December 28, 2011

[Montreal] Bus Tour, Snow Storm, McGill University and the Underground World

Montreal, QC
Department of Tourism is a beautiful building.

The Department of Tourism building
Our day began with a nice bus tour. Since we did not have much time and we just arrived Montreal, we believed that joining a city tour would be the best way to enjoy the city.

At 9:15, we were picked up by a shuttle which took us to the Department of Tourism of Montreal. We then transferred to a huge tour bus that would take us around the city.

The tourism building also hosts tourists information kiosk and the coach terminal counter. In the lobby you could find various types of maps of Montreal, available in both French and English. In front of the building there was a huge park; around it were lively streets with many shops and restaurants. Among the restaurants there was a place called "iBurger" where we spent our lunch time in.

In front of the Department of Tourism

The park in front of the building

So, a few minutes after we went onto the bus, the driver gave us a brief introduction about Montreal. The bus driver was fun, but for some reason I kept falling asleep listening to him speak.

Huge and gorgeous church (front part)
Our first stop was the Baslique Notre-Dame de Montreal. It was a not-so-huge church, yet it was one of the most gorgeous buildings I've ever seen. According to the bus driver, the church's exterior part took only 5 years to construct yet 40 years for the interior to be completed.

The church was consisted of two parts. The front part was truly amazing; the fact that it took them 40 years to build was not exaggerating at all.

Second part of the church, where Celine Dion's wedding was held
Every single detail was crafted to the best size and then fitted into the most suitable dimension; the appropriate choice of materials also helped in promoting the beauty of the inside.

Lighting of the interior probably was not designed immediately after construction, yet the current arrangement definitely signified the solemness of the church.

Walking to the back, we entered the second part of the building. The second part was smaller than the front part, yet it exhibited its own beauty in a different way.

As a side note, Celine Dion had her wedding held in this part of the church.

The bus tour also included stops at Olympics Stadium (which was not something worth talking about) and Mount Royal. However, by the time we arrived at Mount Royal, the snow became extremely large. Because of the steep hill and winding road, the driver decided to skip the location for safety reasons.

Montreal, QC
Snow Storm
Snow in Montreal was something that could kill unprepared tourists.

iBurger (notice the crazy snow)
We returned to the Department of Tourism at around 13:00. We waited in the lobby because we wanted to get a map for the city's underground world, then we headed towards a restaurant called iBurger right across from the building.

iBurger was an interesting place. The restaurant serves burgers (obviously). It sounds pretty normal, yet what's cool was the equipments inside.

The place seemed to be operated by only two waiter and a chief. The cool thing about the restaurant was that, all the ordering processes were supported by their table-top interface integrated to each dining table.

The interface was nicely designed (except that it was a bit unresponsive). It was simple and clean, and the pictures of the food were positioned nicely with description dialogues which provided a very comfortable viewing experience.

Montreal, QC
Snow Storm
Ancient looking buildings, a campus embedded into the beautiful city.

Our next stop was McGill University.

This university was the only one (out of five) university that requested my TOEFL mark when I applied to post-secondary schools during high school. Other universities all waived the TOEFL requirement. Therefore, I rejected McGill (LOL).

Anyhow, it somehow reminded me about the University of Toronto. U of T is an old university located in downtown Toronto, the largest city in Canada. The McGill University is also located in downtown area, but in the second largest city of the country. Both universities some of the bests of Canada, and each has its own strengths.

McGill University is probably smaller than U of T, but in atmosphere they share some similarities. Parts of both are presented with ancient designs, including the castle-style campus and large open ground.

McGill University Campus

Montreal, QC
Snow Storm
Underground world of Montreal reminds me of Taipei's Underground Shopping Street.

Since it was really freezing, we decided to go to Montreal's underground city directly.

Compared to the above-ground world, underground world of the city was relatively lively and busy. There were many stores and some restaurants. This reminded me about the underground shopping street in my hometown, Taipei.

These underground sections might be built for different purpose (for Montreal it was due to the weather condition and for Taipei it was due to the lack of space), yet I believe most people use them for the same reason - weather. People in Montreal use it for avoiding freezing winter climate while people in Taipei mostly use it to avoid burning summer temperature.

The day ends here. It was a crazy day, but we saw a lot in this extreme climate; minus thirty four degrees Celsius was some cool experience to have, and we definitely want to try it again.

Don't forget to look at the bonus content for some of the beautiful night views around Montreal city! Oh, and our nice smoked meat dinner =P

Bonus Contents:


  1. ahhhh love the church! you took the pic with your phone?!

    1. Nope, only the first day's pics were taken with my phone :P
      but yeh the church was awesomely beautiful ><

  2. ok cuz if it was i'd be really amazed by your phone :O