A family weekend in Montreal

Friday the 12th is a PD day, and Monday is Family Day. My son Liam will be playing with another child on family day – they go to different schools and have the opposite schedule (morning vs afternoon), so seldom see each other.

We decided to spend Friday and Saturday in Montreal. As we decided upon this a bit in the last minute, the train tickets were a bit more expensive than hoped ($44 each way for each, $22 for Liam. $224 total)

Hotwire found us a room at the Embassy Suites for $96USD. I wish they’d deal in CDN dollars. The other downside is that I don’t get my Hilton HHonours points, since I can’t know it’s a Hilton before I pay.

VIA got us to Montreal for 11:20, the Metro took us to the hotel, and by noon we were sitting in our room.


We visited the Biodome on Friday afternoon. It is an interesting place.

We kept going through the habitats backwards, and wandered into the St.Lawrence maritime area thinking it was the Laurentian Forest, and we were a bit confused until we worked out what was what. Nice fish acquarium. It’s mostly a zoo.

Liam had the most fun dressing up as a penguin in the Cailloux play area. Building igloos out of foam blocks, and knocking them over.

There is some kind of a labour dispute going on affecting the museums. Fortunately we found this out on Thursday evening, and planned accordingly — the Biodome was closed on Sat/Sun/Monday, but open on Friday.

The planetarium (the original reason for our trip) was open Saturday, but on a limited schedule. We visited the Montreal Science Centre on Saturday morning, and then had lunch in Chinatown. We were too late (we didn’t hurry) to make it to the plenetarium for the 2:30 show, so we didn’t try.

The Montreal Science Centre was okay, but seemed to lack any real focus.

The self-esteem room (sponsored by Dove Real Beauty) was interesting, although extremely technical in it’s explanation of psychology… I’m certainly interested in seeing young people get a better self-image, and some of the stuff that tries to explain how (model’s) pictures are airbrushed was good. Much of it was, I think, way over many young people’s understanding, or at least, their attention span likely would preclude them understanding it.

The IDtv room was neat. Basically a whole set of personal video production stations – perfect for a class trip – on which you can produce a news piece on a topic of your choice. Liam produced… Liam is silly, based upon clips that would otherwise have allowed you to make a piece about whether cars are good (and will improve), or an evil that should be abolished.

I found the science centre to be very progressive in it’s views. Great. But, the production values were lacking in quite a number of the areas.

We walked from there through old montreal, to chinatown, and had lunch at a buffet place. Liam, aka Sushi-Monster, clearly wasn’t that hungry, as he had to be encouraged to eat, rather than restrained from eating everything.

The afternoon before, alas, I got a headache in the Biodome. High presure inside maybe? Usually I get headaches from low-pressure, but it doesn’t make sense that they’d be running the dome at lower than average pressure. Although it was very sunny outside, so maybe it’s just a relative pressure thing.

I had bought some beer for our room, and I drank one. Mistake. Headache exploded into a migraine, and with the beer in the stomack… it lead to a prayer to the porcelain gods. Liam was rather surprised, “Why daddy barf in the toilet? I barf in a bowl…”

Liam and Meaghan ate downstairs at the hotel restaurant. We failed to make use of the free cocktail coupons they provided us. I rested, slept for 15 minutes, and then, headache free joined them, but didn’t eat.

So, the next day, I was thinking I would eat more at lunch. The salad bar (I don’t eat chinese. Meaghan’s current treatments has her eating a diet makes her a wh