Dorval - 45° 25' 56" N 73° 49' 03" W

flash cards work well!
Our French is improving every day.  We are not quite chatting yet but are stumbling through some very useful sentences.  Mes sœurs sont rousses. Mon père est fou. and even Je n'ai pas envie de vin rouge parce que, j'ai la gueule de bois !

Despite the weather being bitterly cold earlier in the week,  we are loving Montréal. Bundled up, still in toques and gloves, we have been exploring the streets and neighbourhoods.  We are finding our waitstaff and our neighbours very patient when we explain that we are learning French and they humour our stumbling efforts.

As the week went on, the snow melted and spring started to arrive.  The grass is getting greener, the tennis court nets have been put up, the Bixi bikes are back and the grit is gradually being cleaned off the roads and paths.   And for the weekend, the temperatures soared allowing us to really get out and about.

We hiked to the top of Mont Royal quizzing each other on our verb conjugations and vocabulary.  Such joy to be out without the layers.  There were lots of families with little kids madly peddling on bright-coloured bikes, serious cyclists in bright-coloured lycra, runners, joggers and walkers. Every one out with big smiles on their faces.

the Atwater Marché
Today, we planned a cycling adventure.  Arriving at the Atwater Market at 10 am, we were pleased to find a mob of cheese shops, butchers and bakers.  A fresh baguette, some cheese and salami for lunch purchased, we headed to the bike rental shop to pick up our tandem.  Starting along the Lachine Canal, we loved riding by the old factories that are slowly being reclaimed as loft apartments, commercial and office space.  The whole area has been designated as a National Park and historic area, harking back to when Montréal was the second busiest port in North America (in the first half of the 20th century).  Rusty bridges, deteriorating concrete and big brick buildings make for a cool, post-industrial backdrop. 

As we rode past the locks, we loved seeing the tug pulleys and lock mechanisms.  There is some fabulous art installations along the canal too.  We rode as far as Dorval, passing some lovely homes facing onto the St. Lawrence River, then stopped for lunch at a park in Dorval.  Coming home, we rode along the Lachine Rapids, which confirmed to us why the Lachine Canal was built.  We were both impressed by the gumption of some surfers with 6 mil wetsuits, playing in some of the standing waves of the rapids.

A weekend in our shirtsleeves was just what we needed.

As it used to be in the 1920s
via the Montreal Museum of Archeology and History
The Lachine Canal now
we started noticing interesting public art
along the route
in English and French
cut into an iron sheet
surfing in single-digit water.  Crazy.
le moulin Fleming
a sound tube that connects to the empty grain
silos ACROSS THE CANAL and uses them
as an echo chamber. Make a noise, hear the result.
Trés cool.


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