The number one lesson I learned from my recent summer trip to Montreal, Canada is that often, the most memorable things happen when you just get out and go! No planning, no extensive research, just take care of the essentials and let the rest happen naturally.
Lucky for us, Montreal turned out to be a great place to “wing it.” With places like Notre Dame Basilica, St. Joseph’s Oratory, the Botanical Gardens, Old Montreal, the underground malls, parks, plus all kinds of summer festivals, we weren’t without things to explore. But in the midst of all the sightseeing, people-watching, and countless Metro rides, there are a few memories that have stayed with me, even months after my return home.
So without further ado, here are my favorite—unplanned, yet awesome—moments from Montreal, Canada!
#1: Finding Laughter on the Way
Our trip happened to coincide with the hugely popular Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. We really wanted to catch one of the shows, but upon our arrival we found it difficult to locate a clear schedule of events. By day three I’d almost given up on it completely when, on our way to a museum we stumbled upon the theater box office for the festival. We were able to grab tickets to a show that same night, which (we were thrilled to discover) was hosted by Seth Meyers from SNL. We had just enough time to get back to the apartment, freshen up, and run back out to catch the show. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect—and the show was awesome!
#2: Caught in a Time Warp… Maybe?
On our first day in the city, we were exploring Old Montreal, when we started noticing an unusual amount of people milling around in distinctly 70’s attire. Opposite them, we saw 5 or 6 really intense-looking nuns, standing all in a straight line staring back at them! Naturally, I thought it was some kind of religious demonstration or possibly a themed party. But then we saw a sign saying “Filming in Progress” and a film crew. We eventually figured out we were witnessing the filming of the upcoming X-Men movie! We couldn’t get close enough to see any principal cast, but I was able to sneak a photo of me standing next to an awesome vintage Citroen from the set!
After that, we actually ran into the X-Men film crew a couple more times. It became a fun little “I spy” game for me, to see if I could spot the film crew each day.
#3: Best Breakfast Sandwich (and Coffee) Ever.
When we hit the streets of Montreal, Canada our first morning, I used Yelp to find nearby breakfast spots—breakfast is my absolute favorite meal, so this was a must—and we discovered this unassuming little place, tucked away in a narrow building. After talking for a few minutes with the owner who was incredibly friendly and informative, I ordered what I thought was a pretty basic sandwich: bacon, hard-boiled egg, sharp white cheese, lettuce, and tomato, all on a toasted croissant.
Friends, when I bit into this sandwich…it wasn’t just good…it was AMAZING. The open-faced croissant was flaky, soft, warm, and held everything together perfectly. Bacon? Crisp and delicious. Tomatoes? Fresh. The coffee was so frickin’ good and amazingly strong, I asked for a to-go cup so I could extend my bliss even further. Note, I’m a foodie—I love to cook and eat, but I don’t normally enjoy taking pictures of my food. For this meal, however, I made an exception!
Lesson? It’s Not (Always) the Destination, It’s the Journey!
I’ve had a great time reliving my favorite moments in Montreal. I want to thank Peanuts or Pretzels (aka Liz & Josh) for giving me the opportunity to contribute, because this has made me realize that while Montreal isn’t what I’d call a “bucket list” destination, it’s definitely worth a visit (or three)! With its breathtaking views, rich culture, and fascinating history, Montreal, Canada is a must-see.
Kim Morehead is a graphic designer, aspiring world traveler, and foodie. She lives in Orlando, just minutes away from where she works—a place known to many as the Happiest Place on Earth. In her spare time, Kim hangs out with her awesome dog Barney, cooks as much as she can, plans her next trip, and watches British TV shows on Netflix. Her favorite travel destination is Paris, which may be replaced with Mykonos when she goes to Greece later this year.