Canadian traveller Tiffany Magee felt a calling to visit Australia a few years ago. Tiffany has explored most of Australia and has seen parts of the country many Australians have never been to! Her first-hand experiences in Australia has given her a unique perspective about her homeland. Canada is a land of lakes and rivers and while her heart is in two lands, Although Canada is home, and where her family is, Tiffany also loves so much about Australia. We caught up with her to find out why she loves the Montreal winter season.
What do you miss most about Montreal?
What I miss about Montreal, whenever I travel, is the changing of the leaves. It’s nice having the four seasons because you get to experience different moods. In Australia, time seems to fold into one big season.
In Montreal, there’s no denying the changes of the seasons. You notice time passing and experience four different ways of life throughout the year.
What’s the best time to visit Montreal?
There’s the Montreal summer heat and humidity, while in autumn, all of the leaves change colour and the trees are on fire.
Winter in Montreal brings snow and long dinners. While in spring in Montreal, you’re running around amongst the flowers.
Winter in Montreal is a season you don’t really get to experience in Australia. Actually, I miss the beauty of winter in Montreal. I miss walking onto a street freshly blanketed in snow and experiencing moments of quiet and calm.
What are some things to do in Montreal in winter?
Montreal was where I grew up. I moved there when I was 12. I got to see those experiences with fresh eyes so it has been a very special place and a city I cherish.
Montreal is great for its artists and it’s an expressive funky city.
The most popular part is the old port along the water where the Cathedral Notre Dame, which is sensational.
Actually, the cathedral is breathtakingly beautiful, even though it’s small. And seeing the cathedral during the Montreal festival of lights (Montreal en Lumiere), decorated with lights in early winter is one of the more pleasurable things to do in Montreal in the winter.
Visiting the old port at night is one of things to do in old Montreal that you should not miss.
Despite being a massive tourist attraction, it’s still a popular local spot for its beautiful old architecture and charming ambiance.
Along the St Lawrence River, which used to be a port, there are old silos and massive warehouses that have been restored and New York loft-style apartments.
Compared to Aussie prices you’ll get lots of bang for your buck in Montreal. Montreal is probably one of the cheapest big cities to live. I used to think it was expensive until I went to Australia!
Favourite Montreal restaurant?
Montreal has amazing restaurants in random spots. But my favourite restaurants are in the Old Port. I really do think that’s where the best restaurants are.
Montrealers are particularly proud of their chefs, like Chuck Hughes of Garde Manger and Le Bremner, who shot to fame when he won the Iron Chef America competition with his Lobster Poutine. Montreal went wild when that happened!
Where to shop in Montreal?
Rue St Denis is the main French Street and that’s where you go for shopping, great cafes, French cheese shops and funky boutiques. It’s quirky and interesting.
Look out for the colourful Quebec style that has emerged and chic Montreal fashions.
It’s also a young street full of fun. There are cat cafes (Café du chat) where you can go and sit and drink coffee while the cats rub up against your ankles and head!
Best spot in Montreal after dark?
For nightlife, St Lawrence is the place. It’s the original main street of Montreal and it has grown to become massive.
Rue St Lawrence has become a dining and entertainment spot where you’ll find your lounges, bars, music clubs and jazz clubs.
Another favourite Montreal winter activity is skiing! When I’m away, I miss skiing and snowboarding every weekend.
There’s a whole range of mountains from 20 minutes to one hour and 45 minutes outside of Montreal.
The highest peak in the Laurentians is Mt Tremblant. It’s the most expensive, but it also has an incredible village with so many activities.
You’ll be doing something different every day. It’s windier and colder than the other mountains.
I prefer Mt Blanc because it’s cheaper and smaller. Mt Blanc is where a lot of the locals go. It’s still the second highest mountain in the Laurentians.
Mt Blanc is a 1.5-hour drive from Montreal so locals don’t usually stay overnight. But there are lots of ski-in ski-out chalets on the mountain if you’re looking for somewhere to stay.
If you’re an expert skier I’d recommend going to Mt Sutton in the Eastern Townships.
Near Quebec City, Le Massif is really good because over half of the trails are black diamonds. The best thing about Le Massif is the amazing view of the St Lawrence from just about anywhere on the mountain.
What’s the difference between eastern and western Canada?
I’d definitely recommend visiting Eastern Canada. It’s different to rest of Canada.
The Eastern Townships has some of the most beautiful landscape you’ll ever come across.
It’s smaller but more accessible to explore. You could talk for a whole day about Quebec City alone.
It has beautiful architecture and it lets off this vibe that makes you feel like you’re somewhere else. Then there’s the French tradition of really long dinners.
On the weekends you go skiing and snowboarding, sledding, ice skating, movies, libraries, art museums.
What about summer in Montreal?
In summer, Montrealers are outside enjoying every part of the summer, walking and biking.
I miss the Montreal festival season (from June to August) when there are so many festivals like the Jazz Fest, Comedy Fest, Caribbean, African.
Every Wednesday and Saturday night, there’s fireworks in the old town. You sit by the water and watch the fireworks and listen to music.
A lot of people take the train so you get to see the whole country from west to east. I’ve done the entire east side and it has so much to offer, but no one ever goes there.
I love Canada. It’s my home. Montreal is an incredible city. It’s so perfect. It’s small and has a great vibe and so much to do. Every place is quality. I love it, but I also love Australia.
Tiffany Magee is a Canadian who lived in Australia
When planning your trip to Canada, consider taking the trans Canada railway for a leisurely chug through the country.