Travel can suck when you feel compelled to visit every little tourist trap and public square in some city you’ve never been to. In The Good, The Bad, And The Weird, we ask locals to point us toward what’s good, keep us from what’s bad, and clue us in on the weird stuff that only townies know about.
The city: Montreal, Quebec
The good: Mont Royal
Dan Boeckner of Divine Fits tell us: “First ascended by Jaques Cartier (well… the first European to climb it) in 1535, this park was at the center of my civic life in Montreal. Literally. It’s a great landmark to orient yourself by after too many drinks at Idee-Fixe. It’s topped by a giant cross that turned purple when the Pope died and on Sundays it’s home to what I’m pretty sure is the largest gathering of grown men and women dressed in Dungeons And Dragons regalia. Forget about the barely tolerable Tam Tams (hippie drum circle) at the base of the park and climb up a little higher to witness a lot of people fight each other with duct-tape swords and ‘magic.’ I love this park. Especially in the fall. It’s good for picnics and it’s especially good on humid summer evenings. Climb to the very top and watch the city spread out in front of your eyes.”
The A.V. Club says: Pretty much every person we asked told us to spend time cruising around Mont Royal park, and they were right. It’s one of Montreal’s crowning public jewels, and has all sorts of entertainment to offer. Hike through the woods, take some trails, or get some coffee in an old house. Plus, it’s the highest point in the city, so it offers a great vantage point for trying to figure out where your hotel is. And please note that while we visited in November and didn’t get to see the aforementioned Dungeons And Dragons kids, Mac DeMarco told us “they’re all dressed in medieval garb, and are beating the shit out of each other with fake swords.” We’re booking a return ticket for June.
The bad: Crosswalks
Michael Feuerstack tells us: “Don’t assume you have the right of way at a crosswalk. You just don’t here.”
The A.V. Club says: Feuerstack speaks the truth. Though Montreal is relatively pedestrian-friendly, cars are everywhere, and they don’t care whether you’re cold and just want to cross the street to get inside. Act carefully, especially when you’re exiting a bar, most of which close around three a.m.
The weird: The Habitat 67 housing complex
The A.V. Club says: Other locals recommended having breakfast with strippers, so we’re glad Lasek recommended Habitat 67, which is absolutely a sight to behold. The building—which you’ve probably seen before but perhaps didn’t place in Montreal—reads as a series of boxes stacked on top of each other in kind of a haphazard manner. It’s probably a little weird to live in, but the building itself is art, so who cares? Recently, the complex’s management and residents decided to ban looky-loos from the property, so you’ll have to stand on the street (or trespass) to check it out. It’s also a little hard to get to, so either pony up for an expensive cab ride or rent a car. It’s worth it.