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ACTIVITIES NEEDED Montreal November with Tween

ACTIVITIES NEEDED Montreal November with Tween

Old Sep 13th, 2022, 09:06 AM
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ACTIVITIES NEEDED Montreal November with Tween

Having a hard time finding activities to do in Montreal Nov 6-10 with a tween girl. I almost wish I didn't buy the airline tickets because November seems like the worst time to visit Montreal. Some things/ideas I do have planned:
  • Basilica Aura show
  • French pastry shop
  • Poutine sampling
  • possibly the Barbie exhibit
  • Don't feel I have enough time to go to Quebec City and no one day tours on my dates
She is too mature for kids museums, and not interested in cultural museums. PLEASE help me figure out what else we can do in the cold, yet not winter weather! I planned this trip to expose her to French culture as she embarks on French language class at school but am not afraid it is going to be a BUST. Fearing a back fire on this trip, thanks!

Last edited by cmh6264; Sep 13th, 2022 at 09:09 AM.
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Old Sep 13th, 2022, 02:53 PM
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I tried to answer this on my desk top and the site seems to have frozen on me. I'll try on my iPad but without the links.

Might she like a house "museum" if she doesn't like fine arts or history museums? Look up Chateau Dufresne. I much prefer decorative arts museums to fine arts museums, and there is a decorative arts section in Montreal's Museum of Fine Arts.

Markets - Jean-Talon or Atwater. Olympic Park. Mount Royal. Wandering around admiring the buildings.

Also see www.mtl.org/en
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 12:50 PM
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The best place for French culture is France, but, despite what Quebec tourist brochures try gloss over
Montreal a product of other cultures; Irish, Scottish, Jewish, Italian and even, the horror, English.

You can walk in the footsteps of Richler, Cohen, see where Jackie Robinson lived, Oscar Peterson played,
explore Little Italy, Griffintown, Verdun the Orthodox Rosemont,

Discover the street art scene with a self-guided tour.

Ride the Metro system, its art collection and the Underground city..

Old Montreal and its rich maritime history, the lobby of Canada Steamship Lines and ask permission to see their ships models.

Visit the newly renovated and expanded Insectarium,

Explore the Mont Royal Cemetery.

Take a train ride to the largest railway museum in Canada.

Google, imagination and curiosity are your friends
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Old Sep 14th, 2022, 06:11 PM
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Mother-daughter spa day at 'Strom Spa' on Nun's island (ile des Soeurs)?
Nocturnal light/Magic lantern Fest @Floralie garden near Jean Drapeau park on the other isle? *Maybe just finished/over by time of your visit, dunno.
An ice hockey game?
Et donc: creme glace, ou gelato comme ca.

Peut-etre allow your daughter to select a restaurant/cafe or two? Ditto an activity.
I hope your trip goes well.

I am done. The maudit anglais.
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Old Sep 15th, 2022, 12:54 PM
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. The biggest attraction for her might be the shopping and the French cafe scene. Several very French cafes in the city like Cafe Cherrier. Just dining out will be an experience. There is great shopping everywhere. Lots of big department stores downtown, lots of funky little shops on the Plateau and the Mile End. Even going into a large supermarket can be fun with lots of great cheeses, pates and other interesting foods you don't often see outside of Quebec.The Biodome is lots of fun. If the weather is on the mild side, you can rent bikes to explore the city. Just FYI, the Plateau area in general has a more French feel than the downtown. You'll see more Quebec flags on buildings than Canadian ones.

Last edited by zootsi; Sep 15th, 2022 at 12:59 PM.
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Old Sep 18th, 2022, 10:16 PM
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I do agree with others. While the language is French, the culture is Quebecois, not French. And the province of Quebec, where Montreal is, doesn't identify as Canadian either. (There's a chunk of the population in Quebec who want to separate from Canada). And I think it was Anthony Bourdain who said in a Montreal episode, "Montreal is not Little Paris North of the Border" and that "you shouldn't go there specifically for French food, but it's there should you want it". I guess I'm trying to say, to focus on French culture would be a totally artificial way of experiencing Montreal. Nobody goes to Boston to experience England. Don't go to Montreal to experience France.

But I also don't think it's the end of the world to visit Montreal in November. I think of Montreal like a cousin to both Boston and New York, with old centuries-old buildings similar to what you'd find in Boston, but culture/geography similar to Manhattan and Brooklyn. So don't think of this as a trip for French culture, but a cool city getaway as you would to NYC or Chicago, but the language is in French. Think of it as going to a cool, cultural hub of a city - lots of live music, cool shopping and malls, lots of counter cultural communities living their best expressive lives, and so on. Fantastic restaurants, cafes, lounges and a serious coolness factor.

Jewish culture is definitely a big part of authentic Montreal culture - the Montreal style bagels, the Montreal smoked meat sandwiches, the Jewish delis, the Hasidic Jewish community, the famous Jewish Montreal cultural icons (hello Leonard Cohen, Mordecai Richler, etc.). You'll definitely want to build some of that in. Even if you don't, keep your eye out for the massive Leonard Cohen mural.

For me, a trip to Montreal isn't complete without having fresh-baked sesame and poppy seed bagels from St Viateur bagels in Mile End, a smoked meat sandwich from one of the many Jewish delis (Schwartz's on St Laurent is legendary), a meander through Simon's department store on Saint-Catherine Street (and the many surrounding shopping malls), a Lebanese, Portuguese or Greek meal (with my own bottle of wine) from the Plateau district, and mornings with delicious coffee and croissants from one of its many cafes. Oh, and an obligatory walk up Parc Mont Royal. Use the Metro to get around. Take in a performance at a theatre or some live music. Montreal's a real artist hub. Go check out some unique shops and explore some of the various neighbourhoods - it's a great city of different neighbourhoods. Let your daughter be a "flaneuse" (female form of flaneur) - the French word for somebody who wanders a city to experience it without an agenda, to take it in and appreciate it. Go explore on foot and discovery some patisseries, boulangeries. Step into the various delis you see. Poke your head in the markets. It's a great city if you've got a curious mindset.

Last edited by BC_Robyn; Sep 18th, 2022 at 10:22 PM.
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Old Sep 19th, 2022, 09:29 AM
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Really valuable input from all above above, CMH. My wife and I are about to go there too, so I've been reading related threads like yours here. She is from Montreal, but has not been back in many decades. My rock band used to perform there back during the 70s.
Expanding on BC Robyn's ideas, my research reminds me that St Laurent has a sizable stretch known as THE MILE. One could conceivably do a 2-fer or 3-fer there. The aforementioned icon Schwartz's is neighboured with both the Segal's and Vielle Europe delis, plus the well-regarded Hof Kelsten bakery. Popular breakfast diner 'Beautys' is just a couple blocks away. I know that you didn't describe your child as a big foodie, but just saying.

As a retired teacher of tweens (second career), I am trying to imagine what your daughter might find interesting. But nothing beats what Robyn has suggested--to simply allow yourselves to flaneuse.
Might the Montreal Tourism office be worth an email from you? You could pose the same query there, non?

Btw, (regarding live music) they just cancelled the concert featuring the Tuareg band Tinariwen. We'd really been looking forward to it, and the venue was literally next door to our rental!
C'est la vie.
Good luck.

Further proof of Bourdain's point about Quebec-Paris differences: the ​​​​​​Practical Handbook of Canadian French by Sinclair Robinson runs nearly 200 pages of varying phrases, completely different from France in many cases.

Last edited by zebec; Sep 19th, 2022 at 09:31 AM.
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Old Sep 19th, 2022, 12:21 PM
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Silly me CMH--that abovementioned strip of St Laurent is called THE MAIN, not as I erroneously stated The Mile.
Have a great trip.
I am done. the end
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Old Sep 19th, 2022, 01:57 PM
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The tweens I know would love The Planetarium (a way to see the northern lights!) and the Biodome (penquins!)!!


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Old Sep 19th, 2022, 04:16 PM
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Oops- There are penguins at the Biodome (not penquins, whatever that may be)😂
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Old Sep 21st, 2022, 09:06 AM
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This guide to different neighborhoods in Montreal might be useful

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Old Sep 21st, 2022, 10:33 AM
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Canadian Center for Architecture:

Street art in Montreal

Guide to Montreal metro art:

In case it rains, (good chance in November)

Main Deli and steakhouse:


A couple of good films filmed mostly in Montreal about life in Montreal :

The Apprentiship of Duddy Kravitz,, Joshua Then and Now.

The books are a good read as well

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Old Sep 27th, 2022, 09:20 AM
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If you go to St Viateur bagels, then stop in at the nearby Cafe Depanneur where musicians are playing at all times of the day. They will mostly be singing in French. (Though I have not been there in November) Also go to the nearby Boulangerie Cheskie which is at the heart of the Hasidic community. You also might consider bundling up and climbing the Grand Staircase of Mount Royal (approx. 535 steps) and enjoy the view over Montreal. There are also interesting consignment shops in Montreal. Visiting the St Joseph Oratory on Mount Royal is also I think a good idea. How about ice skating?

Montreal is a place where you can regularly hear French (although with a Quebecois accent), so going into shops or otherwise reading signs or doing anything is an excellent way to expose someone to the French language. Your most serious limitation is the weather, prepare for a freezing damp chill.

There are some interesting neighborhoods in which popping in and out of thrift shops, clothing stores, a hair salon (if your daughter is interested), might be the best exposure rather than a particular touristic activity. You can find so many interesting shops in Hochelaga, including an ice rink and restaurants serving Haitian and Moroccan food (both very much a part of French cuisine). Hochelaga is the most French speaking area of Montreal. There is even a park there with petanque which might be an enjoyable activity in better weather. Right near Hochelaga is the very immense Botanic Gardens which has greenhouses, so you can visit comfortably even in bad weather. Verdun is another neighborhood to explore. Start at the Frippe Prix Renaissance thrift shop and around there is a fromagerie, a papeterie, an antique shop, all kinds of interesting stores and cheap places to eat.

Beware of poutine. Most places can be awful and you'll feel like you are eating a bowl of salt. Eating out can be very expensive in Montreal, so locals will pack in just about anyplace where they can eat cheap food, sit for a while and load up on calories while talking with friends. It's more a social activity than something good to eat. I've had better poutine in the US.

Last edited by shelemm; Sep 27th, 2022 at 09:34 AM.
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Old Sep 28th, 2022, 06:28 AM
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St-Catherine west is the main shopping drag but the city is also proud of its underground network of shops, like a network of streets except you don't have to go out in the cold. This includes access to the subway system, which is vital for getting around.



Montreal loves bicycles. They can be rented by the hour from racks spread around the city centre. Hardcore riders defy winter.

Old Montreal is worth a walk because it's, well, old. Plus the freight harbour there is busy. So is Chateau Ramezay, an old old house showing the early days of the European settlement. The enormous Basilica is in that neighbourhood too.


Also around there is the city's history museum, Pointe-a- Calliere, currently housing an exhibition about Vikings and ongoing excavations of some of the city's earliest history.


I love the Centre for Architecture but it is a very serious academic place (I once visited an exhibition about lawns.)

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Old Oct 1st, 2022, 05:10 AM
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I'd recommend:
  • free walking tour
  • the light show at the Notre Dame basilica - it was really mesmerizing.
  • ferris wheel on a clear day
  • metro to the Jean Talon market -- wander and buy small snacks at various stalls
  • agree with the cafe culture recommendation. try lepetitdep.ca
  • docent tour at the Chateau Ramezay
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Old Oct 26th, 2022, 03:47 PM
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And now for something completely different:
Ashiatsu (shiatsu massage wherein the practitioner uses their feet while supported by ceiling-mounted beams).
Suzanne Chan in Mile End is one such masseuse. *After our pair of 2 hour massages with Suzanne, my wife and I each came to the same conclusion: best damn massage ever--and we've had hundreds across the globe!
Mother-daughter massage?
Satisfaction guaranteed.

I am done. the blissful traveler
PS Mile End has many worthy eating options
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