Published on November 2, 2009 – If laughing politely to Cousin Harvey’s same old jokes while eating Aunt Thelma’s marshmallow-jello salad has become family Thanksgiving tradition, then why not fly the coop for a change and head up to Montréal? The leaves are a blaze of colour, our entertainment is top-notch and with Montréal’s gourmet offering, you’ll be more than happy to skip Aunt Thelma’s cooking this year.
What to do
There is so much to do in Montréal that you might find the long weekend to be not quite long enough! In addition to permanent attractions such as the Mount Royal Park, the Biodôme and nightlife opportunities galore (to name but a few), that weekend, the Canadiens battle the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre, so grab a jersey and experience Montréal hockey fever firsthand.
For a little culture, check out a new exhibit at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Canada’s premier contemporary art museum. A retrospective devoted to the career of home-grown Québécois artist, Francine Savard, is sure to please.
For a little night-time entertainment, enjoy a show at the Cabaret du Casino, or stroll into Old Montréal for the historical and cultural multimedia extravaganza, And then there was light, shown Tuesday to Saturday evenings at the Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica.
For a little historical adventure, take to the high seas alongside Pirates, Privateers and Freebooters aboard the fearsome Pointe-à-Corsaire, a life-size ship built inside the Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History.
Where to eat
To sample Montréal’s gourmet offering requires much more than a weekend, but for a whirlwind tour, there are a few key places to hit. Firstly, to satisfy your carnivorous side, savour delectable traditional fare at the Au Pied du Cochon bistro or stop at Schwartz’s for smoked meat. Then, breakfast in a quaint resto along Mont Royal Avenue followed by a culinary class at Ateliers et Saveurs, all the while watching horse-drawn carriages blithely clip-clop by the kitchen window as you learn the tricks of the trade. To wrap it all up in style, a drink at the glamorously urban-chic Koko Restaurant and Bar is definitely in order. And, as everyone knows, a trip to Montréal simply isn’t complete without a stop at Fairmount Bagels Bakery – at practically any hour of the day or night - but good luck trying to get them across the border: Montréal bagels are so tasty, they may not last that long!
Where to shop
Thanksgiving weekend is generally the kick-off to the Christmas season, so why not get a head start on your shopping this year? Be a superstar under the tree with exceptional items from the numerous quaint and eclectic boutiques on the Plateau or the Underground Pedestrian Network. All of this hard work naturally deserves a reward, so why not indulge in a fabulous recycled fur and silk creation from internationally-recognized Montréal designer, Harricana.
Try out Montréal this Thanksgiving; a little change from tradition might just create some new ones...