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Old Posted May 1, 2017, 10:06 PM
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Montreal, je t'aime (+ Ottawa bonus)

In March, I went to Montreal, then took Via Rail to Toronto, transferring trains in Ottawa. Here are photos from Montreal & Ottawa. Toronto will come later.

The day we flew into Montreal, it snowed two feet. The next day, naturally, we bundled up and walked to the top of Mont-Royal.



Click for full-size version







This was my third trip to Montreal, but first in the winter. On previous trips, I never understood what the building at the top of the mountain was supposed to be for, or why it was called a "chalet."

Now I get it. Once you reach the top in winter, you reeeeallly want a warm room to cozy up in for awhile.





And who doesn't love squirrel architecture?




It's neat to have this kind of wildlife so close to downtown.




Speaking of downtown, let's head down the mountain and see it.

Slowly.














The neighborhoods to the north of Mont-Royal are Montreal's densest, and are a case study in great urbanism.

We started at Jean Talon Market, west beyond Mile End, and worked our way east towards the Saint Lawrence River.




























Near the river, the old city is one North America's most European-like places.












I don't exactly know what the story is with the White Tree of Gondor here, but it's pretty.




Elsewhere in the city, you get the feeling St Joseph's Oratory exists so Montreal can have a Sacré-Cœur equivalent.




RIP les Expos, long live the Nats!




Let's talk transportation. Montreal's per capita transit ridership rivals New York's, and in the summer it's arguably North America's best cycling city.

In the summer. In the winter, cycling is more challenging. The bikeshare network (North America's first major system) shuts down, and many of the bike lanes are impassible.

But imagine the summer.






The Metro carries over a million riders per day, more than any US city except New York. It's also a showcase in mid-century design. It looks dated and maybe ugly today, but at the time it was pretty revolutionary.














Bikes get a stair channel. Nice.




But don't bother looking for elevators. Most stations don't have them.




I appreciate the clear, platform-specific wayfinding.




Older railcars look like this inside:




But they've started to replace those with nice new trainsets.






The inside of the new railcars, like most new subways outside the United States, is one long interior hall. This increases capacity by about 10%, and allows riders to find the least crowded part of the train, and reduces platform crowding by letting people walk to the part of the train closest to their ultimate exit.




Montreal also has a commuter train network, called AMT. It carries about 80,000 passengers per day on 6 total lines, making it a relatively small part of the overall transit network. This was the only look I got:




The bus network is quite good, carrying about 1.4 million riders a day. Some of the bigger lines have bus lanes.










Gare Centrale, the intercity train station, is horrifically ugly from the outside, but looks OK on the inside, with its unusual combination of art deco and mid-century brutal architecture.




We took Via Rail (ie Canadian Amtrak) from Montreal to Toronto. The more expensive trains go directly between them, but for half the price you can switch trains in Ottawa. I'm cheap, so that's what we did.




Leaving Montreal we got some nice views. I spent the time teaching my baby to appreciate trains and cities.




Ottawa train station:




We had just enough time between trains to step outside and breathe the Ottawa air.

Bad news: The train station isn't downtown, so there's not much to see.

Good news: There is a stop on Ottawa's BRT system out front, so yay!






One of the BRT lines parallels the train tracks, so we got some decent views of it as the train pulled out.






And one sort of decentish skyline shot:




Here we are, disembarking at Toronto Union Station.




That's it! Watch for a Toronto thread!

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Last edited by Cirrus; May 2, 2017 at 2:33 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted May 1, 2017, 10:36 PM
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Thank you for the photos.

The fresh snow looks beautiful on the city.
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Old Posted May 2, 2017, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
We started at Jean Talon Market, west beyond Mile End, and worked our way east towards the Saint Lawrence River.
* North of Mile End, South towards the St Lawrence -> http://www.johomaps.com/na/canada/qu...montreal2.html

Nice photos!
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Old Posted May 2, 2017, 1:39 AM
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Can't believe they are building such many aparment buildings in downtown core. Another typical cityscape of North America city is being ruined after Vancouver and Toronto...and Calgary.
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Old Posted May 2, 2017, 1:56 AM
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Simply wonderful. Great photos of such a fascinating city

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy de la Sucre View Post
Can't believe they are building such many aparment buildings in downtown core. Another typical cityscape of North America city is being ruined after Vancouver and Toronto...and Calgary.
Awful in what way? Not only do building multifamily towers add life to the streets below, but it also eases housing pressure by responding to market demand. What exactly is awful?
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Old Posted May 2, 2017, 3:03 AM
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Nice pictures! It was like I was following around, too! Montreal certainly loves their brutal modernism.
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Old Posted May 2, 2017, 3:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy de la Sucre View Post
Can't believe they are building such many aparment buildings in downtown core. Another typical cityscape of North America city is being ruined after Vancouver and Toronto...and Calgary.
Not really, Majority of the buildings have a great street presence, many have retail/commercial, they integrate to their surroundings and they're to scale. Plus demand for living downtown has increased dramatically, in 2011 downtown population was 100K, in 2016 it's 120K.
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Old Posted May 3, 2017, 2:30 AM
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Great shots, loved your commentary on and pics of the public transit infrastructure.
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Old Posted May 3, 2017, 5:55 PM
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Such a beautiful city.
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Old Posted May 4, 2017, 1:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ue View Post
* North of Mile End, South towards the St Lawrence -> http://www.johomaps.com/na/canada/qu...montreal2.html

Nice photos!
I was thinking the same thing when I read the post. It may be somewhat in between...NW to SE but that's getting picky.
Great shots of the different areas and love the descriptions. Your starting point was not far from the Expos original ballpark (Jerry Park). I've never been up there, but someday....
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Old Posted May 4, 2017, 2:26 AM
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I can't even begin to think of the mess it would be if we ever got that much of snow here.
Their sidewalks are looking like those of a ski resort in the Alps.

Cirrus said.

I spent the time teaching my baby to appreciate trains and cities.

Excellent. Beware, little kids like this are growing up very fast. Nostalgic parents often complain about that.
I guess it's most essential to spend a lot of time to have them properly conditioned, in order to arouse their sense of curiosity and train their brains as soon as possible.
Your child is currently at the most hopeful age, so to say.
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Old Posted May 4, 2017, 2:54 AM
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Lovely photographic tribute to my hometown.
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Old Posted May 4, 2017, 8:34 PM
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Nice. I hope you took some of my advice in Toronto.
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Old Posted May 5, 2017, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Montreal certainly loves their brutal modernism.
Some of the subway stations are built on an absolutely massive scale. Montreal does concrete like no one else. I've always found it very grounding.
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Old Posted May 6, 2017, 2:51 PM
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Great pics and commentary, thanks for sharing!
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Old Posted May 8, 2017, 5:15 PM
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In Montreal direction ignores the compass. The river is always to the south, despite how it looks on a map. Olympic Stadium is east of downtown etc.
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Old Posted May 19, 2017, 10:30 PM
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Great shots, MTL is a treat. Looking forward to your Toronto set.

Cool to see you travelling with your baby. I'm going to be a pops soon and seeing that gives me some confidence we'll be able to start travelling again fairly soon after he's born.
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Old Posted Jun 29, 2017, 2:06 AM
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Only the cool cities have a bird cage district.

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Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 10:04 PM
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Nice photos and commentary! It's cool to see my city from a visitor's eyes. I always find it funny to see visitors confused by our "Montreal North"... There is no such thing as "going east to the river" in Montreal hehe! Another funny fact : Victoria bridge's northern approach is more south than the southern approach!

Also, the train station is the other building to the north (Montreal North that is!), slightly better :

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5007...7i13312!8i6656
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