In & Around /Volume 1 /Issue 37

September 15, 2016

This Week:
Cité Mémoire in Old Montréal
La Montagne Noire in St-Donat

IN: Old Montréal’s Cité Mémoire

Are you a fan of the long, tumultuous and awesome history of our beautiful city… and mind-blowing multimedia installations? Well you’re in luck because Cité Mémoire will blow you away. I’ll let the Montréal en Histoires official website sum up the awesomeness that is this wonderfully unique visual, audio and digital experience: “Loosely inspired by the history of Montreal, Cité Mémoire invites you to meet a host of characters who’ve witnessed the city’s evolution first-hand. Poetic, dreamlike and occasionally playful, the tableaux come alive with images, words and music. Projected throughout Old Montreal, the work appears on the very walls that surround us, the ground on which we walk, the trees that frame our present. Every evening at dusk…”.

Cité Mémoire

The Good: 

  1. There are a few circuits to choose from depending on your desires, so you can really tailor this to you.
  2. Aside from Robert Lepage’s Le moulin à images in Québec City, I’ve never experienced something so engaging, so visual, so… awesome.
  3. On the night circuit, you will experience the Tableaux you see in the photos above, Augmented Reality and Points of Interest along the way, giving you a fully immersive experience.

The Bad:

  1. Well, it’s not supposed to be the nicest of weekends, so keep an eye on Météo Média and plan accordingly.
  2. If you can only get down to Old Mtl to do this once, it can be annoying to try and pick and choose the “best” circuit to do. 
  3. Although you can still experience this amazing techno-historic masterpiece without a smartphone, you’d be missing out on some of the best bits of Cité Mémoire.

The Useful:

  1. Cité Mémoire, 170 St. Paul Street West (a good starting point), 514-666-1861.
  2. Official Website (and link to the iOS app and Android app).
  3. Don’t forget to connect to the free MtlWiFi network during your sojourn!

Pro Tip:

  • If Cité Mémoire gets your engines revving, then perhaps you’d like to explore Montréal on foot all year round. What better way than to join one of the many organized walking clubs in Montréal? Check out this article from the Montreal Gazette that highlights the benefits of walking and the details of a few great local walking clubs that you can join up with.

AROUND: St-Donat’s Montagne Noire

La Montagne Noire is one of my favourite places to be in and around Montréal, summer or winter (look for a winter write up early 2017). It’s close, at about an hour and a half, it has free parking right at the trailhead, the trails are well maintained, and, like PENS, you get to experience nature’s terrain variety at its best. I would recommend ascending by the Inter-centre (north trail) and descending by Les Randonneurs des Hauts Sommets (south trail) – this will give you a nice 12+ KM loop. To get the most out of your day, I’d allow for some extra time to hang out at the summit, even take a dip in Lac Lézard, but most of all to revel in the history of this mountain. You see, La Montagne Noire is the site of the worst airline disaster in Canadian Military History, occurring during WWII, on a routine voyage between Newfoundland and Québec. The Canadian military plane dubbed ‘Liberator Harry‘ crashed into La Montagne Noire in October of 1943, claiming the lives of all aboard. The fatal crash site was found only in 1946 and wreckage remains on the mountain along with a cenotaph, crosses and information panels to pay homage to the 24 members of the RCAF who died that night. It makes for a truly unique hiking experience.

Montagne Noire

The Good:

  1. Seeing debris from a plane crash might not be for everyone, but if you allow it, you can really dive deep into emotion here.
  2. The trail is pretty forgiving so good for the whole family (as long as the whole family is cool with a solid 6+ hour hike).
  3. If you really wanted, you could spend the night at the summit by booking the Refuge Mésangeai… it’s… outstanding!

The Bad:

  1. Depending on the route you choose, you may end up, for a while, on the Sentier Inter-centre / Sentier National trail, which can feel like a hiking highway – not people wise, just width & terrain wise.
  2. The parking is free but there are only 20 spots, so hit it early if you can!
  3. I did not see a soul on my hike, including wildlife… and I like wildlife.

The Useful:

Pro Tip:

  • Make a little detour on your way home to get a fresh pie from the famous Boulangerie Saint-Donat (you know, the brown-boxed pies you see in all the grocery stores). Straight out of the bakery is the way to go both from a taste and price point of view!

“The earth has music for those who listen.”
– William Shakespeare | b. 1564 | English Poet, Playwright, Actor

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