August 7, 2005

The nearest foreign foreign city

No, the title isn't a typo. Dryden is a few hours away from Canada at Niagara Falls, and Toronto isn't that much further. While those are great places to visit, they aren't exactly foreign to most Americans. The primary language is still English, and signs still look mostly the same. It's definitely not the U.S., but it doesn't feel, well, foreign. (There's a blinking green light thing I should figure out, though.)

The nearest place to Dryden where you're in a foreign city and it's obvious is Montréal, about six and a half hours north. They still speak English (though it helps if you start in French), but it's clear that you're no longer in the U.S. The architecture is a mix of old European and new modernist buildings, French signs dominate, and it feels more like Europe in large and small ways.

I spent last week in Montréal, attending the Extreme Markup Languages conference. I was also blogging on it (1 2 3 4), though you'll probably not find that interesting unless you have a deep technical interest in all things XML. I got a ride up with friends, though, and that gave me an extra day to walk around Montréal.

I walked up to the top of the Parc Mont-Royal, enjoying both the wooded walkway and the views at the top.

The Parc Mont-Royal
Trail at the Parc Mont-Royal.

View of Montreal from the Parc Mont-Royal
A view of Montreal from the Parc Mont-Royal.

I also walked along Ste-Catherine Street, which combines shopping with tourist traps and the occasional familiar restaurant.

Ste-Catherine Street
Ste-Catherine Street scene.

I've posted galleries of my walk through through Parc Mont-Royal, my getting lost in McGill University, and my walk along and around Ste-Catherine Street. I wish I'd gotten to take some pictures along the St. Lawrence River and in old Montréal, but I didn't have my camera with me when I went.

Some highpoints:

(And despite my last name, I don't speak French. I should probably work on that, as I go to this conference every year, and it's always in Montréal.)

Posted by simon at August 7, 2005 3:26 PM in
Note on photos