I Backpack Canada » Quebec http://ibackpackcanada.com A backpackers travel guide to Canada Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:17:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Check out these Canadian Backpacker Tour Companieshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-backpacker-tour-companies/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 03:47:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=4480 There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian […]

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There are many different types of travellers. From long term travellers, to weekend warriors, finding something that will suit you is crucial to getting the most bang for your buck. If you’re short on time, but want to pack in as much adventure, sights, and memories into a week or two, then these three Canadian backpacker tour companies are definitely worth checking out.

Moose Travel Network Backpacker Tours

moose-travel-network backpacker toursI’m going to start with Moose Travel Network, because they’re the only one I’ve had a chance to experience. Their staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgable. When you book a tour with them, you can pick from several routes, allowing you to see a variety of regions throughout BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. You’ve got a ton of flexibility as well, as they allow you to setup hop on and hop off style itineraries. If you decide mid way through your trip that you want to explore Banff a little while longer, it’s just a matter of letting your driver know, and then you take care of your hostels and you’re set. When you’re ready to pick up where you left off, just inform Moose Travel Network and you can hop back on the tour.

Their drivers ensure that they break up the drives between destinations with fascinating stops at stunning panoramic views, random trips and excursions, and some of the best food and drink joints along the way. Good music, laughs, and company are easily found on their trips.

Check out my interview with a Moose Travel Network Guide.

Read my experiences in the Rocky Mountains with Moose Travel Network.

Salty Bear Adventure Travel Tours

Salty-Bear-tours canadaSalty Bear Adventure Travel was started by a local Nova Scotian backpacker who was keen on showing off the maritimes to people from across the world. Salty Bear hires local Canadian drivers with a passion for their locale, ensuring you’ll know that what you’re seeing and experiencing authentically Canadian. Salty Bear is similar to Moose Travel, as they do drop offs at hostels, but will accomodate anyone if you’re staying elsewhere. They also supply tours along the way, ensuring that you get to experience the best tours along the way.

West Trek Tours

West trek tours backpackerWest Trek provides high quality adventure tours to backpackers both young and old, interested in seeing and experiencing the best of Canada. Explore the Rocky Mountains, mountain bike in Whistler, Surf in Tofino, Explore Victoria, Vancouver, and even parts of USA. Their award winning tour company is rated highly by visitors across the world.

Am I missing any other awesome Canadian Backpacker Tour companies? Don’t hesitate to share below in the comments.

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Daybi talks Rap, Arts, & Culture on the Kahnawake Mohawk Reservehttp://ibackpackcanada.com/daybi-rap-arts-kahnawake-mohawk-reserve/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/daybi-rap-arts-kahnawake-mohawk-reserve/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:54:12 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=7018 I was away in British Columbia for the last 5 days enjoying some snowboarding, which unfortunately pushed my Sunday Canadian Travel Video back by a day. This week’s video features Daybi, one of Canada’s well known rap artists. Montreal film director Mathieu Favreau’s most recent video on Canadian rapper and media artist Daybi is a tribute […]

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I was away in British Columbia for the last 5 days enjoying some snowboarding, which unfortunately pushed my Sunday Canadian Travel Video back by a day. This week’s video features Daybi, one of Canada’s well known rap artists.

Montreal film director Mathieu Favreau’s most recent video on Canadian rapper and media artist Daybi is a tribute to the artist and his community. Currently residing with his son on the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve on the outskirts of Montreal, Daybi grew up in Vancouver and Winnipeg, where he began rapping at an early age before living in New York and Los Angeles. His music has brought him to connect with a number of American and Canadian artists such as Moka Only, Aceyalone, and the Freestyle Fellowship.

I love using these weekly video shares to cover unique communities, cultures, and people, and I think this short kind of nails them all. The cinematography that Mathie Favreau captures is unreal, and you really get a sense of Daybi’s passion for music, his family, and the thriving rap scene in Kahnawake Mohawk Reserve and Montreal. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This video was brought to you by the Rap loving Canadian Sandwich Artists at Subway Sandwiches.

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Home from Mathieu Favreau on Vimeo.

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6 Best Casinos In Canadahttp://ibackpackcanada.com/6-best-casinos-in-canada/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/6-best-casinos-in-canada/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 00:16:20 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6933 As a travel destination, Canada is known primarily for its awesome blend of natural beauty and wonderful cities. But for those looking for specific means of entertainment, the country also offers a number of great casino experiences every bit as enjoyable as those in U.S. destinations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. If betting on black, […]

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As a travel destination, Canada is known primarily for its awesome blend of natural beauty and wonderful cities. But for those looking for specific means of entertainment, the country also offers a number of great casino experiences every bit as enjoyable as those in U.S. destinations like Las Vegas or Atlantic City. If betting on black, or chasing that royal flush is up your alley, here are six of Canada’s best casinos to check out.

jade-room

River Rock Casino Resort

Where It Is: Richmond, British Columbia

Why It’s One Of The Best: The River Rock Casino Resort offers all of the traditional perks of a top-notch casino destination. There are endless gaming options, luxury accommodations, and great restaurants on site, including the Sea Harbour that boasts its own demonstration of Richmond’s status as the “Asian food capital of North America.” But it’s the setting that gives the River Rock an edge. Situated on the Fraser River, it’s a stunning destination that looks equal parts ski lodge and casino resort.

dawson-city-diamond-tooth-gerties-gambling

Casino Niagara

Where It Is: Niagara Falls, Ontario

Why It’s One Of The Best: Like the River Rock Casino, Casino Niagara excels due to the natural beauty of its surroundings. Located a block away from the picturesque Rainbow Bridge near Niagara Falls, the casino naturally draws tourists who are already in the area to see the landmarks. As a result, it tends to have a particularly lively crowd.

Caesars-Windsor-Art-5

Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino

Where It Is: Windsor, Ontario

Why It’s One Of The Best: Like the Casino Niagara, the Caesars Windsor benefits from close proximity to the U.S., in this case drawing on tourism from Detroit, Mich. Beyond that, it’s a reliable destination in that the Caesars Entertainment group tends to be at the forefront of advances in gaming. The company has a firm hold on many of North America’s top casinos, and even partnered with the Betfair Casino to work toward bringing the online gaming industry into parts of the U.S. This sort of progressive ownership tends to keep the Windsor, and Caesars’ other locations, updated with the best in gaming and entertainment.

Casino-Montreal

Casino de Montréal

Where It Is: Montréal, Quebec

Why It’s One Of The Best: Casino de Montréal may offer the grandest casino tourism destination in all of Canada. According to USA Today’s own countdown of some of Canada’s finest casinos, Casino de Montréal is one of the largest casinos on the planet. It is home to over 3,000 slot machines, 100 gaming tables, and its own street outside the venue. Combine all of that with the fact that Montréal itself is considered by many to be the most fascinating Canadian city for tourists, and this is a must-see casino for travellers.

casino-nova-scotia

Casino Nova Scotia

Where It Is: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Why It’s One Of The Best: It’s somewhat off the beaten path for a major casino, but its gorgeous location right on the Atlantic makes it well worth a visit. As you’ll find reading through Trip Advisor’s reviews on the casino, it’s not the biggest gambling experience in Canada, but many visitors appreciate the cosier and friendlier quality of the casino. If you’re looking to visit a smaller or even somewhat-quaint casino in Canada, Casino Nova Scotia is definitely one to consider.

casino-cree

Photo by Rishad Daroowala – CC Licensed via Flickr

River Cree Casino Resort

Where It Is: Enoch, Alberta

Why It’s One Of The Best: While technically in Enoch, this is essentially the main casino for the Edmonton area, which makes it an exciting venue. There are lots of gaming options and there’s generally a strong crowd of visitors and gamers. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the River Cree, though, is that it offers a glimpse of Canada’s hockey enthusiasm for foreign travellers. The venue includes full-sized hockey facilities, and many fans hope to see Edmonton Oilers players from time to time.

Where to find these casinos in Canada?

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My favourite Canadian Architectural Wondershttp://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-architectural-wonders/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/canadian-architectural-wonders/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 16:03:37 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=6798 Canada is known by most to be scenic view after view of wild and rugged nature. Surprisingly enough though, this nation is also home to some incredibly designed buildings. A couple of which were even included in the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, a list started by The American Society of Civil Engineers. I’ve always had a strange […]

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Canada is known by most to be scenic view after view of wild and rugged nature. Surprisingly enough though, this nation is also home to some incredibly designed buildings. A couple of which were even included in the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, a list started by The American Society of Civil Engineers. I’ve always had a strange fascination with awe-inspiring buildings, perhaps from that one drafting class I nearly failed in High School. Either way, when I’m on the road, I love making an extra special effort to check out buildings. These are my current four favourites that I came across during my last cross Canada road trip.

banff-springs-hotel

Banff Springs Hotel

Starting in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta is one of the most iconic hotels in Canada and has stood proudly as a destination of the highest quality for over 100 years. Designed by Bruce Price in a Scottish Baronial style, the resort has over 750 guest rooms, yet still manages to offer an incomparable peace surrounded by the mountains and woodland. Built between 1887 and 1888, it became one of Canada’s grand railway hotels and at one point was even the tallest building in Canada.

cn-tower-city-view

CN Tower

Of course that’s now eclipsed by the magnificent CN Tower, standing over 1,800 feet high and overlooking the country’s largest city – Toronto.

The tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, it was completed in 1976 and to this day still holds a number of records including the world’s highest bar, largest revolving restaurant, longest metal staircase with 2,579 steps, and that’s not to mention being able to walk along the edge of itIt’s a truly spectacular building and is one of the most iconic buildings in Canada.

casino-montreal

Casino de Montreal

Shifting our focus down a thousand feet or so is the Montreal Casino, the largest casino in the country and one of the most interesting pieces of architecture in Montreal.

Opening in 1993, it consists of three interconnected buildings and is famed by its unconventional features which include low ceilings and even windows. The casino itself has never been more popular with gaming hitting new heights in the country both online on the likes of Canadian Royal Vegas games, and on the casino floors of this incredible building. Situated on the banks of the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, the casino also has an even more interesting feature, in the fact it’s surrounded by the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve – home of the Canadian Grand Prix.

chateau-frontenac

Chateau Frontenac

Another of Canada’s magnificent hotels, the Chateau Frontenac has been welcoming visitors to Quebec City since 1893, and is another of Bruce Price’s grand railway hotels.

Overlooking the Saint Lawrence River, this uniquely designed hotel has been the favoured stay of the likes of Sir Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and many other popular figures throughout history. The building’s Chateauesque architecture cuts a very imposing figure in Quebec’s skyline with its tall chimneys and steeply pitched roofs.

It’s both ideal for a look or a stay if you’re planning a visit one of the oldest cities in North America.

Have you visited any of these buildings? Can you think of other awesome buildings throughout Canada? Comment below and let me know!

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5 Jaw Dropping Canadian RV Road Tripshttp://ibackpackcanada.com/5-jaw-dropping-canadian-rv-road-trips/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/5-jaw-dropping-canadian-rv-road-trips/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:57:25 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5804 Canada is a mecca of jaw-dropping road trips, from east to west, to way up north, there’s something for everyone. Given an appropriate amount of time, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself on the highways of this large nation. Unfortunately, many of us are limited to a couple of weeks off per year, and every […]

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Canada is a mecca of jaw-dropping road trips, from east to west, to way up north, there’s something for everyone. Given an appropriate amount of time, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself on the highways of this large nation. Unfortunately, many of us are limited to a couple of weeks off per year, and every day counts. Covering an entire country is not for the time-constrained, so in an effort to help point you in the right direction, I’m going to share some of my favourite Canadian Road Trips, perfect for RVer’s or anyone with a set of wheels.

Winnibego - J-Jay - RV motor home road trip

Big J-Jay The Motorhome – Photo by Trent Fraser

My RV Motor Home Experience

I have a long standing love affair with RV Road Trips. My first taste of extended travel occurred at a young age. I would have been around 8 or 9, maybe 10 (those early years all blur together unfortunately). My Dad surprised my Mom and us kids by bringing home a 1972 Winnibego Motor Home. Straight out of the Griswolds Family Vacation (Remember Cousin Eddie’s Motorhome?), or the early meth-cooking episodes of Breaking Bad. We jokingly called it a box on wheels. It was an absolute eyesore, and I’m sure our neighbours were none too pleased when he pulled it into our driveway. My mom, laughing, shook her head in disbelief, and I recall my siblings and I climbing into the RV and running around the interior, crawling into the brown faux-leather lined top bunk, jumping on dual-purpose furniture, and admiring the 1970’s yellow shag carpet found throughout the interior.

During the first 5 years of ownership, it became a tradition to spend a few weeks on the road throughout the summer. Be it camping, exploring the Rockies in Alberta and BC, or heading south to the Black Hills of South Dakota. We grew up with that motor home, and it grew old with us. Those Motor Home trips are likely what caused my love affair with extended travel, history, and run down beat-up vehicles.

Road Trip #1 – The Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

nova scotia shore

My first visit to Nova Scotia included a superb trip on one of Canada’s most famous Road Trips. The Cabot Trail is located in Northern Victoria County & Inverness County on Cape Breton Island. While not necessarily an Island (it is connected to Nova Scotia after all), you’ll be hard pressed to believe it, as the highway follows the coastal hills and cliffs of the Cape Breton Highlands with a near constant view of the Gulf of St Lawrence.

The Cabot Trail measures 298km (185 miles) and loops around the tip of the the island, passing through Baddeck, St. Anns, Ingonish, Chéticamp, Dingwall, and the world famous Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Expect to see a tremendous amount of wildlife, some world class panoramic views, and some traditional maritimes towns. Note that from Halifax, a route to and from the Cabot Trail will be closer to 935km as seen in the map below.

Recommended amount of days to spend in the area: 3 – 4 days

Cabot Trail Road Trip Map

Road Trip #2 – Coast Cariboo Circle Route, Vancouver/Vancouver Island BC

bc road trip

The Coast Cariboo Circle Route is a whopping 2110.86 km (1311.63 miles) Road Trip is sure to keep you busy and experiencing all that BC has to offer. This stunning adventure takes you from Vancouver through small coastal Vancouver Island villages, exploring the remains of the Gold Rush Trail, hiking on volcanic mountains, and experiencing some of the best beaches in Canada.

This route is guaranteed to provide you with ample photo opportunities of wildlife, amazing sunsets, and really provide you with a thorough understanding of why BC folks are so laid back.

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 7 – 10 days

Coast Cariboo Circle Route Road Trip Map

Road Trip #3 – Southern Saskatchewan Discovery Loop

Sask Road Trip

The flatlands are often overlooked as your typical Road Trip destination. People immediately think of flatlands and think boring. But spend any more than a few hours off the trans Canada and you’ll soon realize why it’s on this list. Explore rural Saskatchewan towns, quaint cafés and hotel bars, scenic panoramas of valleys, miles upon miles of flax, canola, wheat, and barley, and discover what western Canada really looked like before agriculture dominated the land.

The Southern Saskatchewan Discovery Loop is 1,659km (1,030.85 miles) of driving. This route is a bit of a DIY route that I regularly share to friends, family, and curious Saskatchewan visitors.

From Regina head south to the Big Muddy Badlands. This scenic transition from flatlands, to rolling hills, to desolate badlands shows you the stark contrast of Southern Saskatchewans topography. Climb Castle Butte (vaguely similar to Uluru of Australia), a world famous landmark carved by ice ages thousands of years ago. Sid Cassidy and the Sundance Kid once roamed these parts, relive it by riding horses at one of the ranches in the area. Continue on to the Val Marie & the Grasslands National Park, home to a wild herd of Bison, and countless other critters, both large and small. Don’t forget to camp out at Grasslands National Park under the Milky Way and shooting stars at one of Saskatchewans best kept secret dark sky preserves. Wake up slow and find work up a thirst, then stop for a beer and a burger at the Cadillac Hotel and catch some live country music.

Continue on to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and partake in Ziplining, hiking, or relaxing at the lake. Head north to Leader, and explore the Great Sand Dunes of Saskatchewan, a tremendous and curious sight to see amongst all the farmland. Start your trip back to Regina, but be sure to stop at Moose Jaw to explore the historic downtown, cheese it up at the Moose Jaw Tunnels, and don’t forget to stop at Bobby’s Place, my favourite Moose Jaw pub. Make the final trip back to Regina and pat yourself on the back for seeing more of Saskatchewan than most locals ever get to see!

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 4 – 5 days

Southern Saskatchewan Discovery Loop Road Trip Map

Road Trip #4 – St Johns to Central Newfoundland

central-newfoundland-panorama-2

I had the pleasure of exploring Central Newfoundland with Candice of Candice Does The World, and Riley of Riles for Miles. It was one of the most memorable road trips I’ve had out East. I will never forget how many times I said “Wow” during our five day trip. It was this road trip that led me to not only fall in love with this province, but also admit to falling in love with Riley – we’ve been together since and recently got engaged.

This trip is approximately 1,401km (870.54 miles) in total, and lets you experience world famous icebergs, small fishing villages, cod kissing kitchen parties, delightful Newfoundland dishes like Lobster Chowder, or more curious (but equally delicious) dishes such as Cod Tongues and Fish and brews. You’ve probably seen those famous Newfoundland commercials at the movie theatres and on TV. Central Newfoundland is featured several times throughout those spots, and you’ll see why as you explore the area.

From St Johns, travel to Twillingate to explore the small Maritime town made famous by countless folk songs. Get your stomping feet and kissing lips ready for a good ol’ fashion Kitchen Party and Screechin’ In at the Anchor Inn Hotel & Suites then sleep off the hangover and revel in the laughs from the night prior.  Sample wine at Auk Island Winery, and find out why the Wine Connoisseurs are taking notice on Newfoundlands exports. Get your sea legs on, and begin ferry hopping from Farewell, Newfoundland. Stay in quaint bed & breakfasts on Fogo Island, and check out the growing arts scene,but whatever you do, don’t forget some of the most breathtaking hiking trails, including BrimStone Head, one of the four corners of the world according to the Flat Earth Society. Nurse your sore legs and body on the way home to St Johns and revel in seeing some of the most unique and traditional Newfoundland sights.

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 5 – 7 days

St Johns to Central Newfoundland Road trip Map

Road Trip #5 – Calgary, Banff and Jasper Trip

banff jasper road trip

While easily one of the most popular road trips in Canada, you’ll soon realize it’s popular for a reason. The Calgary-Banff-Jasper trip covers just about everything you could want from an Alberta road trip. Wildlife, blue shale lakes, a mountain backdrop, world class hiking, and some of the best sights in Western Canada.

This ~953km (592.16 miles) road trip can be built upon to create anything form a 3 – 7 day road trip, depending on how many stops you make and how busy the season is. Something to be very wary of is that in the busy summer months, tour buses and RV Holiday Tourists can slow down highway travel, and the dreaded bear-traffic-jams are all but too frequent. But despite the crazy busyness, once you’re off the highways and have found your own solitary place amongst the mountains, it’ll be all too easy to forgot the chaos that can sometimes be seen on the roads. This region is setup great for extended travel. Both Jasper and Banff have something unique to offer. Either or can be a great temporary headquarters to branch out and explore the Rockies. Calgary is a great place to stop and pickup an RV Rental if you want a bit more room for this trip. There are countless RV Parks and Camp sites setup for RV Vacationiers and tent campers, as well as several discount hostels, budget hotels, and enough high-end hotels to keep all types of travellers happy.

Recommended amount of days to spend on the road: 3 – 7 days

Calgary, Banff and Jasper Road Trip Map

Road Trip #6 – Quebecois Rivers, Mountains, Lakes & Fjords

quebec road trip shipwreck

I’ve had a long standing crush on Quebec. I truly feel that if Canada ever lost Quebec, a large part of Canada’s cultural identity would go with it. As many people know, nothing breaks down barriers like travel. I strongly feel that if more western Canadians would brush up on their french and give this region a go, we’d be able to bridge the divide in language and culture and I wouldn’t have to listen to so many gomers that think the french are all jerks. Someone once said you can’t fix stupid though, so maybe it’s pointless. For those more refined in the art of tolerance, this trip is for you!

I’m fortunate in that I’ve been able to explore Quebec several times, each visit is a constant reminder of the beauty of this region. The Quebecois Rivers, Mountains, Lakes & Fjords Road trip is filled to the brim with culture. From delightful microbrews, luxurious wine, delicious foods, friendly people, stunning views of the Gulf of St Lawrence, and countless museums and art galleries.

This trip can be anywhere from 7 – 16 days, and is approximately 1,600 km (994.19 miles).

Quebecois Rivers, Mountains, Lakes & Fjords Road Trip Map

There is absolutely no shortage of road trips and routes to check out in Canada. These are just a handful of my favourites that I think about often. If you have any other ones you recommend checking out please be sure to leave a comment below or let me know by Twitter!

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6 Reasons I Love Montrealhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/6-reasons-i-love-montreal/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/6-reasons-i-love-montreal/#comments Thu, 27 Sep 2012 16:40:41 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5323 A city as beautiful as Montreal probably doesn’t need another travel blogger gushing over it, but I’ve never been one for expectations, which means gushing shall ensue in this post. Montreal is a very unique city to the rest of Canada. There’s something about it, the mix of old and new, the prominence of art […]

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A city as beautiful as Montreal probably doesn’t need another travel blogger gushing over it, but I’ve never been one for expectations, which means gushing shall ensue in this post. Montreal is a very unique city to the rest of Canada. There’s something about it, the mix of old and new, the prominence of art no matter where you turn your head, and the fact that food and music play such a large part in the lives of Montrealers has been making me think that this is where I’m meant to be. At least for a while. Unfortunately, that won’t happen anytime soon, so in the meantime, I’d like to write down 6 reasons I love Montreal.

Montreal Vegetables Market Fresh

1. Good Eats Montreal

Many people say you can taste the hard work and love that Montrealers put into every dish. Whether its from the baguettes at a local bakery, fresh vegetables from the Jean-Talon Market, a delicious late evening dinner at Van Horne or a 2:00a.m poutine at La Banquise. Montreal is jam packed with incredible restaurants, pubs, and deli’s. You could spend an entire summer in Montreal and barely scratch the surface of the Montreal food scene. While there are countless must-have eats in Montreal, I personally love walking down Rue Sainte-Denis or Saint-Laurent Boulevard with the sole purpose of throwing caution into the wind and trying something new out on a whim.

Dieu du Ciel! Beer Montreal Quebec Canada

2. Montreal Culture

The fact that Montreal is the most well known bilingual city in Canada, and that housing and commerce mix seamlessly throughout all of downtown, encouraging a populated downtown feel, it’s no wonder Montreal is known to many as the cultural capitol of Canada. It truly is a unique city, different than all others in Canada. Besides being one of the most walkable cities in Canada, the city boasts a massive art & music scene that continues to showcase Canada as more than just hockey-loving lumberjacks. Did I mention Montreal (and Quebec in general) have escaped the draconian liqueur laws that the rest of Canada – excluding Newfoundland –  have to deal with. Wander down to any corner store (or Dépanneur en français), and grab a case of beer or a bottle of wine. No questions asked. This is my type of city.

montreal-tam-tams-drum-circle

3. Montreal Tam-Tams

The Montreal Tam-Tams are something I came across this summer. Something I’d never heard about, but after being in the city for a few days, I kept hearing it from everyone I spoke to. “You have to see the Tam-Tams!” locals would proudly exclaim. Thousands of Montrealers gather each Sunday at the George-Étienne Cartier Monument in Mount Royal Park and proceed to start a massive drum & dance circle. If you can’t drum, you dance, and if you can’t dance, you smoke pot or have a beer, and if you don’t smoke or drink, you play frisbee or just people watch. It’s a mix of artists, hippies, stoners, musicians, and those young, and young at heart who gather to be a part of something during the summer.

Tam-Tam’s start around 1pm and continue until sunset. They’re free to the public, just show up and join in on the festivities. If drum circles aren’t really your thing, there’s also a DJ Booth setup for fans of electronic music, or if music in general isn’t your cup of tea, head back into the woods and watch the LARPers (Live Action Role Players) beat the crap out of one another with swords and shields.

Note: Drinking in public is technically illegal, so be careful. It’s sort of an unwritten law that nobody will rat you out at Tam Tams, just be sure to only bring cans, and don’t try to be the drunkest guy in the park. Also, pot isn’t legalized in Canada, no matter what anybody tells you. Just use common sense.

old-montreal-basilica

4. The Streets of Old Montreal

Walking around Old Montreal during lunch, or even better, at sunset is the perfect way to see why Montrealers are so proud of this magnificent city. Between the countless patios & restaurants, the fresh air, the open park space, the gentle breezes rolling off the Fleuve Saint-Laurent, or the steady buzz of people relaxing and talking, it’s easy to see why so many fall in love with this city.

Montreal Bikes

5. Montreal is a Bike-friendly City

No Canadian city does bikes quite like Montreal. During the summer months, and even the winter months for many, bikes (or Les Vélos en français) are the best way to get around. If you’re just visiting the city, don’t worry, BIXI will have you covered. BIXI’s (which stand for Bike-Taxi) are located throughout the city, and with a quick swipe of your credit card you’ll be on your way with your very own bike. Return the BIXI to any of the countless BIXI stands and carry on with your day. It’s a great way of getting from “Point A” to “Point B”, while burning off a couple of extra calories. Bike paths are found nearly everywhere in Montreal, ensuring minimal interaction between bike and car.

Pop Montreal Festival

6. The Multitude of Montreal Festivals

Montreal is a city filled with festivals. No matter what time of year, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a music junkie, a fan of contemporary art, a sci-fi geek, a film-buff, Montreal can deliver. I was recently in Montreal for POP Montreal International Music Festival with 4 other travel bloggers, and managed to catch a few shows. With the ease of getting around by foot, bike, or public transportation, it’s easy to squeeze in countless awesome indie acts.

For the last couple of years I’ve been telling myself, “I’m going to live in Montreal someday“. Lately, I can’t help but think that might actually pan out. With each visit to Montreal, I find myself loving the city more and more. There’s so much to see and do in Montreal, I worry that I’m missing out on experiencing one of the most culturally diverse cities in Canada. In the meantime, I’ll just have to enjoy it from afar.

Win a Moleskin Notebook Through Twitter

Contest Time! Just RT “I want to win a Moleskin notebook from @ibackpackcanada & @Keep_Exploring! http://goo.gl/4lOYt” #ExploreCanada”

Winners will be drawn at random. Contest ends October 5th, 2012. 

View a Photo of the Prizes!

For more on my adventures with the Explore Canada Cross-Canada Travel Bloggers, check out out Canada Keep Exploring! Special thanks to the folks at the CTC for giving us the opportunity to show us around two of Canada’s most vibrant and cultural cities. 

6 Reasons I Love Montreal is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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3 Delicious Montreal Eats You Need to Tryhttp://ibackpackcanada.com/3-delicious-montreal-eats-you-need-to-try/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/3-delicious-montreal-eats-you-need-to-try/#comments Wed, 26 Sep 2012 14:09:44 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5275 Montreal is known across Canada as a foodies paradise. With row after row of restaurants, pubs, diners, and bistro’s, you can literally go on a culinary adventure in just a couple of square blocks. While there are countless superb restaurants, I always like to find out what city’s are famous for. Something locals go back to week […]

3 Delicious Montreal Eats You Need to Try is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Montreal is known across Canada as a foodies paradise. With row after row of restaurants, pubs, diners, and bistro’s, you can literally go on a culinary adventure in just a couple of square blocks. While there are countless superb restaurants, I always like to find out what city’s are famous for. Something locals go back to week after week due to brand loyalty, an unquenchable craving, or from sheer addiction. Ask a true local Montrealer this question, and besides Hab’s games, there’s three things you can almost guarantee everyone will agree on.

montreal smoked meat sandwich schwartz's

1. Schwartz’s Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Schwartz’s has been serving hungry french and english Canadians since 1928. Besides being a Montreal landmark, it’s known to most as being the last true Montreal Smoked Meat restaurant. Meat is cured for at least ten days then smoked in their brick smoke-house which has 84 years worth of delicious buildup, ensuring a romantic taste of yesteryear finds its way into each slice of this succulent meat.

schwartz's montreal smoked meat

Their most popular dish is the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich. Slice after slice of hot, delicious Montreal-Style Smoked meat, served between a soft rye bread with a squirt of mustard. Space is tight at Schwartz’s, and you’ll often find a line waiting outside, but the wait is always worth it. Trust me!

Pro Tip #1

They say if you want to eat it right, you have to order it a Medium-fat Smoked Meat Sandwich with fries, pickle, coleslaw, and wash it all down with a black cherry soda.

Pro Tip #2

Shwartz’s is a cash-only joint delicatessen. Fill those pockets with some money before you dive into one of the best sandwiches on earth.

la-banquise-poutine

2. La Banquise Poutine

I once wrote about my favourite poutine joint, but with the help of Marie-Julie Gagnon, esteemed Montreal travel writer, I have seen the light. I am no longer a devout loyalist to Chez Ashton’s thrown, I’ve had to hand that title off to La Banquise. La Banquise serves 25 different types of poutine, all of which have their own unique spin on the classic dish of fries, cheese curds, and gravy.

la-banquise-menu

Try La T-Rex, your classic fries, cheese curds, and gravy with hamburger meat, pepperoni, bacon, and diced hotdogs, smothered on top of this classic french-canadian dish. Or get a little exotic, and go for La Taquise, the classic poutine dish served with guacamole, sour cream & tomatoes. My personal favourite; however, is La Duleton, your classic poutine served with hamburger meat & onions.

Pro Tip

Poutine is best enjoyed after a long night of drinking, which is convenient, because La Banquise is open 24 hours a day. Stuff your gut full of one of these delicious poutine dishes before passing out for the night and you stand a much higher chance of being a functional human being in the morning.

montreal-bagel-fairmount

3. The Montreal-style Bagel

While the New York Bagel often overshadows the Montreal Bagel, it is not for good reason. Montreal-style bagels are in a league of their own. They are handmade and baked in a wood-fire oven and consumed by hundreds of thousands of hungry Montrealers each morning.

Preparation is a bit different than the New York bagel. The recipe for Montreal-style bagels is slightly different, and they’re each boiled in water that’s been sweetened with honey. After a quick dip in the water, they’re baked in a wood-fire oven, then coated in either black poppy seed or white sesame seed. You’ll find that Montreal-style bagels are typically smaller than the New York bagel and are often found to be sweeter, due to the honey-water soaking.

Fairmount Bagel Montreal QB

While there are countless bakeries in Montreal serving these bagels, be sure to pop by Fairmount Bagel at 74 av. Fairmont West, in the Mile End community. Fairmount Bagel has been pushing dough through ovens since 1919, and is oddly enough the only type of bagel to have ever made it into space!

Food plays a large part in Montrealers lives. Thankfully, Montreal is one of the most walk-able cities in Canada, giving you ample opportunity to walk off a few of the extra calories you’ll surely find yourself chowing on when you visit this unique Canadian city. Just remember, it’s okay to indulge in Montreal!

Win a Moleskin Notebook Through Twitter

Contest Time! Just RT “I want to win a Moleskin notebook from @ibackpackcanada & @Keep_Exploring! http://goo.gl/4lOYt” #ExploreCanada”

Winners will be drawn at random. Contest ends October 5th, 2012. 

View a Photo of the Prizes!

For more on my adventures with the Explore Canada Cross-Canada Travel Bloggers, check out out Canada Keep Exploring! Special thanks to the folks at the CTC for giving us the opportunity to show us around two of Canada’s most vibrant and cultural cities. 

3 Delicious Montreal Eats You Need to Try is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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Cross-Canada Blogger Tour: Counting down to TIFF & POP Montreal!http://ibackpackcanada.com/cross-canada-blogger-tour-counting-down-to-tiff-pop-montreal/ http://ibackpackcanada.com/cross-canada-blogger-tour-counting-down-to-tiff-pop-montreal/#comments Wed, 12 Sep 2012 13:15:11 +0000 http://ibackpackcanada.com/?p=5253 If you’ve been following along on Twitter or Facebook, you may be aware of the fact that I’ve been invited by the Canadian Tourism Commission to check out the Toronto International Film Festival & POP Montreal, between September 15th & 20th! This is part of a huge campaign to bring travel bloggers from around the […]

Cross-Canada Blogger Tour: Counting down to TIFF & POP Montreal! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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If you’ve been following along on Twitter or Facebook, you may be aware of the fact that I’ve been invited by the Canadian Tourism Commission to check out the Toronto International Film Festival & POP Montreal, between September 15th & 20th! This is part of a huge campaign to bring travel bloggers from around the world to see & experience some of the unique things to see and do in Canada. There’s 19 travel bloggers in total that are being sent to almost every corner of Canada to see what makes Canada so awesome!

My Intro Video!

It’s pretty rare that I’ll ever jump in front of the camera, but I’m so excited for this opportunity to work with the CTC, and was encouraged by their social media team to just be myself and tell the world what I’ll be doing. Unfortunately for the internet, being myself includes being a bit of a scatterbrain with a extra dash of quirky and weird. Shortly after posting this video to youtube, one commenter informed me that I look a lot like Wil Wheaton. Personally I don’t see it, but there’s worse people to look alike. Who knows, maybe it’ll open up a few extra doors when I get to the Toronto International Film Festival. Ha!

What’s the Game Plan?

It’s going to be a busy week! I’ll be traveling with 4 other bloggers / online writers, exploring Toronto & Montreal. We’ll be landing in Toronto first to catch one of Canada’s most exciting events, the Toronto International Film Festival. After bumping shoulders with some of the worlds greatest filmmakers, we’ll be jumping on VIA Rail and heading to Montreal to catch POP Montreal, one of Quebec’s most popular fall events. POP Montreal includes symposium discussions, art exhibits, fashion shows, movie screenings, countless performances, and of course, a few all-night parties.

I’m crazy excited to take part in this huge travel blogger tour, and hope you’ll follow along. If you’ve ever been to TIFF or POP Montreal, I’d love to hear what I should expect? Any tips? Suggestions? Send me out a tweet @ibackpackcanada or follow my updates on Facebook or Instagram! Also be sure to check out the Keep Exploring Tumblr page, which will be syndicating the whole project!

Check Out Canada Keep Exploring!

Cross-Canada Blogger Tour: Counting down to TIFF & POP Montreal! is a post from: I Backpack Canada

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