Landed in Montreal early this morning (12:15am) and reached the hotel over an hour past midnight. My wife and teenagers are with me. None of us had been to Montreal before, so it’s a nice treat. Unfortunately, the family flies back to Calgary Sunday night. They will miss all of Apimondia, but to be honest, they say they get more than enough bee talk from me and they don’t mind taking a pass on the conference. So, they head back to work and school while I stay on to party with the other 12,300 Apimondia delegates.
Both teenagers have an interest in McGill. For the 17-year-old senior in high school, the school is especially relevant. We met a family friend and had a nice tour. The kids (and we parents) were suitably impressed with the look and feel of the urban campus.
After the McGill walk around, we ended up at Schwartz’s, also known as the Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, for a fantastic smoked-meat sandwich with sweet soft pickles and coleslaw. The latter two tasted just as Mom used to make them.
We were able to squeeze my wheelchair through the crowded, 100-year-old deli to a table where our family devoured the incredible food. In Montreal? Eat at Schwartz’s.
Ethnicity runs deep in this city. Just down the street we passed two Hungarian food stores and – a first for me outside Europe – a Slovenian butcher shop. I’m not sure what makes the Slovenian meat shop different from other meat shops, but it was cool to see such a place outside Ljubljana.
From there, we continued down Saint Laurent Boulevard, past an anarchist bookstore called l’Insoumise (“The Insubordinate”). My 17-year-old went in to talk shop with the guy at the counter and to see if they had any Jordan Peterson books. I would have gone in, too, but this little revolutionary bookstore has steps and I was in my wheelchair. I should have a chat about inclusivity with the bookstore committee (the comité libraire) which runs the place. Also, I would ask why they have bars around the shop window and door. Was that to protect against, you know, lawless anarchists?
Our walk took us through Montreal’s Chinatown. We didn’t stop as none of my family ever buy much of anything (except for books), we had just eaten (though I love Chinese food, I was full of Schwartz smoked-meat), and besides, I had nearly knocked down someone with my wheelchair and didn’t want to risk a second almost-crash.
We continued on to the old city, near the St Lawrence River, where we found the Notre Dame Basilica. Its first stones were laid by the parish 450 years ago. There was a wedding just leaving, fittingly in a drizzle that turned into a heavy rain.
At this point, having travelled around six kilometres, we headed back (soaked) to our hotel. We will do a bit more sightseeing tomorrow, then in late afternoon, three-quarters of us are flying to Calgary. I’m the quarter who stays for five more days. Then it will be all about bees as I tour the acres of bee equipment and take in as many of the 269 talks and 566 posters as I can. My idea of fun.
If you are in Montreal for the Apimondia bee conference, drop by and see my presentation about foraging distances of leafcutters, honey bees, and bumble bees (Foraging distances of commercially-deployed bees: A meta-analysis; 1:45pm, Thursday, September 12, Room 517B) or see my poster (“Who becomes an urban beekeeper?”), which is formally titled Demographic and socio-economic influences of urban beekeeping. My poster will be up all day on Tuesday, September 10 – look for poster P.07.143.