My quick trip up to Montreal last weekend had me asking this question over and over again, just about every minute that we were outside and I still have not come up with a reasonable answer to it. I get that there is a lot of snow up there, and I get that the streets are narrow, making it harder to plow. And I get that they have universal health care, so when someone slips and falls and injures themselves they can get treatment. But that still doesn’t explain at all why none of the sidewalks were shoveled clean nor salted. Literally none. Most areas had relatively clear sections of sidewalk, but nothing resembling the well groomed sidewalks of NYC. Seriously, there were places that the ice/snow was 6″ deep on the sidewalk where people are expected to be walking. Perhaps I’m just bitter because I slipped and fell flat on my ass while carrying a couple cases of beer (no, I didn’t break any of the beer bottles). But it still seems ridiculous to me that they don’t really bother to shovel the sidewalks. The street clearing was actually pretty interesting. Because the snow won’t melt until the city thaws out later in the spring they actually truck the snow out to the suburbs. We saw some of that happening and one of the dump sites. It is a pretty inefficient process, but the only option they have, I guess.
The other interesting thing about Montreal – something that I keep (and kept) forgetting – is just how much they speak French there. Everything starts off that way, with them reverting to English only as a second option. I didn’t run into any situations on this trip where someone didn’t also speak English, though that has happened before. And my feeble French skills were no match for just about everything they threw at us. I was mildly useful on menus, but otherwise not so much.
As for notes about the rest of the trip, everything was pretty good. The Residence Inn Downtown was in a decent location, just a block or two off the main strip there, and the rooms were nice enough.
Our dining focused on sushi and steak, and both were well done. The sushi was for lunch at a place called Hasuka, I think, but I can’t find that online now, so I’m not sure. It was at Crescent and Maisonneuve, I think. Then again, I had been drinking beer for most of the previous 24 hours so my navigation skills might be a bit off. If you happen to stop in, don’t have the Montreal roll. That was a mistake. I’m not sure when someone decided that citrus belonged in sushi, but I’m pretty sure they were wrong.
Steaks were done at Moishe’s. They have five or six steaks on the menu but our crowd managed to only pick two of them, the bone-in filet and the ribeye. Both were delicious and large. The appetizers selection isn’t all that comprehensive, but we were more focused on the beef anyways so that isn’t all that big a deal. They also have a pretty good wine list from which to choose. This is the second time I’ve been there – both for bachelor parties – and it has stood the test of time.
We also managed to find time to relax in a cigar bar for a couple hours, the appropriately named Stogies. A pretty nice place, though I wouldn’t have minded if the ventilation systems were actually working better.
Overall, a great weekend trip and a great city to visit.
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