Posted Jul 3, 2009 in Travel | 0 Comments


Notre Dame Graffiti

Montreal for Under $100

Living in Toronto can tap you out. Having lived here for a few months I’ve come to realize that “fun” comes with a cost in this great city. So far, urbanites that need the big city nightlife but are tapped for funds, my suggestion to you is a weekend in Montreal. Believe it or not, this can be done for under 100$.

How does one get there without wringing ones wallet? There’s no better way then through email. The link between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal are so strong, emailing your friends in the hopes of getting a lift, can achieve results. There are so many inter-provincial relationships between these 2 cities that the traffic is endless. Herein is my ghetto trip to mini-Paris.

Within hours I had 4 lifts leaving at various times. Heading down the 401 in a 2-seater BMW with my friends brother, I managed to guarantee myself free transportation every 2 weeks if ever needed.

COST = $35 chip in for gas

Arriving in Montreal I managed to bump into an old classmate of mine studying at Concordia University. The thought of me staying at a hostel/hotel insulted her. As a typical Montrealer her doors were opened for me to stay. (Emailing friends can also find you shelter provided youre respectful)

COST= $30 buy him/her dinner, invite to Toronto (or Ottawa)

Residing in the infamous artsy district of the Plateau, there was no lack of cheap eats around. Though eating was cheap it did not mean lack of quality. The plateau contains little Portugal and various other communities. I managed to befriend a “dread” that convinced me to try out a little chicken shack on the corner of Rachel and Clark. The Rotisserie Portugalia was probably the best chicken I’ve tasted outside Jamaica. We managed to devour a whole chicken with fries.

COST= $11 but dont expect a smile.

Rotisserie Portugalia

Hunger satiated, I then looked for entertainment. Montrealer’s, as numerous Ontarians grudgingly admit have amazing arts, fashion, dining and dancing. Combine these and you have the St-Laurent street sale. From DJ’s spinning the best that the underground offers, to Brazilian Carnivals, to discount shopping, and dozens of outdoor terraces what more could you possibly ask for? Oh by the way, did I fail to mention that the men are HOT. Oh, the women are pretty too. What more could you possibly ask for.

COST= Free

During the summer the nightclubs are packed with tourists while the natives are lounging in lofts, parks, and terraces. Did I go out Saturday night? Yes, but never stepped into a bar. Why bother when the city streets themselves are thriving.

Sunday afternoons are even better as you have the various choices of free outdoor entertainment to choose from. The festivals at times outnumber the people, you name it, and they have it. Who would have thought people would be interested enough to have a festival on “cheese”? If you’re lactose intolerant like me, stay away.

I started my day on Ile Ste-Helene with PikNik Electronique. This is an outdoor dance floor where different DJ’s showcase their skills for the masses. Weekly a few hundred revelers gather for a picnic and dance. This is remarkable not just for the dancing but the amazing view of the entire port and city, as it’s located right on the shores of the island under an old expo 67 statue.

COST= $5 and a transit ticket $2.55

Hunger eventually set in and after a short metro (subway) ride I wound up in Old Montreal for lunch at one of the various bistros. One of the oldest areas in North America and one of the hottest real estate neighborhoods in Canada, it never ceases to amaze me. As long as you don’t mind crowds this is quite a setting. However, I probably would have appreciated it more with a date.

Old Montreal

COST= $8 gourmet sandwich,  $3 drink

With a full belly I decided to walk up hill to Mount Royal to attend what the locals refer to as TAM TAM. This outdoor musical orgy is an incredible slice of multi-cultural Canada. It’s a perfect example of what international society should be. Hundreds of people of various backgrounds dancing to the constant thumping of dozens of drummers. Complete strangers, these drummers manage to collaborate with each their own unique and native style.

Tam Tam

COST = Free

With a quick 5-minute walk to my “hotel room” I awaited 30 minutes before my “driver” picked me up for a return trip to the big city. He asked me what I did during the weekend and I responded, “What Montrealers do”. He just smiled and understood.

COST= Priceless!

Now here this, don’t be afraid to venture outside of your regular haunts. There is no mythical monster that will give you impotence if leaving. Don’t be afraid to cop a lift. No one really likes driving alone. A conversation makes the hours pass a lot faster then some cd’s. Who knows, maybe you might give them a reason to stay with you for more then just a weekend…

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