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In & Around /Volume 1 /Issue 42

October 20, 2016
This Week:
The Great Pumpkin Ball in Montréal’s Botanical Garden
Aquarium du Québec in Québec City

IN: Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin Ball

With this weekend’s less-than-awesome weather, I thought I’d send you into the outdoors… indoors. Once again, the Botanical Garden is putting on their Great Pumpkin Ball featuring unique pumpkin creations created by Montrealers of all ages. You can begin your visit experiencing the regular indoor garden (which takes you through myriad environments so it really does feel like you’re outside), and continue on through to the pumpkin design showcases, Esmerelda the Witch’s storytelling and a 1,300 pound behemoth of a pumpkin. The feeling of being outdoors during a “weather-challenged” weekend coupled with the cute and awesome pumpkin designs is a great way to spend an afternoon. 

Great Pumpkin Ball

The Good: 

  1. As always, getting to the Botanical Garden without a car is a breeze. Since biking anywhere this weekend doesn’t look like it will be too much fun, grab the metro and you’ll pop out right there.
  2. They’ve got a Little Monsters Courtyard set up to entertain the wee ones under the age of ten with mazes, shaky bridge, tunnels and other fun things. 
  3. Pépo will be putting on his final show after a 23 year run. Heads up – the show is intended for kids aged 4-8, is free, and in French only.

The Bad:

  1. Tickets for a family of four will set you back $27.00. That’s not horrible, but I put it here because, if you’re like me, you may get sucked into their gift shop and spend an equal amount on a plant afterwards.
  2. This sounds silly, but keep a handle on your wee ones in the cactus room. Danger, danger. For real.
  3. If you do drive, parking is $12.00. That is less than great.

The Useful:

  1. The Great Pumpkin Ball, 4101 Sherbrooke St East, 514-872-1400.
  2. Official Website (and more info on the Little Monsters Courtyard)
  3. Another nice little video from the Botanical Garden’s people summarizing this cool event.

Pro Tip:

  • Your ticket also grants you access to the grounds outside (in case the rain holds off) and the Gardens of Light. I suggest heading to The Great Pumpkin Ball a little later in the day if you want to take advantage of the Gardens of Light (they really shine after sundown).

AROUND: Québec City’s Aquarium du Québec

Again, with Mother Nature planning what she’s planning this weekend, the Aquarium du Québec is a great way to experience the nature & the outdoors… indoors. Focusing on the water life of the St Lawrence River and coastal eastern Canada, the outdoor installations include some amazing swimming polar bears, walruses, seals, arctic foxes, while the indoor space allows you to touch starfish, sea urchins and rays! And not to be outdone, the jellyfish light show is a total jaw dropper. The movement of these wonderful creatures within their enclosures, to the eye-popping ever changing colour display, is truly something to see. 

Aquarium du Québec

The Good:

  1. If you don’t pack yourself a lunch, the food here is surprisingly not exorbitant. 
  2. There are a few good pricing options depending on your group/family make up. 
  3. Nemo and Dory are here. You can’t touch them, but you CAN touch the rays.

The Bad:

  1. The underwater tunnel is pretty disappointing for something that can be so cool. It’s short, shallow and doesn’t have the WOW factor I was expecting.
  2. If it’s still there, don’t pay the money to try out their “special wind machine”. Better to just toss your $2 in the sewer.
  3. Driving to Québec City is boring. Very boring. There’s no way around it… 

The Useful:

Pro Tip:

  • Although Québec City is an easy day-trip from Montréal, if you end up staying the night, and the weather remains wet & cold, do yourself the favour of visiting their Musée de Civilization. You will not be disappointed.

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
– May Sarton | b. 1912 | American Poet & Novelist

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