I just spent a few weeks in Montreal and, as usual in summer, it was stunning. Clear, sunny, with just enough rain showers and thunderstorms passing through to keep the flowers and grass lush and green. Although it was hot and humid, Montreal mercifully escaped most of the brutal heatwave that much of the United States has been experiencing.
Since Montreal is my home base, I simply did not have the chance to play tourist in my own city and instead spent most of the time running errands and unpacking and re-packing for my next adventure. (By time you will read this, I’ll be in Nova Scotia for a few weeks, where I hope to have at least a little bit of time to be a tourist in this cool and rainy Atlantic province, which I have never visited before!)
Despite having very little down time, I still managed to appreciate summer in the city in my local neighbourhood. I visited the lovely Atwater market, where all of the summer fruits and vegetables are ahead of schedule thanks to a warm spring. (Last year, I missed peach, nectarine and blueberry season because I went to Chile right when they were starting to be available; last week, I could finally enjoy them all!)
I took advantage of the market’s outdoor food court and had a traditional French Canadian crepe, prepared in with sarrasin (buckwheat) flour. The delicate crepes are brushed with a thin layer of your choice of topping: I had fresh lemon juice with a sprinkle of sugar. For those who know me well and are wondering, yes, I have had plenty of coffee (and I have some of my favourite beans to accompany me to Nova Scotia).
After traveling literally thousands of miles, I always notice something new upon arriving back home. This time, I noticed what a Latin American influence there is in my very own neighbourhood. Montreal is first and foremost a French Canadian city. However, my neighbourhood was at one time (about 100 years or so ago) settled by mostly Italian, Irish, Scottish and English immigrants. But now, it reflects an increasingly diverse Canadian culture.
Latin America is certainly represented here. While I was gone, a coffee shop transformed into a mate cafe (complete with the same Argentinean brand mate I buy in Chile!), a studio specializing in Argentinean tango lessons, and empanadas are very easy to come by in pretty much every other cafe. At least I know I will not be “reverse homesick” when finally settling back here someday!
…then again, the French culture is definitely still here, too!