Tour de Montreal
It was a bright and beautiful morning. I decided to make the best use of Sunday – a break from the negotiations here at COP15. I had many plans, but with the cold and google maps throwing tantrums at giving precise directions – I ended up going to only a few. So after a quick breakfast in the room, it was time to get ready and move. I caught the metro, the first ride ever since I arrived here. My first stop was at the Biodome.
The Montreal Biodome is located at the Olympic Park in the Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood of Montreal. Visitors get to walk through replicas of four ecosystems found in the Americas. These are the tropical forest, the Laurentian forest, the Saint Lawrence marine ecosystem, and the sub-polar region. Access to the Biodome isn’t free and costs roughly CAD 80; however, due to COP 15, the museum was open to the general public for free. Sadly the seats for the planetarium were full, and I had to give it a miss. The Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan incorporates the strictest sustainable development criteria. It uses cutting-edge technology to create a unique experience of the universe through its immersive theatres, where poetic and scientific shows are presented. Its exhibitions enrich this cosmic journey.
The next stop was coming back downtown, close to the meeting venue, to tour the Basilica. The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal was Canada’s first Gothic Revival church. The church is inextricably linked with the history of Montreal. The Basilica is a testament to the city’s Catholic roots and the intimate relationship between religion and art. During the first half of the 17th century, France sought to challenge the rise of Protestantism by advocating a revitalized form of Christianity. This also coincided with the discovery of the New World. On May 1642, settlers, mainly from France, officially took possession of the island of Montreal.
It was already late by now, as I had spent much time just walking around, taking photos of the beautiful city. I spent the rest of the day visiting some shops in the old port area. I wanted to go mountain hiking to the famous Mount Royal and ISKCON temple. However, I decided to park some of my interests for the following weekend’s break.