Montreal, Quebec – Vive la French Canadians

Montreal! One of only a handful of North American cities with a genuine European flair. French is spoken as the first language in most of the city. The history of the area competes with some of the most historic European cities. It even has an Old Town.

For me, Montreal was all about culture. As our tour guide said, “…when people say they are going out, they mean they are going to the opera or a museum, not to a movie or dinner.” Although Montreal does have some outstanding restaurants to rival any top European or NYC restaurant.

Every local I came across set out each day with one goal in mind – live life to the fullest. A varying contrast to what I have experienced in France, where most French, at least in Paris seem to be unapproachable and crabby. The energy emanating from the local Québécois was refreshing and captivating. Maybe because Montreal isn’t as overrun with Americans as Paris is.

There are 68 festivals each year in Montreal, many lasting for weeks, so there is never a weekend, year-round, there isn’t something fun and unique to enjoy. The Montreal portion of this blog is dedicated to three exhibits I attended. There are too many great pictures to share within the blog post, so I will add individual galleries for each under the blog ‘Gallery’ tab.

Chihuly: Dale Chihuly, born in Tacoma, Washington in 1941. I have admired his works in my favorite restaurants, a neighbor’s home, the Botanical Desert Garden in Arizona and now in an amazing exhibit in Montreal.

Chihuly Exhibit, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Chihuly Exhibit, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Chihuly's glass ceiling exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Chihuly’s glass ceiling exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Chihuly learned glass blowing at various universities in the US, but has received awards and requests for his exhibits worldwide. An auto accident and a body surfing accident, in the late 1970’s, left him unable to do the actual glass blowing (gaffing), but through his drawings and direction his artistry lives on in fresh exhibits.

Seguin Poirier: a local artist and true francophone (French is his one and only language). I took a tour to visit his 1600’s era gallery/home/workshop, just outside of Montreal.

Seguin Poirier (which means pear in French), Montreal artist

Seguin Poirier (pear in French) – Montreal artist

Seguin Poirier's chapel lined completely with his artwork

Seguin Poirier’s chapel lined completely with his artwork

Monsieur Poirier’s médium is enamel on copper. He has been doing this form of artwork for 46 years. He takes a special paint powder and sprinkles it on different size pieces of copper. Then, using a metal tipped instrument he draws his subject in the powder. Next, this is put into a specially designed kiln to reach a specific temperature of 1500 degrees. Once this temp is reached, the artwork has to be immediately removed or it will burn. This intense heat turns the powder to vibrant liquid, and the instant the artwork is pulled from the kiln this liquid turns rock hard as soon as it is hit by air.

Mosaicultures Internationales Montreal 2013: a living exhibit displaying over 50 botanical sculptures from all over the world competing in the ‘Land of Hope’ theme. The Jardin Botanique is heaven on earth for this landscape designer and horticulturist. Add in this amazing exhibit and an absolutely perfect fall day and I wished I had scheduled to spend a full day at the gardens.

Winning Jury Grand Honorary Award - China's 'A True Story!'

Winning Jury Grand Honorary Award – China’s ‘A True Story!’

Fan favorite award winning - Canada's 'The Man Who Planted Trees'

Fan favorite award-winning – Canada’s ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’

Other must see and places to eat: The blue ceiling of The Notre Dame Basilica (old town), the views from Mount Royal and a visit to the Olympic Stadium can only be out done by taking in a Montreal Canadians game. All Canadians LOVE their hockey, but the French Canadians take that to an even higher level – like Europeans and their football.  Two higher end dining experiences – Bis Italian (center Montreal) and Gibby’s Steakhouse (old town).

Check out more pictures under the Global Gallery tab.

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