Mont Royal, BBQ Poutine and a Conga Line of Zombies.
What do they have in common? Living the Escati Lifestyle, Montreal Style.
The wheel stopped on Montreal when an aging collection of fraternity brothers a.k.a. the magnificent seven, planned a late October weekend away. Tempted by the lure of an overly hyped Montreal Oktoberfest and what would be our first ever Zombie walk; a core contingent, led by the “past their prime” members of the Inner Sanctum joined up with the Trois Charlies.
Adventure commenced as members of this motley crew traveled from 5 states to arrive in the City of Saints late on Thursday afternoon. After several beverages, courtesy of the many establishes around La rue Peel and Rue Sainte Catherine, the group settled on Sir Winston Churchill Pub on 1459 Crescent Rue for late night drinks and dinner. Although 7 walked in, only six walked out as we had one MIA sometime during the night.
The next morning, our MIA leader was up bright and early as usual and led the Mag 7 on an early morning nature hike up the aforementioned Mont Royal to Parc du Mont-Royal. The highlight of this mid-morning adventure was my achieving 15k steps (by 10 AM) while traversing well-groomed carriage roads, numerous leaf soaked granite steps and off road trails suitable for a snipe hunt. During the hike we found out that Montreal’s namesake Mont Royal, is no mountain at all. It is actually a magmatic intrusion, similar to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Interesting, as I’ve heard Montreal is also known as “Sin City” presumably tracing back to the prohibition era.
After our late morning descent, quickened by some off-road trailblazing led by our guide from the green mountain state, we made it back just in time for the Utah contingent to arrive. Not ones to rest on our laurels, the afternoon found us heading off to check out Montreal’s famed Botanical Gardens. While these are popular gardens, which are located in the heart of the city near the BioDome and Olympic Stadium, are recognized across the world as a must see, a few of us thought (ultimately unwisely) to invest our time at Montreal’s version of Oktoberfest.
Woefully disappointed by the lack of a German Oompah band, buxom beer carrying kellnerins, and plates of schnitzel and sausage. We had to admit the Oktoberfest was a bust and therefore left mid-evening to make it back to explore the architecture and churches amongst Rue Sainte Catherine before dinner at the Burger Bar on Crescent and our first sampling of Canada’s second greatest creation (behind Justin B.) of Poutine, Burger Bar’s version of pulled pork poutine consists of classic poutine covered with Jack Daniel’s BBQ pulled pork, with onions and jalapenos In summary, it was Tres Bien!
Saturday’s highlight was to be the sixth annual Zombie Walk at 4:00, but half of us went for another early morning climb of Mont Royal, while others worked out, went shopping or played an unusual card game, with the goal to avoid wearing the dreaded chapeau. Early afternoon we were off for professional makeup sessions provided by the friendly fillies of local universities. Before our final transformation into Zombies a few of us checked out the local mall in full makeup looking for the elusive brand of Amora Dijon mustard. After picking up enough Amora for a future king-size sausage fest, a quick swing back to our Marriott provided enough time for our M.J. worthy, Thriller-like transformations.
The Zombie Walk kicked off at Place Des Festivals at 4:00 and traveled through downtown Montreal. Marching to a beat supplied by drum beating Zombies, the walk under a light drizzle was surprisingly relaxing and therapeutic despite the creative costumes and incessant screams by over 3000 fellow Zombies. When the walk was over, local Canadian microbrews started to flow, amateur photo shoots commenced, while a visiting band from Tennessee played rockabilly tunes until the beer ran dry.
Like running with the bulls in Pamplona or taking in the Songkran Water festival in Chiang Mai, a Zombie Walk in Montreal (or any other thrilling city) is a worthy adventure to add to your bucket list, and is a laudable example of Living the Escati Lifestyle.