Saturday, July 28, 2018 (Montreal South KOA, Montreal, Quebec)

We were at the office before 9:30 this morning waiting for the shuttle, along with a small group all heading for a day of sightseeing in Montreal.

A few minutes into our ride re-affirmed that there is no way we wanted to drive our truck into the city. The roads are terrible and there is so much road construction going on...and a new bridge being built over the St. Lawrence....
About a half hour later we arrived at the Grayline office downtown where we went inside to exchange our tickets for wristbands. After a quick restroom break, we were ready to climb aboard the 10:30 double-decker tour bus. When we were in Amsterdam and Paris in 2016 we found the Hop On Hop Off Bus tours were a great way to get the lay of the land, then we could decide what we wanted to spend more time exploring.
And we're off! We had a great tour guide on-board who spoke English well, was very knowledgeable and personable, making for a wonderful tour. We decided to stay on board for the complete 2 hour loop of the city.

Hotel Queen Elizabeth...
Many famous guests have stayed there, including Queen Elizabeth II (four times) and the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Prince Charles, Fidel Castro, who was the first head of state to visit the hotel, Charles de Gaulle, and Princess Grace of Monaco, during Expo '67, Indira Gandhi, Jacques Chirac, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Sadiq Raji, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Perry Como, Joan Crawford, John Travolta, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and George W. Bush.
The hotel reached worldwide fame when John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who had been refused entry into the United States, conducted their Bed-In in Room 1742 at the hotel between May 26 and June 2, 1969. "Give Peace a Chance" was recorded in this room on June 1 by André Perry. This song is the first solo single issued by Lennon, and became an anthem of the American anti-war movement during the 1970s. It peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the British singles chart.
The NHL Entry Draft was also held at the hotel ten times between 1963 and 1979. In 1970, the Quebec government moved its centre of operations into the Queen Elizabeth in the midst of the October Crisis.
China Town...above and below...



Old Montreal...

Alley wide enough for a horse and buggy...maybe even a Smart Car...



Notre-Dame Basilica...


Molson Brewery now Molson Coors is the oldest brewery in North America. Interesting history...

Gay Village above and below...apparently very popular...
The compact Gay Village has an upbeat vibe and a lively club scene. In summer, the main drag, Rue Sainte-Catherine, is pedestrian-only and strung with pink decorations, and bars and eateries spill onto terraces in the street. Rue Amherst is known for its boutiques and antiques shops. Nearby, the neoclassical Saint-Pierre-Apôtre Church contains the Chapel of Hope, dedicated to AIDS victims.
Our tour guide asked us what we thought this art statue looked like...LOL!
2018 Just For Laughs Comedy Festival...

Steve barely got this shot in time but this building was constructed so that you could look through it to view the church on the next street...
Modern Montreal...

Don't know what all the buildings are but thought some of the old architecture was interesting...

Le Chateau Apartments...Wow!

Check out the Gargoyles...
I'm sure you need a hefty bank account to live there...

Any fans out there of the late Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and novelist Leonard Cohen... very cool mural!
Approaching The Montreal Museum Of Fine Arts...
Glass Sun Sculpture at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts). Dale Chihuly, the artist, is originally from Tacoma Washington. The blown glass sculpture is stored indoors during cold seasons...

Totem Pole from British Columbia...

Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Canada with more than 55 km/34miles of lanes and over a million people interred...



We're now way up on Mount Royal with our first stop at Saint-Joseph's Oratory...
Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine on Mount Royal's Westmount Summit in Montreal, Quebec. It is Canada's largest church and claims to have one of the largest domes in the world.


On our way down Mount Royal we get a great view of Montreal...
Closeup of the Montreal Olympic Stadium built for the 1976 Summer Olympics. It's the largest stadium in Canada by seating capacity. The Montreal Tower is the worlds largest inclined tower at 175 metres (574 ft.)...

One of the many former missionaries and churches that have experienced a drop in attendance and became too expensive to operate...this one converted to condos...
Sir George-Etienne Cartier Monument topped by a winged Goddess of Liberty was one of the fathers of Canadian Confederation...
Armoury...
About 2 hours later, we were back from where we started...and it was time for lunch. When in Montreal, you must have a famous Montreal smoked meat sandwich, so on the recommendation of our tour guide, we walked down the block to Reuben's Deli on St. Catherine's Street.

After reviewing the menu, we decided to "go for the gusto" and split the Big Bang Sandwich...A towering ONE POUND smoked meat sandwich! Served on rye bread with mustard...with poutine as the side dish. Although it was delicious, it was just way too much meat! The rye bread ended up soggy and you had to eat it with a knife and fork. What were we thinking! When we were staying at Andrew and Sherry's farm, Andrew made us one and it was much better...maybe because it had less meat in it :)
By the time we had finished, there was a huge line up to get in the restaurant...whew, good timing on our part!

The bus route allows you to hop off, check out an area, and then hop back on, with a bus approximately every 15 minutes. However, it continues along the whole 2 hour route before getting back to the terminal. We wanted to get off and wander around Old Montreal but wouldn't have enough time this afternoon, so we decided to just jump on the bus and do the whole loop again. We will do our wandering around Old Town tomorrow.
Bishop Ignace Bourget Monument...
Ignace Bourget (October 30, 1799 – June 8, 1885) was a French-Canadian Roman Catholic priest who held the title of Bishop of Montreal from 1840 to 1876.


The Palais des congrès de Montréal: Convention and Exhibition Centre...





John F Kennedy Statue...apparently the Kennedy's visited Montreal often and Mrs K liked to shop...
Entrance to McGill University...
Established in 1821...
McGill counts among its alumni 12 Nobel laureates and 144 Rhodes Scholars, both the most in Canada, as well as five astronauts, three Canadian prime ministers, the incumbent Governor General of Canada, 14 justices of the Canadian Supreme Court, four foreign leaders, 28 foreign ambassadors, nine Academy Award (Oscars) winners, 11 Grammy Award winners, three Pulitzer Prize winners, and 28 Olympic medallists, all of varying nationalities. 
Throughout its long history, McGill alumni were instrumental in inventing or initially organizing football, basketball, and ice hockey. McGill University or its alumni also founded several major universities and colleges, including the Universities of British Columbia, Victoria, and Alberta, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Dawson College.
Captain Kirk (William Shatner) even went here as well as our current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.



After our second tour around the city, we still had over an hour before the shuttle back to the KOA. Hmmm...what shall we do?...find a pub, of course! A block away was McLean's Pub and a perfect spot to chill with a cold brew and re-hash our day!

The shuttle back to the KOA was scheduled to leave downtown at 6:30. It was late...we figured it would be there by 6:20 to load passengers and then leave at 6:30. Nope...it was about 6:45 when it finally showed up to find a bunch of tired, anxious folks ready to get home.

Steve took a couple of more pictures from the shuttle as we went across the St. Lawrence...

It was after 7:00 when we finally got home...a great first day touring Montreal! Looking forward to wandering around Old Montreal tomorrow!