave Stubbs was kind enough to give me the details for that day's practice, so we arrived right on time to get prime spots in the viewing area. It gave me a great chance to try out my new stalker DSLR camera, and I got some awesome shots. 


First on the ice: Max Pacioretty



The team warms up



While the girls were disappointed that PK Subban wasn't out that morning, 
we got lots of shots of another favourite player, goaltender Carey Price:








If only I had remembered my Media Pass...
(we were right outside this door, so the view wouldn't have been any different!)




Full disclosure: Maggie was SO ready to go by the time the hour-long practice wrapped up, 
but she's always quick to turn on the high-wattage smile for the camera!






  • After the practice, it was time for a trip down memory lane. Montreal was a very common destination for our childhood trips (Dad being a lifelong Habs fan and all) and my brother and I have fond memories of our usual dinner spot: The Barb-B Barn! While it's not upscale, the food is cheap and delicious, and the downtown location is very convenient. It's a fun family joint, and it was neat to share it with our spouses and children. (Even nicer that Mom and Dad picked up the bill. Thanks for that!)





  • No trip to Montreal would be complete without a little bit of shopping. My dilemma, however, was the record-breaking cold. I bundled up and braved the three whole blocks that it took before I could get into one mall and then continue underground. My main destination was Simons, because I had so much luck there on last year's trip. I am very pleased to say that I made it through the entire transaction without the salesperson switching over to English on me. To be fair, I only said "Bonjour", "Visa" and "Merci", but still, I must have sounded like a native on those three words!




  • The main event of the weekend was our trip to the Bell Centre Saturday night to watch the Habs take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. While we did take Frannie last year, this time around we decided to leave both girls with their Grandma, aunt, and two younger cousins back at the hotel (they were fine to swim, eat treats, and enjoy the new books/activities Grandma had purchased for them that afternoon at Indigo!) I believe I mentioned the brutal cold (my sister-in-law tried to be encouraging: "It's warmed up! It's only -22 now") but we walked as fast as my seven year old nephew could go (which was pretty quickly!) It was a close game, if fairly uneventful, but it was fun to see overtime and a shootout, from which our Habs emerged victorious (you can see them celebrating below; sorry no fancy camera here, just my BlackBerry!)




While Montreal is one of my favourite cities at any time of year, I'd really like to take the kids back when it's warmer to get more out of the shopping, history, and family destinations (amusement park, zoo, science centre, museums, etc.). Perhaps you can look forward to a great travel story this summer!


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