Montreal-Ottawa Adventures

Although I’ve been back for nearly a week, I just took the photos off my camera from my vacation to Montreal and Ottawa. Join me on a photo tour of my vacation. I promise it’s mostly worthwhile to keep going if only for one specific photo of this amazing sub-culture of absolute craziness that I learned about in Montreal.

After a long-ass drive filled with great new music and some amazing story-telling podcasts brought to you by the Vinyl Cafe (seriously, if you are unaware of who Stewart McLean is, check him out. He’s well-known in Canada as one of the best story tellers).

Upon arrival in Montreal (7.5 hours later!) there was pub-hopping to do and hockey games to watch. The following day, M and I hit up the Biodome which is this awesome mix of zoo and museum.

M and I at the Biodome. Check out the awesome forest behind us.

They had these cute, weird little birds there running around like they owned the place. There were signs up everywhere that warned you not to touch them but they were so damn friendly I was wishing that I had brought a bigger purse in which to shove them in and take them home as pets.

Then there were these beautiful creatures. Although they were totally beautiful, I was less inclined to take them home with me because they would probably clash with my more subdued home decor. Although, those design shows always say you need a splash of colour in a room. Hmmm….

The trip also involved an unsavory night on the town of which I will not post photos for all the world to see cause I like my friends and do not wish to draw unwanted attention from the authorities.* However, I will say that the evening did begin with a rockin’ birthday dinner for M at a classy place that provides you with sombreros on your birthday!

The other highlight of the Montreal portion of my trip was Tam Tams. Apparently, every Sunday in the summer in Montreal people gather at Mont Royal for a huge party. The highlight of the party is all the drums. People bring drums and form impromptu drum circles complete with dancing, drinking, smoking and that guy in the tye dye shirt.

It’s truly a remarkable experience. There were probably over 2000 people there of all walks of life. You had the traditional hippie types with their dread locks and joints but you also had the parents with their little kiddies in strollers enjoying the music, the tourists and the seniors and everyone in between.

Although the music was great, the best part was the people we found a little ways up the hill. While walking through the crowds we stumbled across something truly remarkable. We stumbled across a battle:

Apparently, there is a group of people (there were well over 100 there at the time) that get together to battle. After watching for a while, I determined a few things:

  • There seems to be no dress code for such situations. Some people, as you see the two boys above, were dressed in everyday clothes. Others were dressed in full body armour. The armour ranged from full medieval traditional garb to outfits more befitting of hobbits in the Lord of the Rings. One guy (sorry I couldn’t get a photo) was clearly inspired by Russel Crow in Gladiator and had a Roman-esque outfit complete with big fur pelts.
  • There is no age limit. Although the boys above are young, there were men and a few women there that were well into adult-hood enjoying it all the same.
  • They were definitely organized. From what I could tell they were playing some form of capture the flag. There was definitely a King (he had a crown more like Cesar’s golden leaves than a European crown). There were even people around the battle who were in ‘training.’ They were being trained by more experienced battlers on proper battle etiquette and weapon use. In the one training match, the King came to observe and was clearly impressed because he greeted the trainee with some secret handshake. The trainee was clearly overjoyed but trying to keep his cool in front of the King.

My friend C informed us all that this strange hobby was called LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) and was sort of the real-life off-shoot of those fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons (I’m sure if C was wrong on this someone will correct me). No matter what it was it was such a mixture of super weird and super awesome that I was mesmerized. We stayed and watched the battle for over an hour. We all picked out of favourites and had mini bets going on. I think we had just as much fun watching as they did playing.

Post Montreal, I headed to Ottawa to visit my friend K and her puppy. The puppy is at that awesome ‘teenager’ stage where their legs are a little too long for their body and they are super cute and super awkward all at the same time (once again, sorry no photo, my batteries are almost dead at this point).

I did however get a photo of K and I at parliament hill.

Not the greatest photo, but in true Ottawa fashion, the beautiful warm, sunshiny weather had turned into a windy, snowy day of gloom so we were both cold and tired and wind-swept by the time we made it to the Hill.

Ultimately it was an awesome vacation with just the right ratio of party-chill out and relax-touristy stuff. It’s not often you achieve the perfect ratio, most vacations tend to fall into one of the three categories, or 2 at the best. But this one was pretty damn near perfect.

What was the last vacation you took? Was it everything you wanted it to be?

*If you happen to be the authorities, I assure you that nothing illegal happened on our night(s) out. But, please don’t tell my friends, I don’t want to lose my street cred.

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1 Response to “Montreal-Ottawa Adventures”


  1. 1 Erin May 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Heh, Claire, we all know you have about as much street cred as I do.
    Also, Stuart McLean could read me any thing any day and I would love it.


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I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

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