Today’s post brought to you by the fabulous Rock ‘n’ Blog member Tina!
Bonjour! In a matter of days I will be hitting the fantastique streets of Montréal with other 35,000 other runners for the 2015 Montréal Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Marathon & 1/2 Marathon. It will be my 39th half marathon, so I thought it might be time for a FAB Top 10 list of all that is magnifique in Montréal!
Are you getting excited? This race is my third Rock ‘n’ Roll race – so I am excited! Oui to #allthefab!
Don’t speak French? Don’t worry! You will be romanced by the sexy French accent and here are a few phrases that will help you out. If someone says “Bonjour” to you that means Hello. If someone says, “Bonne chance!” that means good luck! Say “Merci” (thank you) back. And, if you are asked something in French, say “Je ne parle pas français” (I do not speak French). Say it with a smile and you can figure out lots with signs and a laugh!
So what to see in Montréal? There is so much history in this beautiful Canadian city! We are lucky to be running past so many spectacular sights! Let me tell ya, it is hard to put all the fabulous of this city into TEN things that makes this race so amazing …but here goes:
1. It’s going to be a BIG party. This year the marathon turns 25. Participants are being asked to run wearing their very best 80’s attire. Eek! Can you see it now? Headbands, neon and pastel outfits, crimped and cack-combed hair? How will you pay homage to the BEST era ever? I totally need to think about what the heck I am wearing! I also hear the crowds on the streets are great.
2. The Bridges – This race starts on Jacques Cartier Bridge – a gorgeous steel truss cantilever bridge which crosses the Saint Lawrence River. We also cross Concorde Bridge, going back from the island to the mainland. We are on 4 different bridges during this race – the views are going to rock!
3. Island Hopping – We run from the bridge onto Île Sainte-Hélène, an island just off of Montréal. Did you know it was named in 1611 by Samuel de Champlain (who founded Quebec City) after his wife, Hélène? It’s been a park since 1874, and until Jacque Cartier Bridge was build in 1930, was only accessible by ferry. We then cross over onto Île Notre-Dame, a man-made island, built in from rock excavated for the Montreal Metro in 1965. These two islands make up Parc Jean-Drapeau, where a whole lotta history and fun can be found.
4. While running on St. Hélène, we go past a couple of fun attractions. We pass La Ronde, Quebec’s biggest amusement park! Hmmm roller coaster ride, anyone? Perhaps after the race! We also run by the Biosphère – look for the big dome! It is super unique and was build for Expo 67. It’s now a museum with very cool exhibits all about the environment.
6. On Notre-Dame, we pass Olympic rowing venues and then hit the jackpot at the Casino de Montréal! Even if you are not a gambler, this building is a sight to behold. It is gorgeous. Another notable attraction we run along is the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a Formula One race track!
7. Once we get back off the islands into Montréal, we run up a few kilometres up to Vieux-Montréal, historic city centre! We pass City Hall, which took from 1872-1878 to build. We do not run through all of this fantastic area, but I will definitely be exploring it on my own. There are a lot of National Historic Sites in this city and I cannot wait to get exploring!
8. We end with a Party in the Park. Parc La Fontaine is an 84 acre park in the middle of the city! I am looking forward to exploring the park, as well as chilling out after the race with Canadian band Hedley. And, well, I am totally stoked to be rocking out with all the FAB bands along the route.
9. The Artwork! In addition to the architecture, this city has lovely art – statues throughout the city. I plan of finding and snapping as many awesome selfies as possible. I am also pretty excited about a Rodin exihibit at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts– the biggest exhibition devoted to Rodin ever presented in Canada.
10. I would be remiss if I did not mention food and Montréal in the same sentence. It’s been more than 15 years since I last visited Fairmount Bagel and Schwartz’s Deli, but I will be heading to these spots to to remind my palate of how good the food is. Bagels and Montréal smoked meat for everyone! And then there is poutine. If you are in Montréal, you need to try it. Yes, it’s a Canadian thing. Poutine is a delicious concoction of fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy. Try it traditional BEFORE you get all crazy with toppings. Trust me on this one. And, then I shall also be enjoying ice cream at Cafe Coronet in Saint-Lazare – because my friend Jimmy owns that place. And, ice cream is what is totally ON after a half marathon.
Hope this gives you some FAB ideas on what to see do, and keep your eyes peeled for in this magnificent city. As a Canadian I am excited to see so much history, eat all the food and have all the fun! Hope to see you at the expo (I will be working at CEP booth – come say hello!) or during the race!