Review: Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, Montreal

Oh the relief when you’ve flown long-haul and you finally reach your destination. For me in Montreal, this meant the Queen Elizabeth Fairmont — which sitting literally on top of the city’s central station, smack bang in the middle of the downtown area and seemingly within walking distance to everywhere of note was surely the perfect location for a first-time visitor. I arrived in my room to discover that I had actually had four rooms, which for the sake of factual accuracy I should really refer to by its proper name: a suite. A bowl of fruit, a welcome card…

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My Montreal top 5: jet boating, bars and the Basilica

Here are the top five things that I loved about the city of Montreal. 1.) Notre-Dame Basilica If you see one thing in Montreal, make it the Notre-Dame Basilica in the old town. I honestly had no idea that churches that looked like this existed outside of Europe. Built in the gothic revival style, the church was originally erected in 1672 in stone, but eventually became too small, so was rebuilt. Rather than depicting religious tales, the stained glass windows show important events from Montreal’s history, which is no surprise given that the building plays such a central role in…

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The glamour of Canadian train travel

This is just a quick post, but I had to mention how much I loved this experience. I love going on trains abroad — those double-decker trains that trundle all over Europe, the super-slow train that trundles through the Tuscan countryside, even the Eurostar. Travelling by train in the UK doesn’t quite have the same mystery and excitement as doing so in other countries, perhaps because those journeys tend to be pretty… functional. As you might imagine, when I found out I would be travelling by train through Canada I got disproportionately excited, and the whole experience from beginning to…

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Art and beauty in downtown Montreal

To say Montreal was not on its best behaviour when I arrived is an understatement. A freak monsoon and thick layer of cloud blighted the city, which is usually reliably sunny throughout June. It was not the warm, summery welcome I had hoped for, but thus is the nature of travel — the weather doesn’t always behave just because you are on your holidays. The city may not have put all its beauty on show, but I was determined to find some hidden in between the skyscrapers. Fortunately, I was in luck. An ingenious town-planning scheme means that one percent…

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Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios in the Montreal big top

Last night I had the privilege of going to see Cirque du Soleil’s brand new show in the company’s hometown of Montreal. I’ve seen a couple of Cirque du Soleil shows before as they’ve toured their way through the UK, so I knew to expect a surreal and mesmerising spectacle. This new show is called Kurios, Cabinet des Curiosites and it was a gorgeous steampunk saga with a cast of oddball characters that could have come straight out of a Victorian fairground. I am a huge fan of the steampunk aesthetic in general, so I was predisposed to enjoy the…

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