Written for Daily Hive by Emma Spears
A Canada-wide long weekend approacheth! As Montrealers know, it’s not Victoria Day here in Quebec – it is the Journée Nationale des Patriotes, because we don’t like to celebrate anything that doesn’t stick it to the British.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, England!
Speaking of putting things in your pipe and smoking them, if that’s your plan for the long weekend then Grow has got you covered with a list of complimentary activities right here in the city that are the perfect way to enjoy your high.
Class it up post-sesh and pretend to be cultured! There’s nothing like the smug sense of self-satisfaction that comes with casually telling everyone you spent the day at the Museum of Fine Arts (bonus if you are an Anglo who insists on calling it the musée). Snobbery aside, the permanent collection is both awesome and free, and the boutique has a fine assortment of artisnal salad bowls and complicated earrings. It’s open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm but closed May 21.
Solid choices include Parc La Fontaine, the entire upper part Mont Royal, or the architecture-inspired park behind the CCA, but we have like a thousand parks here. If you haven’t walked past a park today then you haven’t left your house (no judgement). Go to a park. There are no bad parks.
It’s supposed to kind of suck outside this weekend on the island. Stay in and make poutine. Eating poutine is basically our national pastime, like how smoking cigarettes is our national hobby, and, even if you’re a culinary novice, it is basically impossible to mess up poutine. Throw in a six-pack of Labatt 50, wrap yourself in a blue blanket, and consider it practice for la Saint-Jean next month. Vive le Québec! Consider it your patriotic contribution to the munchies.
Wander aimlessly around the festival grounds! Play some giant chess, go for a ride on the musical swings, gorge yourself at one (or many) food trucks, or walk aimlessly and way too slowly down one of the busiest sidewalks you can find (points for stopping dead in the middle of said sidewalk in front of a shoe store and gawking at it like you’ve never seen one in your ENTIRE LIFE). It doesn’t get much more Montreal than that.
Not feeling very celebratory? Got a heart as black as your lungs? You don’t have to go far in Montreal to encounter some dark sh*t. Stroll past the Allan Memorial Institute, where Dr. Ewen Cameron conducted mind-control experiments for the CIA, hike through the strip of land between the Allan and the now-abandoned Royal Victoria Hospital, where a nurse found the still-unidentified mummified remains of a female patient, check out the Oratoire St-Joseph or the Notre-Dame Basilica, both of which contain some pretty intense reliquaries (they are open to the public, but remember to be respectful), wander through the centuries-old Mont Royal and Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemeteries. This is your direct way to a maudlin day, if that’s what you’re after.
If all else fails just take a sweet, sweet nap. It’s what les Patriotes would have wanted.