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Nathan's Travel Logs & The Railfan's Girlfriend

Oh, Canada! (Part 3)
17-JUL-2010 to 25-JUL-2010

A trip that my girlfriend, Erin, and I took to Canada to visit her family. We visited Toronto, Ont., Montreal, Qbc., Ottawa, Ont., and Niagara Falls, Ont. This included visiting ExpoRail in the Montreal metro.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 (Cont.)

After walking outside the main pavilion, we walked around the grounds, looking at all of the restored rolling stock and other equipment as well as equipment that is currently being restored or due for restoration.


Ron Jones (right) and I posing in front of the camera while on the ground of ExpoRail. Ron and his wife Susan, were at ExpoRail from the Toronto Metro. Ron, a listener to the "Let's Talk Trains" show, and his wife Susan were in Montreal for short holiday [vacation]. I was walking the ground and was taking photos, when Ron stopped me and said that they were going to be pulling one of the steam locomotives out of the other enclosure for public viewing. That is when he recognized my voice and asked me if I was "Nathan of Kansas City, and the 'Let's Talk Trains Show.'" Boy, isn't a small world!



After walking about half way around the grounds, the three of us were tired from walking around the grounds. We decided to ride the trolley the back to main entrance and the front of the main pavilion.

There were about ten other groups already on, when we got on the trolley, though we were the only Anglos (English-speaking) on the trolley. When we started moving, the operator was telling up, in French, about the organization, it's history and about the grounds. Erin's cousin, Chris, translated for Erin and I. After a few minutes, the operator figured out that Chris was translating for us, he would say a few sentences, pause and wait for Chris to translate, and then continue. After arriving at the main entrance/main pavilion, the three of us disembarked and when we got off the trolley, the operator apologized for not presenting the information in English, but said that because Chris was translating for us, there would not be any confusion. While riding the trolley, we got to see a lot of the rolling stock and locomotives in the yard as well as a GO train going past the ground towards Montreal.

We then walked to the secondary enclosed pavilion, which houses other rolling stock and locomotives where are under repair and due to be under repair. This would include the the Flying Scotsman's sister, a large wedge-style snow plow the John Molson, a steam locomotive from the early days of railroading. Also, there was a lot of things that you could explore and see the inner-workings of different items.

When I was walking by, Erin pointed out to me the locomotive BELOW, it REALLY shocked me, this was the Flying Scotsman's sister, the Dominion of Canada.

Because of the temperature, we decided to head back inside the main pavilion, to get something to drink and to go through the museum's store. I decided to go upstairs to see what kind of view there was above the main floor.


It was getting later in the afternoon, and Chris wanted to take us around other places in Montreal, including the Old Montreal Port, which is along the Fleuve Saint-Laurent (St. Lawrence River) on the east side of the main island of Montreal.

The Old Port was VERY beautiful, and was a great place to experience the heritage and culture of the people of Montreal, and of Quebec. With the beautify buildings and old cobble stone streets to the little pubs and cafes.

The clock tower which is along the Fleuve Saint-Laurent (St. Lawrence River).

The Nelson's Column, with Place Jacques-Cartier plaza in the foreground.

An Exert from Wikipedia about Nelson's Column:

Place Jacques-Cartier is a square located in Old Montreal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and an entrance to the Old Port of Montreal.

The street is named for Jacques Cartier, a French explorer popularly thought of as one of the major discoverers of Canada. The broad, divided street slopes steeply downhill from Montreal City Hall and rue Notre-Dame to the waterfront and rue de la Commune. During the high tourist season, the street hosts many street artists and kiosks. During the Christmas season, the street is lined with lighted trees. At any time of year, one can find restaurants on both sides of the street and many more on the surrounding streets of Vieux Port, notably on Rue Saint-Paul.

It is a car-free zone in the summer. During the high season, Jardin Nelson is a popular garden restaurant on Place Jacques-Cartier. Other restaurants offer classical Parisian "terrace" dining.

Near Place Jacques-Cartier on rue de la Commune, an original piece of the wall of the old fortified city can still be seen in the basement restaurant of the Auberge du Vieux-Port. At the upper end of the Place stands what may be the most controversial monument in all of Montreal: Nelson's Column, installed in memory of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Dating from 1808, it was erected by the English merchants of the city. The 8-foot statue is the world's first Nelson commemorative and predates that in London by 33 years. The statue was removed in 1997 to preserve it from the weather, and was subsequently replaced with a copy."

After walking around the Old Port, we were all hungry, so we decided that we would stop at one of the local cafes and have Montreal smoke meat. To best describe what Montreal smoke meat is and it's history, I must reference Wikipedia, once again:

"Along with bagels, smoked meat has been popular in Montreal since the nineteenth century, and has taken such strong root in that city that many Montrealers, and even many non-Montrealers, identify it as emblematic of the city's cuisine. Current and former residents and tourists make a point of visiting Montreal's best-known smoked meat establishments, even taking whole briskets away as take-out. Despite the food's origins in, and association with, Montreal's Jewish community, and contrary to what is sometimes asserted, these delis are not certified as kosher.

The primary producer of Montreal smoked meat is Lesters Foods, which had its origins as a Jewish delicatessen in 1931 on the historic St. Laurent boulevard, better known as "the Main", dividing Montreal into east and west. Lesters Foods supplies Montreal smoked meat to many restaurants, delis and grocery stores throughout Canada. Other famous shops include Schwartz's, Reuben's, Dunn's, Jay C's Express, Jarry Smoked Meat, Georges Smoke Meat, Lester's, Abie's Smoked Meat, Chenoy's, Pete's Smoked Meat, the Main Deli, the Snowdon Deli, and Bens De Luxe Delicatessen & Restaurant, which was a Montreal institution for 98 years until its closure in late 2006. Montreal smoke meat can now be purchased in Brooklyn New York from a Deli called Mile End which was open and is run by a Montreal native.

Montreal smoked meat is always sliced by hand in order to maintain its temperature. Since it is so popular, whole briskets are kept steaming and sliced up on demand. Non-specialized restaurants outside of Montreal do not have the volume of smoked meat customers to justify this practice, and usually only have cold pre-sliced meat on hand, and re-heated when a customer orders one sandwich.That negatively affects the taste and texture of the meat. Caplansky's Delicatessen in Toronto prides itself in serving traditional smoked meat - cured, smoked and sliced by hand, on premises."

After our late lunch, we decided that it was time to head home before the rush hour. Though, after spending 20-minutes figuring out how to pay for the parking and getting onto the main highway, we caught the very beginning of rush hour. While driving stopped on the highway, in traffic, I was looking at our surroundings, we were stopped in a old railroad yard, which you could still see some of the yard light stands and where the old round house was located. Also, I noticed that the oncoming traffic was not to our left (as normal in the U.S. and Canada), but rather on the right side of us--one the "wrong side of the road."

After getting back to Erin's aunt and uncle's house, we had a small birthday party for one of Erin's cousins and I got to meet her Grandma Pat, as well as other uncles and cousins.

After another busy day, I turned in for the evening.



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Last Updated: 06-Mar-2011

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