After I quit my full-time job, I was determined to blog more. In the start of the new year, I made a resolution to blog once a week. Now, here I am eight months since quitting and almost six months into 2018, writing my first blog post. And it’s about a trip I took a month ago!
In any case, during my travels through three major cities across eastern Canada, I was inspired to write. Here are my observations…
- Canadians are super friendly! I met so many nice people during my travels.
- They have great coffee and coffee shops. While there, I became obsessed with Second Cup.
- Tim Horton’s was not one of those great coffee shops. It’s equivalent to a greasy fast-food joint, with the same smell, low-quality food and stale dining area.
- Everyone speaks French as a primary language in Montreal. I wasn’t expecting its prominence, but really liked how it made me feel like I was in a far-away country.
- If you’re dining alone, the restaurant staff absolutely do not want you taking up a table. I was offered the bar first every time, and a couple places wouldn’t even let me sit at a table after I requested one over the bar.
- The cities shut down on Sundays. Both downtown Ottawa and parts of downtown Toronto were dead on Sunday.
- A lot of people smoke. I’m going to blame the French influence.
- Poutine is not that great. I prefer cheese or chili on my fries to gravy any day.
- Meanwhile, Beaver Tails live up to their hype. And now the franchise is headed to the states thanks to a gentleman I met at a Montreal bar who recently purchased eight with the intention of US expansion.
- Most restaurants, including non-fast food, cook their burgers on flattops instead of grills. I noticed this on a few menus and could taste the distinct flavor in mine at a gourmet burger joint.
- It’s freakin’ expensive here. Even though the US dollar goes further, prices are high on average and then everything incurs a 13% tax.
- The shoulder months are not good for visiting. My friend warned me, but it wasn’t until I was there in April that I truly saw how wet and ugly everything was. I can imagine how beautiful it is in the winter and summer when the ground and trees are covered in snow or greenery, respectively. The other downfall was that a lot of things were closed in the off season.
Verdict: I had a great trip and would definitely go back to Toronto. I absolutely loved that city! I’d give Montreal another chance, especially because Old Montreal is really cool. Ottawa is only worth a stop if you’re passing through to or from Montreal and Toronto.