Canada Day in Montreal is quite different than it might be in other places. July 1st is a convenient day off that serves as "Moving Day" for many Montreal residents, as one-year apartment leases usually expire or begin. The traditional fireworks display does take place at the harbour in the old city.
We began the day hoping that food stores would be open on a statutory holiday and were not disappointed. An authentic Jewish bakery was our destination for fresh bagels and a well stocked IGA gave us a clue that we are staying in a Jewish district with its many Kosher products.
Next, we walked to Saint Joseph's Oratory, a building dedicated to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Impressive and topped with a dome, the oratory is built on a hill. Wood carvings of the 12 apostles in groups of three were at least 2 metres off the ground and at least 3 metres tall could be found in the basilica.
At 4:00 pm we took the subway (Metro) to our first shift at the Montreal harbour as volunteers. The Mariner's House is a drop-in centre for those who work on ships. Among other things, I helped patch a long distance phone call to Indonesia and sold food, drinks and souvenirs to people from Montenegro. My son played pool with a seafarer from the Philippines. My husband had an extensive conversation with a Romanian electrical engineer.
Montreal does have fireworks on Canada Day (at the harbourfront), but we decided to forego them so we could head back to our lodgings before the rush. It was a late night, all going to bed after 11 pm. This holiday Monday was full, but one to be remembered.
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