Montreal is a very different city then Quebec. Quebec was a military post controlling the traffic going up the St Lawrence river. The town centre is much older and strategically placed on top of a hill overlooking the river. Montreal is built on islands in the St. Lawrence river. At this point there is a rapid in the river so ships could not passed. A canal was dug from 1821 to 1825 to bypass the rapid. Over the years the canal was twice expanded (1843 and 1873) to cater for larger ships. In the end a new canal was dug through the Southern bank. The Lachine canal became obsolete (1970) and was partly filled up. Now it is reopened for recreational boats and along its banks is a 14 km cycle path. We wanted to rent bicycles to cycle along the canal but we were far too early and the shop was still close. Instead we walked at 2 places along the canal. In the city where you can see the remains of the old harbour and grain silos where the goods were transferred from ocean-going ships to smaller ships steaming all the way to the Great Lakes. At the other end of the canal we walked to the end point where it meets the St. Lawrence again. On the other side of the river you could see a large ship sailing up over the new canal (St Lawrence Seaway, 1959). The old docks along the St. Lawrence are now used as an amusement park with a Ferris wheel etc and the original Cirque du Soleil show.
The old town has many classical buildings with Greek columns. Most of them are banks or the Stock exchange. Or let’s say were. In one of them the old window tills are now used as dispensary of drinks. The Basillique Notre-Dame (1829) has a very impressive interior. The left and right nave has a 2 story balcony so it looks a bit like a theatre. The church must have a large capacity. Like the other Catholic churches we saw to date, the inside is covered with wall to wall decorations and the altar piece is full of gold plated statues. Very impressive indeed.
At the end of the afternoon a severe thunderstorm passed by. We were almost back at the camper when it started to bucket down with hail and rain. We found shelter at a bus stop and in a lul,l we ran to the camper before all hell broke loose. We slept at an enormous car park surrounded by many large retail shops. There were other campers too. In the morning we all found a ticket under our window. Apparently you were not allowed to stay overnight here. This must be the new city ordinance. After the second walk along the beginning point of the Lachine canal, we drove back into town to visit the Musee des Beaux-Arts. It was Friday and the town was packed. Finding a parking place was not easy and most parking garages accommodate only normal cars. We finally managed to park our car at the McGill University stadium car park. Later on we noticed that several streets were closed off with different stalls of the teams racing in the Formula 1 race on Sunday. I hope that Max Verstappen wins (again). The museum stretches out over 4 building which are connected underground with each other. We spent some 2 hours there and saw a large variety of objects and arts from all over the world as well as Dutch, French classical and Canadian modern paintings.