It’s with great sadness and exhaustion that we now leave Montreal. With three days spent in the city, it was the longest stop on our tour, but the orchestra could have easily stayed there for weeks without getting bored.
We checked in to our hotel on Thursday afternoon, and leaving only enough time in my hotel room to find walking shoes and a camera, I set off with a group to climb Mount Royal. From the summit you get a beautiful view of the city below, and the opportunities lying in front of me were tantalizing to say the least. We descended the mountain, passing by the famous Beaver Lake, and went straight to Schwartz’s Hebrew Deli for the famous smoked meat sandwich. After that was a stroll down Sainte-Catherine Street for exploring and second dinner, then after a brief pause at one of Montreal’s famous breweries, we capped the night off with poutine from La Banquise. With so much concertizing on our tour, it’s nice to have the occasional afternoon to just enjoy each other’s company and re-energize.
Friday was our concert in the Notre Dame Basilica, one of the most amazing sights in all the city. Situated by the Old Port, this venue offered a great opportunity for us to explore the history of the city, and take in the old cobble stone streets and small crêperies and shops lining them. Because the Notre Dame is such an attraction, even during our sound check we had audiences sitting in the pews to listen to the free pre-concert warm up. A short while later we were performing the colossal Mahler’s Fifth, and the combination of such a piece in such a venue is something I’m not likely to soon forget.
As happy as we were with the performance, it was an early bed time for all of us as the next day was our recording session. We started the day at 9:00 in the recording studio of McGill University, which was fantastic. The whole room was filled with microphones on the floors, walls, and even microphone balls hanging over our heads which looked like miniature Death Stars. I’d never been in a recording studio so fancy, and I was really excited to get cracking on our CD. By 10:00PM, after recording for nine hours, I was equally excited to head off knowing the orchestra made a really solid recording. I’ll be very excited to hear the CD as soon as it comes out; with the orchestra’s playing and the recording engineer’s work, it’s bound to be amazing.
I rounded off my Montreal experience by going to an ice cream shop called Meu Meu which made the greatest maple syrup ice cream I’d ever tasted, and then by stopping by the famous Fairmount Bagel shop to pick up some signature Montreal bagels. Walking back across the city to the hotel, I couldn’t help but feel happy after all the adventures this city had offered over the previous three days. The final stretch is now upon us: three concerts in three days. Here’s to a final few great concerts!
Kilometres traveled: 3,805