Day 28 – Montreal on the Fly

We’re a bit flummoxed as to what to do today. Montreal is home to the largest Chinese garden in North America, which is tops on my list to visit, but it’s closed for repairs. (Chinese gardens are not like any other type of garden: about 2/3 water with lots of rocks and small pavilions, very few flowers.) Walt wants to see the Biodome, also closed for repairs.

When in doubt: eat.

We head to Jardin Nelson, a touristy place in Vieux Montreal but still lovely with good food. We sit on the back patio, later realizing that it used to be a building but has been gutted, with the façade retained. We’ve noticed other construction projects where the old stone façade remains in place (with reinforcing structures) while a new building goes up behind it. It’s a really nice way to honor the old while modernizing.

We decide to visit the Biosphere – the geodesic dome built for the U.S. pavilion at the1967 Exposition. It sits on an island just across from old Montreal. Our guidebook says access is via Metro, bike or car. Since there’s a big wharf right here and all kinds of boat tours in the river, Walt is certain that there must be a ferry to the island. He persists, walking the wharf to the very last ticket-seller, who sells us two round-trip ferry tickets to the island. Walt’s persistence pays off again.(I would have given up bistro-hunting yesterday long before he found our hidden patio.)

The ferry docks 10 minutes later. We find the Biosphere more interesting for the structure that Buckminster Fuller designed ( than for the environmental and scientific displays inside. Of course, for Walt, the structure is also interesting because Canadian Ironworkers would have been the people responsible for welding together the structure; it’s always nice to see his brother and sister Ironworkers’ hard labor hold up to the test of time.

Stewart Fort also sits on the island, so we head off for a peek at its cannons before catching the ferry back.

We head straight into the tourist area because it’s hot, we’re hungry and we’re longing for ice cream. The wait is long but the gelato and sorbet are excellent.

We realize we’ve had enough city and have a dinner of crackers and cheese in our hotel room.

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