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Canadian East Eats: Montreal

Due to the nature of round-trip driving, our Canadian East Eats itinerary had us splitting our time in Montreal in two. Our first pass through the city was so much fun! The kids were so excited to check-in at the palatial Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth and begin our day in the city.

We headed down towards Jacques-Cartier Wharf for a cruise through the Port of Montréal on Le Petit Navire. With its electric, pollution free propulsion system, we were taken around the port and through the St. Lawrence rapids while we learned about this important gateway in Canada’s grain history. The massive grain silo #5 which still stands by the docks, is one of the oldest cement structures in North America. It was built in the early 1900s to house grain bound for Europe. We also had a great view of North America’s oldest brewery, Molson. Founded in 1786, this family-run brewery is Canada’s second oldest company, after the Hudson Bay Company.
Afterwards, the kids had a blast exploring the port, and the cobbled streets of Old Montreal. Filled with the charm of an old European town, each turn had another series of shops or sights to explore. We stopped for ice cream, the kids splashed in the fountains and explored the quaint storefronts along the way. We popped in to discover some Quebec specialties and local products at Marché du Vieux. A fine-food store and cafe stocked full of smoked meat, Montréal bagels, foie gras, and local cheeses.
After a swim at the hotel in the afternoon, we went to check out two of Montreal’s classics – La Banquise Resto and Schwartz’s deli. With Montreal’s narrow streets and limited parking, it was nearly impossible to stop at either location, never mind the line-ups down the street to get into both eateries. La Banquise is an homage to Montreal’s famed poutine: fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in gravy. They serve 22 different kinds! The menu also includes a wide selection of Quebec’s locally-brewed beers. Schwartz’s opened in 1928 and is a required stop if you come through Montreal.  Following Reuben Schwartz’s original smoked meat recipe, the beef is marinated in a unique mixture of fine herbs and spices. I had to wrestle for elbow room just to get a photo! Get ready for a worthwhile wait at both locations.
Before heading out of town we went for breakfast at Olive & Gourmando. While originally opened as a bakery but now a full service cafe, they serve up delicious organic breads, pastries and paninis.
For a Montreal inspired recipe – check out these Open Faced, Smoked Meat Stuffed Burgers with Mushroom Gravy.