When someone claims to be an expert on a city, and pretty much rants on and on about how it’s the greatest place on Earth, you sort of expect that they have seen and done everything there is to do in that place.
As it turns out, I am that annoying person.
I always give pieces of advice about Montreal, to tourists and friends, even when it is not even remotely solicited. But my conscience has reached a point where I can no longer hide under that so-called expert hat.
The truth is, I’m a very bad Montrealer. If I must confess…
I’ve never visited Basilique Notre-Dame.
I barely ever venture out of Plateau Mont-Royal.
I really, really don’t fancy the smoked meat at Schwart’z.
I’m a big fan of the idea of festivals in Montreal, not so much of the massive crowds in the streets and the métro.
I hate going to the Mont-Royal observatory because it’s such a long walk to get there (never underestimate how lazy I can be).
I secretly hate boulevard St-Laurent. Too gritty.
I don’t feel classy enough to hang out with the intelligentsia in Outremont.
Nor am I hipster enough to be at ease in the Mile End (wool hats and large glass frames look really don’t complement my face).
I don’t like what Chinatown smells like.
I’ve never been to Oratoire St-Joseph.
The Olympic Stadium may be an architectural wonder, but I think it’s just weird-looking and out of place. Also, 50 years after its completion, my taxes are still paying for it.
I always go to the same restaurants even though I know very well there are hundreds of other amazing options to try out.
I really, really don’t care for hockey (and I’m pretty sure it’s a deadly sin in Canada).
I barely ever go to farmer’s markets in Jean-Talon or Atwater. Again – too lazy.
I think the problem is because I take my city for granted. I feel into a rut, a boring routine that I never bother to fight. Why would I – the city is always going to be there, and I have all the time in the world, right?
But if I learned one thing from traveling so much, it’s to enjoy every moment, every street corner, every sight. The world we live in is an unpredictable place, and who knows if my city won’t get hit by a giant asteroid? What if Bruce Willis isn’t there to save us? Who knows I won’t get abducted by aliens? Who knows Montreal won’t get submerged by a typhoid - it is an island, after all!
That’ll teach me to not go to Montreal’s prettiest religious buildings and pray!
All jokes aside – I need to get out there.
Be the Montrealer I want to be, and not feel like a fraud whenever I put my Montreal expert hat on. So watch out, my dearest city: I’m coming for you. Not an inch of you will be spared, not a piece of street art will go unnoticed and not a single calorie will be counted.