A Family Weekend in Montreal

KITC would like to welcome guest blogger, Stephen Johnson to the blog. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel.  During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival.  During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.  

Our family literally reached new heights on a recent trip to Montreal. We achieved this by riding a new Ferris wheel, taking the funicular up Olympic Stadium and visiting La Ronde amusement park. I was holding my breath the entire time!

The adventure started at La Grande Roue Ferris wheel located in Vieux Montreal. Our son, David, spotted it last summer while appropriately taking a zipline. He had been asking my wife, Sandy, and I all winter when we could take a ride on it. The day had finally arrived. I have never been one for heights but was pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the cabins and the smoothness of the ride. David was taking photos like it was the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The glass compartments made taking photos easy. I must admit to being somewhat uneasy when David told me it was the largest Ferris wheel in Canada, especially when we stopped at the top, but all was well.

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After we finished at the Ferris wheel, we decided to check out the nearby Montreal Science Centre. David enjoyed all of the interactive exhibits. He particularly liked the exhibit about the human body. We spent a couple of hours exploring the museum. Once we were done, the spring weather was still doing its impression of hide and seek. One hour it was warm and sunny and the next was cool and rainy. We decided to wait out the damp weather with a tasty meal at Les Trois Brasseurs. Soon enough, the weather cleared and it was time to head back to our hotel.

The following day, we were ready for more high-flying fun. We headed to Olympic Stadium to visit the Montreal Tower. It is the tallest inclined tower in the world at 165 meters and a 45-degree angle. To reach the top we took a two-minute funicular ride that was stunning. Once at the top, we had a panoramic view of Montreal and surrounding area. Staff at the tower said on a clear day, it is possible to see up to 80 kilometers away.

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Once done at the tower, we were ready for an out-of-this-world visit. I’m not talking about a ride aboard an Elon Musk or Richard Branson rocket ship. We saw a show at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium The presentation was about the aurora borealis. The colours were truly spectacular and the presenter filled us in on the science behind the aurora borealis. We were also taken on a tour of all the constellations and planets we could see in the night sky.

After our celestial entertainment, we hopped on the Metro and made our way to Old Montreal. We decided to visit the Queens of Egypt exhibition at the Pointe-à-Callière museum. The exhibition was world class. It featured many different objects including monumental statues, frescos and even a mummy!

We wrapped up the day doing one of our favourite activities, just wandering the streets of Old Montreal and enjoying the ambiance. Street buskers and musicians just added to the atmosphere.

For our last day in Montreal, we fittingly scheduled more high-flying fun. La Ronde amusement park is one attraction we have never visited in Montreal so we were excited to go. To my knowledge, it is the only amusement park that can be accessed by metro in North America which I find cool. Upon entering the park, David wanted to find the highest ride. The Super Manège roller coaster fit the bill. My wife, Sandy, was brave enough to accompany David. I was given camera duty and was happy to snap away while Sandy and David had fun flippin’ and flyin’.

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The next ride on deck was the Bateau Pirate. The boat delivered up many thrills with it reaching extreme heights. David seemed more energized by every ride while Sandy bowed out after the Bateau. Next up, David decided to try the Goliath roller coaster. Afterwards, I read online that the ride went 110 km an hour (never shared that detail with Sandy!)

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For his final ride, David chose the Ednör roller coaster. It was a fun way for David to wrap up the day as the ride spun around and even went over a small lake. For the rest of the time, we walked around the grounds enjoying the sights and sounds. I liked the fact the park delivered many rides in a relatively compact space.

We had a comfortable stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott Downtown. It is located very close to the Peel metro station making it easy to get around all of Montreal. The hotel also had a delicious breakfast to start off the day.

We are already our next trip back to Montreal!

For more information about Montreal, attractions and events visit, www.mtl.org/en.

Tourism Montreal assisted David with attraction passes and hotel, but all views, etc. are his own.