jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Liv and I went to Montreal for two weeks to visit hatam_soferet and rysmiel and their other halves.

We had to change planes at Ottowa, and the Ottowa-Montreal plane was a propeller plane, the first time I've flown in anything other than a jet plane. You got a lovely view of the countryside.

Everyone was in fact really polite -- four people spontaneously offered us directions on our way home from the airport when we were looking a little lost.

Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa airports all had free wifi. In fact, the log-in page looked very web 1.0, I don't know how long they've had it for. Yay Canada!

Hatam_soferet and other half were lovely as always. It was lovely to see rysmiel at home and meet papersky in person, they were lovely. All of them fed us lots of tea :)

We were shown round an incredible number of nice restaurants and bookshops.

We took visited Toronto for two to three days and took a day trip to Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is very wet. When you're next to it, it's like being in permanent rain, even when you're above it. At first your eye goes, "meh, I've seen this sort of thing before", and then your sense of scale adjusts, and you realise that the fuzzy mist above isn't a cloud, it's a permanent plume of spray twice as high as the falls, and the rocks breaking up the flow are bigger than houses.

There's a string of tourist stuff along the edges of the river, including some nice little parks which all have small fountains. That just seems gratuitous; "hey, look nature, we can do water too!" :) But apparently the niagara flow is entirely controlled by Canada and US water boards, and diverting a lot of it especially at night to produce hydroelectricity.

The countryside between Montreal and Toronto is beautiful, bits of forest and all along the edge of lake Ontario. Coming from English's small-geography I feel if your lake is as big as all of Wales, you can go ahead and call it a "sea". Although someone in the pub questioned whether "sea" meant "salt" or "water evaporates but doesn't flow out".

I realised I knew nothing about Canadian geography until I got there. For the record, Montreal is the capital (?) of Quebec, the large francophone province, although Montreal was usually completely bilingual. Toronto is the biggest Anglophone city, and is more of a typical north-american city, though a nice one. Ottowa is neither, but is the capital.

Date: 2013-09-07 11:46 am (UTC)
onyxlynx: 2 tubular aluminum arcs through which water flows, located in a courtyard in the local Chinatown. (Fountain in Chinatown)
From: [personal profile] onyxlynx
Niagara Falls is quite impressive; I lived a bit further down the river as a child, so saw it quite often.

Date: 2013-09-07 03:49 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
You must have seriously looked lost, because I don't think anyone has spontaneously offered me directions in Montreal—or maybe I'm the outlier, with my ability to look like I know what I'm doing in places I can't even read most of the signs. I do find Montrealers friendly and helpful, though.

I have wondered occasionally why our inland seas are all called lakes, though I realize at this point everyone is used to the names. (And then there's the "Salton Sea," in California, which is much smaller and less impressive than either the Great Lakes or the Great Salt Lake. I suspect a land developer's hand in that one.)

(Montreal is the largest city in Quebec, but the provincial capital is Quebec City, which I keep thinking I want to visit one of these days.)

Seas

Date: 2013-09-07 05:33 pm (UTC)
fanf: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fanf
Re water flowing out, the Black Sea and the Med are examples...

Date: 2013-09-08 07:56 am (UTC)
hairyears: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hairyears
I get over to Canada every 3-5 years, and long may this continue. I enjoy Toronto, and I hope that you and Liv get a chance to spend a bit more time there.

I've passed through Montreal once, and saw very little of it - other than the distinctive ly Gallic driving style - and I have been told that the city is well worth seeing.