Last summer, Jasmine and I made our way to Montréal for the August long weekend and the 2013 Osheaga Music and Arts Festival. Osheaga always takes place during this long weekend which usually falls on the 2nd to the 4th of August. We decided to tackle the eight hour trip the most affordable way – by bus. I had both driven myself and taken the bus to Montréal in the past so we thought it would be a breeze. What followed was more of a hurricane. Nonetheless our journey began with having a few drinks at Les 3 Brasseurs in Toronto while waiting for our departure time. Note that our DSLR camera was not purchased yet.
When I had traveled to Montréal previously, I had taken a midnight bus that went from Toronto – Montréal . This allowed my friends and I to sleep on the way down and wake up in the city when we arrived, basically nullifying the long bus ride. What I didn’t realize when booking this particular trip was that the company we had used in the past was Megabus. This time, having a false sense of experience, I rushed through the process and booked with Greyhound. Without noticing I had signed us up for an early layover around Ottawa. At 5am. What a wonderful surprise that was. By the time I realized it was too late and refunds were out of the question.
While a little more tired, we made it to Montréal in fine form. Though the moral of the story is to NEVER rush your bookings.
We arrived at our beautiful little hotel in the heart of downtown, the Maison Brunet. This small hotel was incredibly accommodating and each morning we were greeted with a plate of fresh baked rolls, fruit, and beverages. Our room had a large windowsill where we could both sit with pillows and enjoy the scenes below us. But now on to the festival.
Due once more to school, we had to miss the Friday of the festival which also happened to be the best day. Luckily we still got to see Beach House, Alt-J, Grouplove, Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers, Silversun Pickups, Tegan and Sara, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Porter Robinson, Flogging Molly, and a few others. The singer of the Lumineers even managed to get off stage and walk through the crowd, finishing the set quite close to us.
On day two we had some extra time to visit my favourite poutine restaurant – La Banquise. Nestled in the borough of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, it is roughly a half hour walk from downtown (and well worth it). They are open 24 hours a day and boast over 30 variations of poutine. Most options simply add a bunch of toppings to classic poutine. I fell in love with the La T-Rex the first time I ventured in and haven’t looked back. Its toppings are ground beef, pepperoni, bacon, and hot-dog sausage. Jasmine decided on La Taquise which has guacamole, tomatoes, and sour cream. Ordering the large is only for the bravest. As you can see from our regulars, they have enormous portions.
In the evenings we shopped along the well known Rue Sainte-Catherine and wandered the city. We even managed to obtain some wine from a convenience store past the regular serving time of 11pm by paying about 3 dollars extra. He quietly asked us to place it in our backpacks as to not draw attention. It felt very clandestine. We closed our nights sitting in our windowsill and sipping wine – the perfect way to unwind.
All in all our trip was an incredible time. Osheaga proved to be a great festival and Montréal is a city full of history and depth. I recommend trying the food, the shopping, and taking some time to visit the cobblestoned streets of Vieux-Montréal (Old Montréal). If you are familiar with speaking French it’s also a great time to practice! While you may be laughed at a little, most appreciate the effort.
It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that I always find myself back in the City of Saints not long after I’ve left.