The one request Cousin Mel asked of us was to visit Quebec. Now, Quebec is huge so the closest city to Toronto is Montreal and that’s where we headed on the Easter long weekend on March 29th – 31st, 2013. We would have loved to have taken her all the way to Quebec City, and we had considered it at one point, but it was just too far of a drive. I’ve always thought Montreal is a city to be experienced. So, we tried to give cousin Mel a little taste of Montreal. Our first stop was the Olympic Park, the site where the 1976 Summer Olympics were held. There are a number of buildings and facilities in the area which include – the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Village, Biodome, Saputo Stadium, Botanical Garden. So lots to see and do if you decide to visit the area.
The uniqueness of the Olympic Stadium is the inclined tower which stands at 175 metres or 574 feet. It was designed by French architect Roger Taillibert. The stadium wasn’t completed in time for the Olympics due to a labour strike. It was finally completed in 1987. It is now used to hold special events, including Grey cup games hosted by Montreal Alouettes.
There’s a funicular that goes to the top of the tower which you can see below.
It was still cold when we went. As you can see, some of the ice around the base of the tower hasn’t melted.
Here’s an aerial view of the Big O and the surrounding Botanical Garden courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Can you see why it’s nicknamed the Big O? Because it’s shaped like a doughnut, with a retractable roof in the middle. It’s also been called “The Big Owe”.
I couldn’t resist including this night photo of the tower viewed from the back via Wikimedia Commons. It reminds me of a space ship or a frog. What do you see?
Biodôme de Montréal
The Montreal Biodome is situated right at the base of the stadium. It was part of the original structures built for the 1976 Olympic Games – a combined velodrome and judo facility. In 1992, it re-opened as the Montreal Biodome featuring an indoor nature exhibit. You’ll find four different ecosystems of the Americas inside – a South American rain forest, a North American Laurentian Forest, the St. Lawrence marine ecosystem and the Arctic and Antarctic environments.
The Saputo Stadium opened in 2008 and is the home of the Montreal Impact. It is a soccer stadium. It was built on the former track and field site of the 1976 Olympic Games.
And there you have it. I didn’t even cover all the other things you could do in this area alone (like the Insectarium which I would gladly skip). Might be worth a visit if you have kids.
On our first night, we had to take Cousin Mel to Schwartz’s Deli. You can’t visit Montreal, especially your first time there and not go to Schwartz’s Deli?! So, we braved the cold evening, waited in line to be seated in this tiny little deli on on St. Laurent Blvd. Believe me, it was worth it. Mouth watering and smack your lips delicious! Oh man, I just made myself hungry for a Schwartz’s sandwich!