We left Calgary for Montréal, where my brother would be living for 6 months as part of a study abroad semester. It was a 6 hour flight, but with the 3 hour time difference between Calgary and Montréal, we didn't arrive until about 9:00pm—and it was snowing. We had yet to see fresh falling snow and I'd been watching it fall since the plane ride, but our hunger and eagerness to get to our Airbnb meant our excitement would have to wait.
If you're unfamiliar with Canada, you should know: Montréal is in Quebec, and unlike the other provinces in Canada, Quebec's primary language is French, not English. So all the signs are in French first; people greet you in French first. Arriving there meant I was launched into the deep end of trying to remember all the basic French I learnt in high school (not going to lie—was a little bit excited about this). We got into the cab, I fumbled my way through a few sentences and we made it to our Airbnb. After dragging our suitcases up the tiniest staircase in the world, we made it through the door, putting our bags down and looking around the apartment ever-so-briefly before finally heading out to find dinner at 10:00pm. It was -29ºC, the coldest it had been since we'd arrived in Canada.
The next day, we set off to explore this city, my brother's new hometown. The photos in this post are just some from our very first afternoon exploring Montréal. A majority of the photos were taken in Parc du Mont-Royal (Mount Royal Park)—a massive mountaintop park in Montréal's city centre. I could only imagine how beautiful it would be in the summer-time, but even blanketed in snow it was beautiful. I laughed when I saw people skiing in the park, once again picking up on little quirks about winter life that were new to me, but completely normal for everyone else.
I fell in love with this city pretty hard—the architecture, the culture, the French, the gentle hum of activity at any hour of the day or night, despite it being winter. Every city has a totally different personality and there was something about Montréal that really resonated with me. Even as I write this I feel the strange, yet familiar pang of missing a place—different to the feeling of missing another—as if you were meant to be there all along.