October 14/18 (Part 6) – Montreal – Los Planes Gourmet Restaurant – Salvadoran Cuisine, 4115 rue St. Denis

I know I mentioned this place at least twice in previous blogs from this trip. We tried to eat here on the Friday night and they were closed with kitchen problems, which is too bad, as they have live music on Friday and Saturday evening.

We first tripped across this place in 2015, arriving to a noisy Friday night crowd and being wowed by their grillades special, which included a pork, cheese and beans papusa, avocado and chips, grilled beef, chicken, chorizo and shrimp, rice, salad, green and yellow beans, churros, plantain empanada with condensed milk, sangria and coffee.

We did not wish to be disappointed yet again, so phoned first, before venturing up Rue St. Denis to #4115. Yes, they were open and we hopped on the Metro to the nearby Rachel/St. Hubert station. We arrived around 4:30 PM (or as we call it, Seniors Dining Hour). The place was indeed open and as you might expect, pretty much empty at this hour. We opted for the same menu as in 2015 and sat back as it all rolled onto our table. While we anticipated left-overs, we pretty much devoured everything before us. We enjoyed it all thoroughly and wished we had such a place back home. Now, we could drive away from Montreal tomorrow with no regrets.

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October 14/18 (Part 5) – Montreal – Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)

The MMFA is Montreal’s  largest museum and one of the most prominent art museums in Canada. It is the 18th largest art museum in North America and spreads across 5 pavilions with a total floor area of 571,510 square feet, of which 140,000 are for display.

The original art gallery was founded in 1879 at Phillips Square and opened in one pavilion in its current 1380 Rue Sherbrooke West location in 1912. The old location was demolished the same year and is now a Burger King. One of the current pavilions (Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion) is a converted church (Église Erskine and American United) renovated from 2007-10). The church, with its Tiffany stained glass had been designated a National Historical Site of Canada in 1998 and could not be demolished. Access between all pavilions is by means of underground pathways.

(Source:Wikipedia)

There is usually an exterior display along Ave. de Musée, along with a fine view of the Mount Royal viewing deck.

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The Museum is closed Mondays, open 10-5 Tuesday, 10-9 Wednesday (special exhibits only between 5 and 9) and 10-5 Thursday thru Saturday. Admission fees seem a bit strange, with those age 31 and up (including Seniors) paying $15 to see the Collections and Discovery Exhibitions and $23 to see everything including the special exhibits. Those 30 and under get into the Collections and Discovery Exhibitions for free and pay $15 to see everything including the special exhibits.

We opted for the basic ticket and set off in search of Chihuly’s glass. Alas, there were only two pieces including the one in the forecourt.

Nonetheless, there was plenty to see in this museum and we happily whiled away the better part of 3 hours, getting lost almost every time we tried to go between pavilions. Getting lost can be fun, as we often discovered new pieces we were not looking for.

At one point, we wandered into the gift shop and accidentally in the back way to the Calder Exhibition, that we had not paid for. Perhaps a slight flaw in the museum layout.

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From the church pavilion, there were some interesting views to the exterior.

October 14/18 (Part 4) – Montreal – Place d’Armes

When this square was created in 1693, it was named Place de la Haute Ville (High or Upper Town Square). At the time it was used as the forecourt for the first church of Ville Marie. After construction of Basilica Notre Dame and demolition of the first church, the church sold the square to the city in 1836. It became a focal point of the old town and today draws 5,000,000 visitors annually. (Source:Wikipedia)

It is a beautiful leafy square, filled with people. On this day, a busker crooned Chris Isaak’s, Wicked Game as we arrived (feature Photo). Tourist caleches clip-clopped slowly by.

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The bells of the Basilica soon rang out 11:00 AM and were soon joined by all the church bells in the area.

The square is surrounded by beautiful old buildings.

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1931 Aldred Building was one of the first modern skyscrapers in Montreal

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1847 Bank of Montreal Building (dome)

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1889 New York Life Building

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Monument a Maisonneuve erected in 1895.

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I liked the juxtaposition between these three types of transport.

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October 14/18 (Part 3) – Montreal – the Old Port

Stretching nearly 2 kilometers along the St. Lawrence River in Old Montreal, this area was used as a trading post by French fur traders as early as 1611.

Today, it is a tourist attraction with inns, hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as the IMAX, Montreal Science Centre and the Montreal Clock Tower completed in 1922. It is a  great place to stroll, with good views of the City, river, Ile Notre Dame and Saint Helen’s Island. (Source:Wikipedia)

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Even here, street repairs are an ever present reality.

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The dome of the Bonsecour Market building is visible from most areas of the Old Port. This 2 story building, modeled after Dublin’s Customs House was completed in 1847. It was the site of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1849 and housed Montreal City Hall from 1852 to 1878.

It has been the main public market in Montreal for over 100 years. (Source:Wikipedia)

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On this visit, we spotted a new attraction. The Montreal Observation Wheel (La Grand Roue) opened in June 2017. At 60 meters high, it is one of the largest observation wheels in North America and I am sure it offers great views, but at a cost of $25, we gave it a miss. Here are the photos of our visit to the area.

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Top right photo below shows remnants of the Biosphere from Expo ’67.

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Jacques Cartier Bridge and La Ronde amusement park to the East.

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Montreal Clock Tower.

Plage de l’Horloge is a man made beach at the base of the clock (horloge) tower.

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The Tour de Levis built in the 1930s

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October 14/18 (Part 2) – Montreal – Broken

I think I mentioned how all Montreal was in a turmoil of closed roads, detours and broken pavement and buildings. These shots were taken on October 14th (walking) and 15th (during our drive out of the city on the Route 20 “free”way). It will be a nice city, if they ever get it fixed.

Broken

Lines on a map are just a token

of through roads that are now all broken.

Six lane traffic now single file on

roads all blocked up with orange pylons.

Throw out all your maps and turn on Waze,

getting out of this place could take days.

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October 14/18 (Part 1) – Montreal – Walking in Leonard’s footsteps

Walking is really a great way to see a city and I can not imagine what travel would be like if I was unable to walk. Montreal, despite the ongoing construction is a very walkable city. A sense of direction, sturdy shoes and a bit of energy (or perhaps some Metro rides) open up new vistas at every turn. These photos were from our wandering day, in no particular order.

The poem line syllables are similar to native Montreal son, Leonard Cohen, but in no way as skillful or melodic.

Walking in Leonard’s Footsteps

Just downstairs with our morning caffeine,

most boring breakfast that we have seen,

so we opted for breakfast at Hinnawi.

Service was slow, so we sat right down,

disappointing bagels all around,

back outside we headed down Rue St Denis.

Rue St. Denis, Rue St. Denis

Rue St Denis, Rue St. Denis

Then down to the Old Port historic

and Notre Dame where the crowds were thick

and all the church bells did ring out quite clearly.

We meandered our way to downtown,

where views of old Mount Royal abound

and students walk McGill University.

University, University

University, University

But, we chose not to walk up this hill,

for climbing ,we both had had our fill

and so set off to the Fine Art Gallery.

We searched at length to find the front door

admission paid, we searched all the floors.

for more glass creations from Dale Chihuly.

Dale Chihuly, Dale Chihuly

Dale Chihuly, Dale Chihuly

There were only two and we were sad,

the other displays were not so bad,

all done, heading out, we were hungry truly.

Past tall buildings so far from rural,

and poet Leonard Cohen mural,

to Metro station, train would arrive duly.

arrive duly, arrive duly

arrive duly, arrive duly

At Rue St. Denis, we found our way

to Los Plan-es Salvador Gourmet

and enjoyed fine banquet that made us drool-y.

Repast all over, we were content

to saunter back home with full intent

past deck with guys, half naked,  cool-ly.

Naked cool-ly, Naked cool-ly

Naked cool-ly, Naked cool-ly

R.I.P. Leonard.

October 13/18 (Part 4) – Montreal – Chez Tousignault, 6956 Drolet

Linda and Lloyd had told us not to miss the Montreal hotdog and poutine at this little place not far from Jean Talon Market. After a disappointing park experience, we started our search for the restaurant. It was a bit difficult to find, so we turned on our GPS and arrived in no time, along with a good deal of other hungry Saturday shoppers.

Our order was for a hot dog each and a shared plate of poutine (delicious frites served with gravy and cheese curds). Montreal style hotdogs use the top loading buns rather than the side loading buns. As such, there is a much better hot dog to bread ratio. We ordered the Classique ($5.25 each) with only mustard and cabbage salad. It was fabulous and we did not even miss the ketchup or relish. The bun was a potato bread bun toasted to perfection   We ordered the large poutine ($11.50) to share. Seeing the size of the plate of poutine, we thought there was no way we could ever finish it, but we were wrong. It was delicious with squeaky cheese curds right to the end. We will be sure to stop here on our next visit.

We will have to give the Montreal style hotdog place in our City of Beaumont a look soon.

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