24-June (morning departure) Toronto ON to Montreal PQ on VIA Corridor Train
Back to the Toronto Train Station for our third type of train, VIA Corridor Service Business Class, and the fourth set of rules for baggage. There is no checked baggage on the corridor trains and the suitcase weight limit was the most restrictive of the airline and the other trains. That meant some repacking in the station from the suitcases to the carry-ons. We used porter service for these trains as wrestling the suitcases up and into the coaches was more than we wanted to tackle, particularly in Toronto with low platforms. Business Class does provide a pre-boarding lounge and food and beverages were included in the ticket. The Toronto-Montreal consumed most of the daylight hours of the 24th.
Of all the cities in Canada, Montreal is the closest to our home, a five-hour drive. Despite that we've never taken the opportunity to visit on our own. John had been in Montreal at about the age of 10 or so, but did not really remember any of it, unlike Quebec City as we'll see.
Auberge du Vieux-Port is a small hotel facing the old harbor of
Montreal. There was a park directly across the street from
hotel. This one reminded us of some older European hotels where
the floors include twists and turns and clusters of steps up and
down on the way from the elevator to the room. After a couple of
wrong turns, we got the hang of it. The adjoining pub was
comfortable and we enjoyed the food. Despite being on a busy
street (by day), the hotel was quiet and very comfortable.
The Gray Line tour on 25 June was more of an adventure than
usual. We were picked up by a shuttle and taken to the central
Gray Line office for the tour. The shuttle driver was pulled
over by a motorcycle policeman for, we think as the conversation
was in rapid French, a U-turn and improper yielding to
pedestrians at an intersection. Later on the main tour, the
second driver stopped to report a traffic violation by some
other vehicle. The Gray Line office was extremely chaotic or we
might have tried to swap our "Heart of Montreal -- see 200 sites
in 3.5 hours" tour for a more directed one at the Botanical
Gardens and a couple of other sites. At least it wasn't an open
top bus and during the morning we saw sun not rain. There were
also stops at Place d'Armes and the Saint-Sulpice Basilica,
St. Joseph's Oratory,
the outside of the Botanical Gardens and the former Olympic
The Mont Royal overlook (a four frame panorama)
Not all city tours make stops (such as in Halifax).
Before leaving Montreal we strolled up and down the park across from our hotel and toured the nearby Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History, Place Royale where some of the foundations and burials from the earliest French settlement could be seen under the museum. We took no pictures but it was fascinating with a very good guide.
We need to come back. As for Vancouver and Toronto (and Quebec, too) there just wasn't enough time and we were fighting the weather at times.
On the 26th we transferred back to the train station for the
VIA Corridor Train to Quebec City, which took most of the