I had previously been in Canada two times in my life.
The first was to Montreal, Quebec in 2011 for bachelor party. But given that I was one of 17 people on that trip, all of whom had to juggle our work schedules just to make it work, it was a short stay.
We were in and out in just over 36 hours, and were only concerned with doing bachelor party things rather than actually exploring the city and sightseeing. I was also 24 at the time and didn’t really care about that stuff.
The second time was even shorter. It was Labor Day weekend 2014 during a trip to Buffalo. Upon visiting Niagara Falls, we hopped over the border (not literally — we went through Customs) to get to the Ontario side. We only stayed for a couple of hours.
So I was due to return. For one, given the mass shootings, police mistrust and chaotic elections in the U.S. and the endless drug and gang wars in Mexico, Canada has pretty much become the Shangri-La of North America.
It was also a sensible time to make the trip given the political landscape down here, in case I needed to scout out a place to live in preparation for a Trump presidency.
Thus, return to Montreal I did. The motivation for the trip was to attend the Osheaga Music Festival, one of the country’s premier musical events. I went with three friends because we all universally liked the festival’s three headliners: the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey and Radiohead.
It’s pretty impossible not to like Montreal. The city is large but extremely clean and navigable, with a fairly simple subway system and very nice people. It has a very modern look but also its fair share of ancient architecture.
More than half of its citizens are bilingual — speaking both French and English — and I can’t emphasize this enough: the women are beautiful.
If you do visit Montreal anytime soon, prepare for three things — you will be drinking Tim Hortons coffee instead of Dunkin’ Donuts, you will probably be thrown off by the country’s absence of the penny, and the default beer is not a Budweiser, but a Molson.
And the only French you really need to know is bonjour (hello) and merci (thank you).
And as a well-documented festival goer, I could not have been more impressed with Osheaga. Like the city, it was vast but accessible. With several stages peppered around the spacious festival grounds, not too many people were in the same place at once (with the exception of the headliners).
There was plenty of interesting activities, artsy structures, scenic views, food trucks and other forms of entertainment to keep you occupied if you felt like taking a break from the music, which also featured some great undercard acts like the Lumineers, Haim, Silversun Pickups and the Wombats. Disclosure did not make it, which meant absolutely nothing to me.
And did I mention?
The women were gorgeous.
God bless the north.