From Toronto we took a short(ish) train ride to Montréal, where we had one day to play before getting back on the train. We needed to hustle!
We began the day with a long walk up to the Mont Royal Lookout and a brilliant view it is too.
First impressions of Montréal is of a sophisticated, fashionable city which is indisputably French. A lot of money is being spent on capital works and the city will be even more beautiful when all this is finished. We were overwhelmed with the buildings we saw on this first trip. Look at these chimneys!
From memory this building belongs to McGill University, as does the building below, which just happens to be the Law building – Mark always sniffs them out!
We headed back to town where we explored some beautiful buildings. This is the Hôtel de Ville, which we eventually worked out isn’t actually an hotel (!), but is the Town Hall. Montréal is celebrating its 375th birthday, so there are a lot of activities going on.
there was another beautiful light fitting in this building. Is Canada full of gorgeous light fittings?
Someone saw us walking round with our mouths open and insisted on taking our photograph, which I include because I quite like it.
We then visited the Chagall exhibition, which was all sorts of extraordinary. I’ve only ever seen isolated pieces of his work, and to see so much in one place was overwhelming. Not only did he paint, sculpt, write music and poetry, he also designed fabric and costumes for operas and theatre. This is a fox suit. I took a photo of it because I thought it might provide inspiration for a nice top (without the tail).
I put this tapestry on Instagram and people thought it was a painting, which is what I thought too until I got close to it.
the piece in its entirety.
No trip to Montréal would be complete without a visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica. The interior is literally jaw dropping and I know we both gasped when we saw it.
We have visited churches all over the world, but I think this has to be one of the most beautiful. My photographs do not do it justice. I would so love to hear the organ being played.
And I had to take a photograph of this staircase – the craftsmanship is just awe inspiring.
We literally tore through the city enjoying our first impressions, and then it was back on the train to take an overnight trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I loved seeing the setting sun with buildings in the background.
We awoke to beautiful weather and I looked out of my window to see this sort of scenery
All meals are included on our train ticket, and I found breakfast to be the most interesting. We would never mix sweet things such as fruit with sausages. This is Mark’s breakfast (I was much more circumspect in my choices), and that’s pancakes with raspberries, lots of fruit, and yes, sausages!
On this leg of the trip I saw two moose, but was far too slow to capture their images for posterity. We also saw a fox bounding through a field, and I felt that it was a prettier colour than our foxes. Foxes in Australia are a real pest and are hunted ferociously by the farmers, but I’m not sure that’s the case in Canada.
I took a few photos, but it was so difficult to get any real perspective. Just take it from me that the passing scenery was glorious.
There were lots of houses circling the lakes (holiday houses, I assume?). How idyllic does this look?
We arrived in Halifax a bit late and did a quick reconnaissance around the city. I found this yarn shop, which was closed, but decided to revisit the next day.
I found all sorts of gorgeousness, including this mini mountain of locally produced yarn.
I was very restrained and only bought one ball of local yarn to make a headband for winter.
We visited the Citadel to witness the changing of the guard, which was nothing like the one at Buckingham Palace. This one is a re-enactment and a young guard tells the audience what’s going on. The “guards” are apparently students who are paid to put on the show. It was still nice to see though, and the bagpiper wasn’t too bad.
We then found the Botanic Gardens which are very pretty. There is a lake with a Titanic replica floating in it. I got a photo with a seagull perched on the end for perspective. It’s pretty small! I think it’s in the lake because the Maritime Museum has some flotsam from the Titanic on permanent display. I hadn’t realised that Halifax played a key role in the disaster. The survivors went to New York, but those who perished were taken to Halifax, along with pieces of wreckage and other memorabilia.
The last photo in the quadrant is the tea rooms, which is a pretty building and we thought we’d stop for tea and scones or something, but the inside was such a disappointment. Nothing charming at all, so we moved on.
It was pretty chilly in Halifax, and rain was forecast for our one full day there, but it held off until the middle of the night, when it swooped in accompanied by gale force winds. I was in bed and didn’t care.
This is the harbour area in the evening, and it’s really pretty. I’m still hanging around in the ubiquitous raincoat and mismatched gloves.
Our train journey is now officially over and we departed Halifax by plane ready for the next phase of our holiday. This map shows the entirety of our train trip across Canada. Red line to Montréal and then blue line to Halifax. Pretty epic!