This weekend, our internship group visited Montreal during the Victoria Day weekend. In addition to being a vibrant city that provided a close-to-home taste of French culture, Montreal is celebrating its 375th birthday. Lucky for us, they were having celebrations for this, Victoria Day, and Canada’s 150th birthday on the same weekend. After coming in on Friday night, we spent the evening touring McGill University and climbing Mount Royal, Montreal’s highest point. Saturday was spent enjoying local fair from gastro-sushi bars and the famous Jardin Nelson. Sunday was spent at the Stade Olympique, exploring the remnants of the 1976 games.
From this weekend, I learned two things: The best way to learn a language is immersion, and Olympic Complexes aren’t always wasted when the games are over.
As far as learning languages, I had never spoken French before coming to Canada. In just two weeks of immersion into a bilingual culture, I have learned to order food, answer the phone for my office, and carry on basic conversation in French. This benefited my group at dinner on Friday in Montreal, when the waitress was unable to speak proficient English. Fortunately, we had the ability to speak French, and were able to navigate an entire weekend with relative ease.
In the past, it has been noted that Olympic stadiums and complexes have gone to waste after the conclusion of the Games. However, this isn’t the case for the 1976 Stade Olympique. The City of Montreal has kept the entire complex up since its foundation, mainly for the purpose of housing local sports teams. Most notably, the Stade has served as the home to the Expos baseball club, the Impact MLS team, and the Alouettes of the CFL. However, the rest of the complex is being put to good use as well: Parts of the grounds have been converted into physiotherapy practices, cinemas, and even an indoor zoo! As someone who is interested in urban sustainability, this impressed me, and I serves as a great inspiration for future ideas for large-scale projects.
All in all, Montreal was filled with amazing people, dynamic culture, and plenty of wonderful events and places to experience! Hopefully I’ll actually take a decent picture before my next post, and will be able to show you all everything I’ve been up to…