The Montreal International Jazz Festival has captivated audiences in the wonderful city of Montreal for 35 years.
This year’s festival is filled with many great artists, including R&B, soul and funk music, and takes place from June 26 through July 6. According to word from the festival, most of the shows are free.
The festival is one of the great ways to enjoy Montreal in the summer and you can enjoy not only the entertainment but take advantage of some of the city’s great cafe life afterward.
One of my all-time favorite jazz pianists and singers, Vancouver’s own Diana Krall, will be performing at the festival, which is all the more reason to take in the festivities.
For more information about the festival, visit www.montrealjazzfest.com. For details on Montreal and what there is to do, visit www.tourisme-montreal.org.
Montreal is located in the province of Quebec, and for more details about Quebec, check out www.bonjourquebec.com.
While you’re in Montreal, it’s always a nice option to visit Old Montreal, the cradle of the city by the port, where everything began. Old Montreal’s narrow streets and historic buildings dating from as early as the 17th century have become the centerpiece of a gentrification, peopled by artists, baby boomers and young couples.
The area’s renaissance has produced new art galleries, boat rides on the St. Lawrence River, stylish boutique hotels under mansard roofs and, of course, gaily colored, horse-drawn carriages made for romantic rides through cobblestone streets.
I’ve always liked to stop at the Marche Bonsecours; its distinctive Greek Revival portico and tin-plated dome have stood out since 1847, when the building was Montreal’s agricultural marketplace. he building’s new incarnation as a showcase for Quebec designers and artisans features 15 boutiques and the Quebec Craft Council.
If you’re hungry, stop by Place Jacques Cartier, a broad square with many restaurants and the imposing Montreal City Hall, built at the end of the 19th century in the distinctive Second Empire style. Check out the many sidewalk cafes.
When you come to Montreal, it’s important to visit one of nature’s own gardens, Mount Royal, the 490-acre park in the center of the city, whose modern design was crafted in 1876 by Frederick Law Olmsted, the man who designed New York’s Central Park. The highlight for me is a walk around Beaver Lake, where one can do boating in the warm months and ice skating in winter.
Montreal also has four major farmers markets, offering fresh Quebec produce from April to October. One of the most popular is the Atwater Market, where an art deco depression-era tower hovers above indoor stalls of produce, cheese, meats and wines. Outside, vendors sell crafts and beds of flowers ready for planting. The market’s neighbor, the Lachine Canal, is an 8.7-mile bicycle-and-pedestrian pathway.
So, let’s head for Montreal!
The Mailbag . . .
In local travel news, the mailbag has been filling up with news about California.
Did you know that the charming community of Morro Bay on the Central California Coast is celebrating a significant milestone this year?
The official 50th celebration is called “Landmark & Legacy” and invites visitors to celebrate all year long by joining in a number of events and activities from historic bike tours to a Founders Day Community Picnic. There are also special anniversary deals at local hotels, restaurants and shops.
For more information, visit www.morrobay.org/events.
Now through Jan. 4, 2015, the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles is featuring “Route 66: The Road and the Romance.”
The exhibit celebrates the major transportation artery as a favored tourist destination and frequent subject of popular culture. Included in the exhibit are vintage gas pumps, neon art and the oldest existing Route 66 shield, along with artifacts like John Steinbeck’s original handwritten manuscript for “The Grapes of Wrath.”
More details at www.theautry.org.
The “California Coast” exhibit has opened at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
This is a great chance to take in new insights into spectacular underwater ecosystems. For example, a new 2,000-gallon tank filled with brittle stars, painted greenlings and rosy rockfish gives visitors a close-up view of the communities that thrive in California’s National Marine Sanctuaries, while interactive displays and graphics allow you to track the migration of sea turtles, sharks and other long-distance travelers.
Find out more at www.calacademy.org.
Madame Tussauds Hollywood has launched its biggest expansion since it opened its doors five years ago. The museum has given “life” to a variety of Marvel’s most popular super heroes in something called “Marvel Super Heroes 4D.”
Some of these heroes include Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine and Spiderman, brought to life in a new interactive themed area with realistic wax figures and the “Marvel Super Heroes 4D” experience. Included are live special effects, like water, wind and tremors.
For more information, visit www.madametussauds.com/Hollywood.
Closer to home, “Farm-to-Fork Week” will mark Sacramento as America’s farm-to-fork capital from Sept. 13-28. Plans include daily restaurant specials, farm dinners and street fairs; and on Sept. 27, the Farm-to-Fork Festival.
More details at www.visitsacramento.com.
George Medovoy covers travel at www.PostcardsForYou.com.