I had to attend some meetings at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. It was a lovely early autumn day when I arrived so immediately after unpacking my bag I donned my running shoes and went out exploring. Since my hotel was at the foot of Mt. Royale that was my destination—a lovely park area in the centre of the bustling metropolis. One which affords great views of the city from the top.
It was great to be back in Montreal, the city of my birth. My father was an engineer working on building the ‘Place Ville Marie’. It was the highlight of his professional career and as an engineer I can see why. It still dominates the city’s skyline and architecturally is quite impressive.
There was no warm up to the run, as soon as I started it was uphill, and the gradient was quite noticeable. Since I had been in the USA for a few days already I couldn’t blame jetlag for my lack of enthusiasm. But I was soon into a rhythm and while I was not fast, it was wonderful to be out in the cool autumn air.
My timing was almost erfect as the trees were beginning to change colour. There is a short window in Canada where—before the bleak 4+ months when it is winter—that the trees put on a flurry of colour. Unfortunately my camera didn’t pick up the magnitude of the colours, but the shots below give a few ideas.
There were many people out for a stroll, enjoying the sunshine and colours. Lots of runners and cyclists as well. It was great to see everyone appreciating the wonderful nature. The people seemed to come in ‘waves’ with sections heavily populated and then nothing. I explored some of the side trails and kept on ascending to the top where they have the cross. Quite ugly in the daylight but looked nice at night all lit up.
I ended up at the lookout with a panoramic view of the city. There were hordes of people, particularly tourists. I had a Chinese fellow take the photo at the start of the blog. There were a few other runners. What was impressive was that all these people had walked up to the top—in other countries there would have been shuttles. There is a restaurant at the top which featured in the excellent film ‘The Quarrel’ so I ended up thinking about the story—two estranged Jewish friends who survived the Holocaust and have a chance encounter one day in Montreal, one of whom lost his faith and the other who kept it. Brilliant film—makes one reflect on God and ethics.
I just kept on running and finally ended up heading downhill to a major road. Fortunately I have a good sense of direction and so followed my instincts, eventually ending up at Rue St. Catherine which is a main thoroughfare. This took me back to the hotel where I warmed up in the shower. Incredible to think I could spend 1:30 running and almost the entire time off road in amazing nature. My only regret was that the next day the weather packed in so I was unable to explore the city further. But then again, it gave me the excuse to go to the museum where I saw the most incredible exhibition of Impressionist painters. Add to that the plethora of excellent vegetarian restaurants and Montreal is definitely up on my list for cities to visit again.