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The Many Faces of Montreal

Aired September 9, 2012 - 14:30:00   ET


DJ JA BIG: The interesting thing about standing here is that, you see all of Montreal and the old Montreal and then the downtown area, the city center.

As you can see, you know, Montreal is a world-class city, but size-wise it is actually pretty small.

You know, yes there is a, you know, very modern structure and buildings but they've also kept their old structures, you know, to keep it -- an identity of itself and that is why, I guess people tend to say that Montreal has a very European feel.

The bridge, we're gonna go to the bridge on (INAUDIBLE) and the island in the middle is (INAUDIBLE) and that's where we're gonna go and it's very famous for the Formula One circuit.

This is how we're gonna do the tour -- the Montreal tour. It's the best way especially for visitors because they don't have to worry about renting the bike and returning it to the spot where you rented it. You can just bring it back to any spot that suits you.

The best way to get around Montreal is a bicycle. They are -- it's very simple. Every -- the whole city is layered with bicycle paths and the system is -- the cheapest way to get around the city.

You know, it's cheaper than a cab. It's definitely cheaper than the Metro and it's faster than walking.

This is Notre Dame and for those who knows -- who knows Notre Dame of Paris, this is actually a replica of Notre Dame the Paris.

I have been in Montreal for 10 years. Most people here like, you know, are immigrants or you know, first-generation, second-generation, so for me, Montreal is the one place where nobody asks me where I'm from because everyone is from some -- everywhere.

Right now we're standing above St. Catherine Street, which is actually one of the most I would say, the most popular street in Montreal and as you can see, there are a bunch of like, I would say, balloons that are covering the street. That is because in the summer, the streets, you know, parts of you know the section of St. Catherine they actually become pedestrian sidewalks, meaning that no cars are allowed there.

We're now standing in -- on top of the St. Lawrence River. This is physically what (INAUDIBLE) Montreal -- what Montreal is today because Montreal actually was a port, you know, everyone that came, you know, it was one of the most important ports of Canada, if not North America.

So we've now arrived at (INAUDIBLE) which is physically two islands, one is Notre Dame one is Ile Saint Helen and in Notre Dame that's where the Velodrome, the -- I think in English, it's called geosphere.

So this is (INAUDIBLE) the Metro station, we're just gonna head into it and walk -- go back home.

SEBASTIEN SOLDEVILLA, ACROBAT-CHOREOGRAPHER: We are really close to the old (INAUDIBLE) and this is the end of the Canal Lachine.

It was built in 1821, actually it's got an interesting story because the new explorers who arrived in Quebec from France, when they arrived here, they had what we called Quebec the new France, they wanted to find a way from new France to the Western Sea and then to China.

So they start to build that canal which is called Canal Lachine which means canal the China and they never made it because it's only 14 kilometers long and that's it.

So they gave up, they did give up actually.

We're really close to the old Montreal, not a far walking distance.

It's a really wonderful, quiet neighborhood and we're gonna visit the (INAUDIBLE) actually which was the second-biggest (INAUDIBLE) in Montreal and it opened in 1880, so a really old building and I love (INAUDIBLE).

So here we are on the (INAUDIBLE)

That was some old (INAUDIBLE) on the (INAUDIBLE), built in 1880 by the Darling Brothers actually and they used to build (INAUDIBLE) ships for weapons too, actually during the Second World War.

You've got the original -- original staircase that was built in 1880, (INAUDIBLE) bit of exercise.

Over there you can see the brand-new Montreal that didn't exist at the time. Actually you have some artists normally working upstairs. They have different studio (INAUDIBLE) creation.

So this is a really special place in Montreal. It's called Trapezium. It's a climbing place where you can do climbing and training and stuff like that but since the 1998, there's a (INAUDIBLE).

They are some professionals who is gonna help you, you know, something totally crazy with people who don't know what they are talking about. They do know what they're talking about and they will help you. That's for sure.

We have a big circus community because of the National Circus School. It was created about 30 years ago now and what it did, it brought a lot of people with extra skills, coaching, apparatus and stuff like that and those people brought some people artistic (INAUDIBLE) who wanted to be part of that community.

We realize that Montreal became, I would say, about 15, 10 years ago, the biggest city in terms of circus in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight we have the opportunity to open our brand-new show called (INAUDIBLE) here in Montreal.

The show is a -- we call it (INAUDIBLE) which is a new circus, so it's a circus show of course but we have a lot of choreography, dancing, acting, it's a makeup, a mix of all different form art, so I'm really (INAUDIBLE) to see how they are gonna respond.

And I'm excited because I know they are good and nice people.


YASMINE WASFY, DESIGNER: Here we're on the plateau. We're walking down the main which is St. Laurent Boulevard and it's (INAUDIBLE) really a fun place to be and to live.

So all along (INAUDIBLE) from (INAUDIBLE) Sherbrooke, all the way up to the Mile End, you have these signs that were brought in by (INAUDIBLE). So they brought this to give kind of a historical tour of the neighborhood and how it's changed.

So here it says, (INAUDIBLE) means, you are here. So they have the image of back in the day, there is a little hotel house at this corner, that is -- unfortunately no longer exists but as (INAUDIBLE) remind us of our history.

This one is talking about how St. Laurent Boulevard, since all along, the 20th century, kind of attracted a lot of artists and a lot of writers and at this point (INAUDIBLE) few writers but included also Leonard Cohen that lives right around the corner here too.

Daisy is my friend, she's our (INAUDIBLE) dog. Daisy, come on.

(INAUDIBLE) in English means fashion neighborhood and she's opened about a years ago and is bringing in all of these new independent designers.

Well in the last couple of years we've had a huge (INAUDIBLE) of emerging designers, you know, I'm lucky to be part of it and the store really focuses on showing all of these lines that have come out of Montreal, that are all produced in Montreal and sell all over North America as well but this is the one place where you can find practically all of them.

I've been living here for over 10 years. I love it.

We're gonna go get some great coffee, Caf, (INAUDIBLE) opened a few years ago and (INAUDIBLE) who opened it, makes probably the best cup of coffee in town.

Hi. Can I get an (INAUDIBLE) cup of cappuccino?

Thank you.

(INAUDIBLE), separate Montreal, East and West. East and West also separated English and French. The French side was the east side and you'll still kind of feel that, when you go in one neighborhood to another and then the Westside is the English side.

And on the plateau especially where we are, there is this concentration of young people, you know, and that's why it keeps being inspiring because you have new young people all the time and they keep inspiring you and continuing on.


RONALD POIRE, CULINARY FOOD GUIDE: We're in the center of the island of Montreal, roughly. We are at (INAUDIBLE) market and the market used to be (INAUDIBLE).

This was the Irish (INAUDIBLE) of the late 1800s.

That used to be the old bus terminal, so what you had, people will step underneath those (INAUDIBLE) of construction because of weather here, with rain and snow and all of that and this become a perfect set up for a market, through the years.

And every good chef will always tell you, you start with your garden and when you don't find in your garden, look in the garden of your neighborhood.

So, and the trend is to buy local like everywhere and that's what you'll find over here.


I always say to people, go in any market they'll tell you the price of living, they'll tell you the cultural diversity of the society, so a market is the (INAUDIBLE) of a society and that's a great place to come and to feel the beat of a city.

We're in the store called (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE) is a place where you'll fine product from all around the Province of Qu,bec.

This is a perfect gift shop to bring gifts to people who have everything because you'll find from cheese to olives, anything, maple syrup, everything, you'll find good quality and the respect of the producers. This for me, that's very important. You buy something, so the money goes back to the producers and everybody has his fair share of everything.

So the local people of Montreal, instead of going to (INAUDIBLE) that is a fantastic place but it's mostly touristic, you come on the west side of the old Montreal, you're very close to (INAUDIBLE) from downtown the business area and you'll find some of the top restaurants in town, the atmosphere, the terrace, the bistro.

The restaurant is called Boris Bistro, it's one of the good French restaurants in town and it has a fantastic terrace.

You want to have a go inside?

(INAUDIBLE) example of, you know, often we have our friends from the South and they are always gonna tease us that the service is slow and, no, it's - - because to be served fast, is bad service.

Because going out for dinner isn't the same as -- its meeting your friend and talking, so restaurants and terrace is our way of life, in old Montreal.

For us, a day like this is a dream because, you know, six months of your life, when you have a coat on yourself, a scarf, miffs, a hat and it's minus 30 outside, so the only thing (INAUDIBLE) is your -- back of your eyes and your nose, so as soon as the sun hits, you know that you're counting days, it will be like that in the summer.

So every day you bite into it and you enjoy the life of being outside.


GENE PENDON, ARTIST: So this is the Mile End the area. It's a little bit north of the plateau. Lately it's also been a hub for a lot of artists and writers, musicians.

It's a very creative spot in Montreal.

I'm gonna take you to -- there's one gallery that's just -- it started out in old Montreal but recently moved up to the Mile End area, that's Galerie Yves Laroche.

Yves the owner of the gallery.


PENDON: Here we have (INAUDIBLE), who is from Paris, who moved here to Montreal a few years ago. (INAUDIBLE) been doing quite well.

This is a portrait of (INAUDIBLE)

(INAUDIBLE) Canadian artists (INAUDIBLE) who just recently had a show at Yves Laroche Galerie.

This is a Filipino artist, actually (INAUDIBLE).

And also Jonathan (INAUDIBLE) who is from Montreal. Fantastic illustration. All these kids, you know, growing up in the '80s, they all came from the same influences like MTV, music video, hip-hop culture and soul. This was happening around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have had the collection of the gallery like in this whole place. This (INAUDIBLE) always.

PENDON: OK, the (INAUDIBLE) the collection, yeah.

So Yves gonna show us the collection. This is very privileged viewing here. This is Yves -- his own collection actually.

It's like a new generation for you, life of artists.



LAROCHE: I'm starting to collect this artist (INAUDIBLE) 1999

PENDON: 1999.



LAROCHE: First one.






LAROCHE: I'm sick.

PENDON: Of (INAUDIBLE) and there's no cure.

This is one of Yves's favorite --


PENDON: -- portrait. This is a half by (INAUDIBLE), half by Shawn Barber. The two crazy sides of Yves.

After checking out the (INAUDIBLE), you wanna go back to the plateau area.

You want to eat at Schwartz's Deli. Canada's most famous deli. It's been here since 1928. The smell is incredible.


PENDON: Always cut by hand. Never --


PENDON: -- by machine,


PENDON: And what's the difference? Well, why is it (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The machine can (INAUDIBLE) do it (INAUDIBLE). We know from just looking at the (INAUDIBLE) the angle of (INAUDIBLE) in this way you won't damage or you won't be rubbery.

PENDON: It's incredible. (INAUDIBLE) taste in Montreal. It's a real landmark in Montreal. On a busy day they can go through a meat, 300 to 350 loaves a day, each loaf takes 10 sandwiches, makes 10 sandwiches, so --


PENDON: -- you do the math. That's a lot of sandwiches. It's the best place. (INAUDIBLE)


PENDON: Absolutely.

For some reason in Montreal we're able to meet and mix and it's -- there's something special about that.

NIKKI YANOFSKY, SINGER: We're at the Lookout, which is right in Mount Royal and it's unique because you get to see the whole entire city from one spot.

I love traveling. I mean, that's part of why I love what I do. I get to see so many places in the world that I probably wouldn't have gotten to see if I didn't sing, you know, so, but I'm definitely coming back here. It's like there's no place like home and then you get back here and -- I love Montreal, I love the people, I have all my family and friends live here and I really am very lucky, you know, to be able to do what I do.

I mean, I live my dream every day. Every day is Saturday for me. Like, I just get to play music all day. You know, that's, that's all I ever do in my spare time anyway. So to be able to do that as like my job, it's just I laugh, at it doesn't feel like a job. I get to play for a living, you know.


Nikki Yanofsky singing.


YANOFSKY: I've been coming back to the jazz fest since I'm six and then six years later was my first performance, when I was 12.


Younger, Nikki Yanofsky singing.


YANOFSKY: So all in all, I've been back -- I've been back like -- a big majority of my life, each summer I've spent here, so --

My teachers are really, you know, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, people that I listen to, that's how I like to sing.

I would transcribe it and I would copy it until I had it perfect and then I would make it my own.

My goal with everything is to bring jazz to the younger generation because you see a lot of kids around here but, you know, a lot of people my age don't know what it is really.

So I'm kind of making it, hopefully, my goal is to make it kind of fresh and a new take on old songs and also new songs that I've written under (INAUDIBLE) and it's coming on really well.

Montreal Jazz Fest has something special going on. It's really, it's something to see.