Sunday, October 26, 2008

Montreal: the First Visit

Last Sunday my Hungarian flatmates, Andrea and Benjamin, and I went to Montreal for the day.  
Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world.  (Paris is number one.)  Samuel de Champlain founded the fur-trading post that eventually became Montreal in 1611.  It was a major French colony until 1760 when it was surrendered to the British.

Montreal was briefly captured by the Colonial Revolutionaries Who Would Shortly Become the United States in 1775 in the highly unsuccessful 1775 Invasion of Canada.  Good one Benedict Arnold.

The other day I was reading something written by a Canadian about the US.  The Canadian wrote something along the lines of, "Eventually Canada will be invaded: every nation gets invaded.  It's nice to be neighbors with the US.  We're friends: if we were invaded, they'd help us.  Unless they were the invaders.  They did invade us once before, but it didn't work out.  But as a Canadian, you have to wonder, why hasn't the US invaded Canada?  If they would benefit by invading Canada, they'd do it.  So the benefits of a free Canada must be greater than an invaded Canada."

As an American, I think one of the greatest benefits of Free Canada is that you always have someplace to threaten to run away to if the US makes you really mad.  A la 'I'm so sick of these taxes/politicians/green dollar bills, I'm freaking going to move to Canada!'

And back to the Topic of Montreal:
It was homecoming at McGill College.  McGill is one of the major Canadian universities and, despite being situated in the middle of Montreal, is a primarily English-language university.

Andrea and I decided to pretend that we were alumni.  It was so nice to be back on the campus where we had so many happy undergraduate memories.

A city campus with a strong divide between the city buildings and the trees and lawns of academia.

I'm so happy to be in Montreal on a beautiful day.  Even though I appear rather panicked in this photo.

Who doesn't love public art?  Benjamin has some help cleaning out his nose.

Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde.  Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.

Fun fact: I've noticed that all of the Canadian cathedrals are constructed mainly of wood.  The first yard of the structure of this cathedral is made of marble, but above that everything is wood which has been faux-finished to look like different types of marble or expensive tropical woods.  And the marble isn't solid, it looks like veneers.

I think it must have been much cheaper to build a wooden cathedral, give it some fancy paint, and put marble veneers on the first yard up the walls than to ship enough chunks of marble from where-ever in Europe to build the same structure.

This cathedral is a 1/4 scale copy of St. Peter's in Rome.  Baldachino and coffered ceiling included.

St.  Joseph.  Candles were really expensive here, so we'll just all have to settle for a photo.

Across from a park in the Downtown neighborhood.

I love these new red shoes.


Ynn said...

I love the red shoes too. I've already promised Gillian that I'll teach her to shop for shoes!

Anonymous said...

You really had a beautiful fall day to tour Montreal. We, on the other hand, had snow today.