Scratching my Montreal itch

Thinking about a return, 16 years later

In 2001, my then-fiancée (now my wife) and I drove to Montreal for a long weekend.

We only had about one full day in the city, and it rained that day, so I had always felt a little cheated and wanted to go back.

Now, I’m back, and have been for the past few days. And while I’ve enjoyed it, something hasn’t quite felt right.

Today, I realized what it was.

I’m not the same guy I was not-quite 16 years ago.

I throughly enjoyed walking through Old Montreal and down to the Old Port, and the museums have been impressive.

Notre-Dame Basilica was a sight to see, and as a sports fan (although not part of the Sports Experts) going to the Bell Centre was great fun.

But in 2001, I hadn’t seen Trafalgar Square in London, Times Square in New York, the French Quarter in New Orleans or Gastown in Vancouver.

I had been to Washington, D.C., but I had never been to Los Angeles, Miami or Asheville, N.C. I hadn’t been on the Riverwalk in San Antonio or stood in the Kop at Anfield. (I wasn’t even a Liverpool fan then.)

So while Montreal doesn’t lack for attractions, since my first visit, I’ve seen a lot of what I didn’t get to see back then, just in other places.

Saint Catherine Street is perhaps the best example. In 2001, it was possibly the most-exciting place I had seen. There seemed to be such a buzz around it.

Now, although the cranes and scaffolding everywhere indicates that something’s going on, it doesn’t feel like much has changed, and the buzz seems to be gone, especially compared to Times Square or Trafalgar.

Montreal is still a great city. I would recommend anyone go. The years between my trips have just removed much of the mystery that existed in 2001.

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