More than a year ago I left Montreal not knowing when I might return. Living and working in Germany has given me both the proximity (it's still a twelve hour journey, but that's far better than 26-30 hours from Sydney) and the time (six weeks paid annual leave!) to make a return visit. In fact on this trip, I spent almost three weeks in Montreal.
For the first few days, I wandered about Montreal and re-familiarised myself with the city. On University, just below St. Catherine is a toy store (I forget its name) with a bubble-blowing-bear above its door.
Hmm. So, what is this a picture of? I took this photo at the northern-most reachable part of Isle Notre Dame, looking northward (Montrealers will probably think of this as eastward) through a fence and over 'Lac du Diable'. Apparently this 'lake' is the settling pond for the sewer processing plant for the two islands. This probably explains why there is almost nothing of interest at this end of Isle Notre Dame. I was prevented from getting any closer by the fence and, had I considered climbing it, the presence of a security guard nearby. It seemed to me that the security was excessive for this ah, installation, and the signs warning about an explosion hazard seemed a little over the top. The guard explained to me that this was also the preparation site for the upcoming USA entry in the SAQ International Fireworks Contest. Some background for non-Montrealers: The SAQ is the government-owned monopoly which appears to control all commercial importing and distribution of alcohol in Quebec. The fireworks contest used to be sponsored by Benson and Hedges, but because tobacco is bad for you (and new laws controlling tobacco advertising took effect in Quebec during my absence) the SAQ has taken over the sponsorship. Because alcohol isn't bad for you. Or something.
The close-up shot of the Start/Finish line that I couldn't take last time I was here because, at the time, there was a pack of professional lunatics driving over it at more than 300Km/h. For non-Montrealers, Isle Notre Dame is home to Montreal's Formula 1 track, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. It was named posthumously in honour of Canada's first professional Formula 1 driver, who happened to be born in Quebec. His son Jacques is also a Formula 1 driver.
Elsewhere on Isle Notre Dame I encountered a small garden maze and found this intriguing sculpture within.