Happy "Fete nationale du Quebec" everyone!
I'd be lying if I said the Montreal Grand Prix was all about the cars, the drivers, the race in general. What a joke! In a similar fashion to the Gold Coast Indy, it's all about the Crescent Street parties, the beautiful women, and generally the good times AWAY from the track!
With all of my camera gear prepped and charged overnight, today kicked off with me hopping on the Metro and making my way out to Parc Jean-Drapeau along with every other F1 fan in town hoping to catch a glimpse of the qualifying rounds of the Montral F1 Grand Prix. The track is actually contained entirely on an island which is only accessible by two bridges, both with ticket gates set up at the entry points. This basically killed any idea I had of sneaking around the barrier fences until I found some way to get a decent couple of photos of the cars on the track.
After a couple of hours of aimless wandering around I decided I would probably find better photographic opportunities back in town, so I jumped back on the Metro and headed back to St Catherine Street where, as it turned out, was where all the free action was going down!
Quebec Day festivities
I walked the full length of what I believe is considered Montreal's "main drag", all the way up to Rue Berri where the Quebec Day celebrations were well and truly in full swing. I was actually in what is considered the "Latin Quarter" of town, which was somewhat evident with the weird mix of Latin/Quebecois/First Nation celebrations I had stumbled upon. Regardless of their background, one thing was for certain, these Montrealians (is that even a word????) loved waving their Fleur de lis around.
For a while there, while standing around listening to a few talented songsters on a makeshift stage, I became lost in a sea of blue and white.
Heading back to the hostel I rustled up a late lunch down in the kitchen/dining area before hooking up with Jesse, Marty and Ryan and heading down to the Old Port for a pint or two. We didn't have a whole lot of time to kill considering plans had been made to meet up with a whole bunch of people at the hostel ready for the night's festivities. A quick shower under my belt and it was off to the Olympic Park for the huge Quebec Day Concert.
There were thousands of people in attendance enjoying the French Canadian concert that certainly none of my group understood in any way shape or form. We still had a lot of fun though, deciding to kick on into the night at a few "watering holes" along St Catherine.
A couple of girls (Ashley from Manitoba and Catherine from Germany) joined us as we stopped in for a couple of pints at a joint called Pub Cock N' Bull. It was here that we enjoyed the sounds of a great cover band and an absolutely incredible drummer. A couple of us guys grew up playing the drum kit throughout school and we were totally blown away by the hand speed and timing of this bloke. I really wish I could remember the name of the group as it would be a real treat for anyone to check them out again.
We ended the night on a weird note. Somehow on the way back to the hostel, we all stumbled into what ended up being a gay karaoke bar. Ashley, who is quite a talented vocalist in her own right, needed a little "dutch courage" and a lot of positive reinforcement from the rest of us, but she finally took the mic and belted out a tune which was well received by all and sundry in the house.
As has become a late night custom here in Montreal, a few of us chose to chill out around the pool table before finally calling it a night! I have my fingers and toes crossed that my upcoming Canada Day in Ottawa, the Canadian capital, is going to be ten times better than the last 24 hours, but I had a lot of good times today either way!
Links & Credits
- All images // Rob Masefield
- Canadian Grand Prix // wikipedia.org
- Parc Jean-Drapeau // parcjeandrapeau.com
- Saint-Jean-Baptiste (Quebec) Day // wikipedia.org
- Pub Cock N' Bull // cockandbull.ca