During the charming autumn months, my typical weekend would start at Parc Oméga, in Montebello, only a few miles away from Montreal. The park is a true wildlife sanctuary. All the creatures wander around freely and you can stop your car anytime to feed them with carrots. Don’t come without these snacks or you would miss all the cuteness. Ladies, make sure to stay away from the male stags as this is also rut season! The encounter with wolves and bears is a pretty amazing experience, however, this is the only place where a fence will keep you safe from the unpredictable beasts. They are not all teddy bears and huggable dogs.
After a morning/afternoon spent in the loving arms of Mother Nature, it is time to dive into the local culture and have a taste of our beloved Belle Province: the sugar shack. Even though maple sugar season is not until March, you can still pig out on every single typical treat the Sucrerie de la Montagne has to offer. Meat pie, pea soup, soufflé omelet, and, my all-time favorite, crispy pork rinds. Best of all, everything is sprinkled with homemade maple syrup. Plus, local musicians play traditional Canadian songs while you enjoy your meal. Trust me, it is the best way to feel like a true Quebecer.
The sugar shack is not even an hour away from Montreal, so by the time you will get back, the night will still be young. When it comes to drinking, I have a few go-to bars in the city. La Distillerie not only offers a really cool, casual setting but also huge cocktails served in a jar concocted by their expert mixologists. Drinking usually works up an appetite so if you do not feel too stuffed from the sugar shack, head to Au Pied de Cochon and try their famous foie gras poutine. This typical dish is made of French fries topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds. Mark my words, you will actually want to go to the gym after this.
As Halloween approaches, every house you pass by is decorated with jack-o’-lanterns, bogeymen, spider webs, and skeletons. I love wandering around the residential parts of the city at this time of year. I usually end up hiking one of the many trails that crosses the Mount Royal Park until I reach the top of ‘The Mountain’. From the belvedere, admire the magnificent views of the skyline. If I am feeling lazy, I just go to the Atwater Market to pick up some funky pumpkins before taking a stroll along the Lachine Canal. A classic Sunday afternoon.
If you are spending Halloween in Montreal, you will have a million options for celebrating. I always find myself going to four different parties that weekend. Montrealers are serious about the Day of the Dead. If you are traveling with kids or teenagers, I would recommend celebrating at La Ronde. For the occasion, the amusement park houses zombies, vampires, and other scary inhabitants. If you are traveling alone, with friends, or with your significant other, go to one of the many parties hosted by all the clubs in the city. I almost always go to the Halloween Party in the Satosphère, a must! (Tickets not yet on sale)
Why stop there? If you enjoyed your Montreal experience, you should definitely extend your stay and explore some of the best Quebec hidden gems. Stay tuned, I also have another story about Christmas time in Canada…
[Photo credits: Sarah Duvivier & Sébastien Roy]