:: E X P O 5 7 :: HEALTH COACH TRAVELS to Montréal :: editorial part two

Le Rhinocerous  -  Luxury Rubbish  -  Phi Centre
Old Montréal - click to expand

H o w  a re yo u  t r e a t i n g  li fe ..?

Travel supplies generous opportunity to evaluate your life skills. It will test the resilience of your health, default stress behaviour, and your social skills. How well can you save, plan, strategize, and prepare? You will find out how well you cope without the supports, familiar routines, and comforts of home. Do you answer yes to the adventure and challenges of travel with courage, flexibility of personal habit, and social grace?

My Montréal trip experience was in part, a triumph of mistaken assumption, complicated by inexperience, expectation, personal foible,  and missed opportunity involving a lack of communication

It was meant to be a fun, stress-relieving getaway, with an itinerary designed for ease, but that made no difference to the overwhelming distress that I experienced the first two days. 

Please visit:

Nature vs city
If your stress is people stress, a trip to a busy city may not be the best choice. What I really needed was a restorative retreat.

The Island of Montréal is approximately 50 km long and 16 km wide. It is situated at the confluence of two waterways: The Saint Lawrence Seaway and Ottawa riverMontréal is the 37th most populated island on earth, outranking Manhattan Island in New York City.

downtown Montréal, viewed from atop Mont Royal
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Compare Winnipeg urban core population of less than 800,000 to Montréal urban core population of more than 4 million people; overwhelming density, scale, volume, construction, and 24-7 traffic. The superstructure of the city is built up a hill, and soars high overhead. Walking from the harbour to downtown is uphill all the way. 

I felt trapped in an airtight hull below the waterline. A lack of sleep contributed to raggedy eye, which developed into googley eye, and the impaired vision was disorienting and disturbing.  An eye exam before the trip yielded a test score of 20/20. I had also checked other important health risk symptoms, such as stroke, and diabetes, which can affect eye health, but there were no leads. Finally, I had to admit that 7K hours of research writing screen time, has taken its toll. There was no escape until we climbed over Mont Royal the third day, where everything came down to eye level in the quaint neighbourhoods of Le Plateau and Mile End, and I was finally able to focus and find my bearings.

Airbnb vs Hotel
The beds in a hotel are luxurious, compared to the beds in our Airbnb condo. I did not have a restful sleep during our four night stay. I seemed to float, not able to settle beyond a superficial level of sleep, on the impossibly hard surface of the bed, with its token pillows and covers. To be fair, hotels have security to prevent robbery.

We chose Airbnb for the value of having a condo, situated on the edge of Old Montreal and downtown, near the harbour, with two queen-sized beds, and a washer-dryer - all to ourselves. We chose to support a woman entrepreneur. Airbnb is the grownup spin on a hostel, with some of the comforts of home, including familiar routines. We stocked up on snacks, sparkling and still water, wine, and cream for coffee. We froze, and took home, baked goods, like bagels. Some of the best food I ate in MTL, were the toasted St-Viateur bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon at the Airbnb condo. We were able to connect easily to Wifi and to our Netflix account. We walked to all of our destinations. I would choose to be in a different neighbourhood next time because downtown is noisy, everything closes earlier, and it feels lonely.

note: Airbnb is a disruptive, new form of, and an unregulated part of the travel accommodation rental industry, and some Canadian provinces are considering levying taxes and regulations in line with the hotel industry.

Friday, May 12, 2017 
Old Montréal - Downtown
  • sleep in
  • late coffee/breakfast: Olive and Gourmando - stroll back through Old Montréal 
  • 3:30 Afternoon Tea at The Ritz - reservation
  • Dinner: to be decided

The morning after
I discovered, thirty one years after my last visit to Montréal, that I no longer have my youthful, bohemian ability to sleep in any given situation, or to cope with the ill affects of sleep deprivation. I learned about the necessity and value of the social skills humility, and decorum. My stress default behaviour of hostility and alienation took on an active role, and as shameful as this behaviour and its consequences are, it is a wasted opportunity for personal development, to deny my culpability. More about that under the topic: High Drama: Afternoon Tea at the Ritz.

Introvert vs Extrovert 
I have a personality profile with the highest amount of introversion. An introvert, unlike an extrovert, rarely needs any external stimulation, because introverts are often over-stimulated by their own feelings, and thoughts. 

I used to have great difficulty leaving the safety of home. What has helped me? Developing my communication skills has been a key, and has happened in my one-on-one work with people, as a massage therapist. Knowledge, understanding, and an increased ability to identify and to articulate my needs and experiences, has literally saved me, and now give me some of my greatest pleasure and challenge. Health is also a key, and I have become accomplished at giving myself all sorts of proper support in order to maintain resilient health and a sustained level of funtionality.

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Old Montréal
We avoided the busy tourist season, souvenir shops, and sad horses, and still struggled to navigate the narrow, crowded sidewalks, and congested streets, with aggressive traffic. Take unscheduled time here to wander around with a spirit of serendipity. Visit in the off seasons of autumn, winter, and spring; and in the haunted after-hours.

Le Petit Dep 
179 Rue Saint-Paul

J'adore tout sur Le Petit Dep! It had everything we were looking for in Montréal to make our stay special. Charming character, with a thoughtfully curated collection of gourmet, as well as staple goodies, lovely pastries, superb coffees and teas, freshly prepared food like healthy salads, pastas, sandwiches, and whole grain vegetarian meals, and unusual and seasonal treats, and gifts. 

Francis Léveillé
We found a reason to visit every day; it was our go-to place for all of our essentials for our Airbnb condo, and for a little comfort and cheer.

My daughter bought postcards at Le Petit Dep by Montreal artist, Francis Léveillé, and sent them home to her husband and son. I bought a melange of delightful treats for my grandson.

Sit awhile and immerse yourself in the comfort and quiet safety at the little corner table or on the outdoor benches. Fill up on restorative refreshments. Let the bustle of the city pass you by ...

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Olive & Gourmando 
351 Saint-Paul St

This is a characterful place with impressively friendly, efficient service; especially considering there are always people waiting, relaxing, and chatting on benches on the sidewalk. Don't take a mini sight-seeing tour of the street, like we did, because you won't wait for long.

We devoured our perfect almond croissants and cappuccinos, still depleted from the first day of travel. The made-from-scratch food is gourmet healthy. We should have eaten more here. I made the mistake of feeling rushed, worried we'd be late for our afternoon tea, and confused about how much food to eat before.

Mont Royal
The hill consists of three peaks: Colline de la Croix (or Mont Royal proper) at 233 m (764 ft), Colline d'Outremont (or Mount Murray, in the borough of Outremont) at 211 m (692 ft), and Westmount Summit at 201 m (659 ft) elevation above mean sea level.

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In mid May, the days were full of lively, maritime weather, with bracing, fresh air, mercurial rainfalls, and dramatic sun and cloud choreography. The weather is one of my favourite things about Montréal; it adds another facet of character to the cinematography of this unique place. Be prepared to take photos. We used POCKETJUICE for mobile recharging.

We walked 6-8 hours a day. Montréal tested our aerobic fitness, and a very interesting story emerged. I do not work out, and I am more than twice her age, but I easily maintained the pace and distance alongside my young, fit daughter. I experienced no soreness, except blistering from a new pair of sandals.  

Hydration, a Basic Health Habit,  is a digestive function, and electrolytes are the key. Dehydration is the leading cause of inflammation, including environmental allergies, and nasal, and lung congestion. Aerobic conditioning, the purpose of exercise, is not possible if you mouth breathe; that is where the real work of stretching and strengthening happens. Sleep and awake apnea are epidemic in Canada.

Because I hydrate consistently, I do not suffer from digestive dysfunction or disease, environmental allergic hypersensitivity, or the asthma that is epidemic in Canada. I rarely suffer from nasal congestion, which allows me to nose breathe all of the time. I have been practicing daily, deep breathing; developing the habit in a gradual, strategic, and comfortable way. It has become a default behaviour that my daughter began to observe after we identified my unusual aerobic fitness. I no longer snore when I sleep - it used to wake my daughter when we lived together. The daily deep breathing has become a default behaviour that I use for relaxation, and to help relieve pain, stress, fatigue, and anxiety, affectively. 

The sidewalks of Montréal are smoke-choked, and we could not find public recycling on our walks. 

my Montréal walking essentials:
  • ★ 100% pure Argan oil, with an SPF of 47 for skin health, and environmental protection.
  • Puma suede platform core sneaker  This may be the best pair of shoes for work, and walking on cement, that I have ever purchased; defined by comfort, health, and super-fly-style.
  • Aritzia Diamond Mosaic Blanket 
  • Matt and Nat is a Montreal company. I love the vintage design aesthetic, and hardiness of my FABI urban backpack. ★  

What is a Health Trend?
The world of health is dominated by trends and business, and the world of medicine, which we name healthcare, would get a failing grade for health. Extreme fitness, specialized diets, and weight loss have developed to fill the void. 

The current aggressive marketing and mass popularity of idealized body image, weight-loss, and extreme fitness is unique, but it is not about health. 

Canada has two new eating disorders related to health dieting trends, and a new psychological disorder, Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD), that now includes a growing number of young boys and men, as well as girls and women; engaging in extreme fitness, health dieting, drug use, surgery, augmentation, and supplementation behaviours. 

Unfortunately, most people that I treat have extreme fitness habits, unsupported by basic health habits - with effects compounded by unhealthy habits. I have been charting the short and long term damage of this behaviour for more than 25 years.

While the goal of basic health habits is the creation and support of health, the purpose of a health trend is focused on a specific result such as weight loss, detoxification, or physical fitness. Health trends are temporary measures for achieving a limited outcome - often at a cost to our health, while basic health habits are essential, sustainable, and fundamental for the health of all humans.

When health is the goal, rather than weight loss or an increase in body size, better choices are made, the health benefits are more comprehensive and sustainable, and include: beauty, weight management, muscle development, and healthy aging.

Cultural Identity
I will concede that we live in a physical world of appearances, but the cultural pressures of youth, beauty, and idealized body image are extreme threats to our health. The popular trend of gender identity is also not my favourite way to be identified; a mature woman in our unhealthy, western culture, is put in a limiting nonsexual category; thereby losing status, value, and purpose.  

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Montréal sartorial street style offered living solutions for all of the conflicts of age, beauty, gender, and comfort, with élan. Vive la différence!

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French Culture
Dramatically expressive, compared to the stoic Prairie personality; my feelings of pleasure or displeasure were mirrored back to me ten-fold, and I had intuitive and vivacious exchanges involving facial expression, gesture, and sounds. The people of Montréal hosted the most heavily-attended world fair of all time, in 1967, which was also the celebration of the centennial of Canadian confederation. 33 million people visited Montréal during the year-long celebration of EXPO 67; at a time when the population of Canada was 20 million. 

I'm in my unfiltered stage of development. I LOVE the gifts of age; there was no merit in youth itself, for me - it was a disruptive distraction. I'm fierce; I was a tame milquetoast in my youth! I have earned every ounce of my courage. I am definitely more aerobically fit than I was 31 years ago, now that I support my health with the consistent practice of Basic Health Habits. I have developed my Life Skills, and learning is my super-power ... 

Montréal is old. Montréal is not afraid of old. Montréal has not forsaken old. Montréal transforms the old; repurposing the old with creative ingenuity into friendly, communal spaces. Montréal honours and celebrates old.

Look! There is Jean Valjean.
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High Drama: Afternoon Tea at the Ritz
Ritz-Carlton Montreal, 1228 Sherbrooke St

This was my great faux pas of the trip, and a situation complicated by expectation.  

I educated myself about afternoon tea, and according to Tony Barkataki, a tea buyer for Taylor's of HarrogateJess Warden, the Imperial Room manager at Bettys Harrogate, and Kat Burn; the Belmont Room manager at Betty's York, forthwith are some of the finer points of Afternoon tea: 
  • The best way to taste tea is to slurp, loudly. 
  • It’s something you could have instead of lunch. 
  • What should every afternoon tea include? A variety of sandwiches (a more fine sandwich, something nicer than you’d make at home), scones, and pastries. 
  • High (Royal) tea includes Champagne. 
  • If unlimited sandwiches are offered, it's not uncouth to dig in, We encourage you to go for it! 
  • Dress? Casual, comfortable - you’re here to relax and enjoy. 
  • We would never correct anyone on the way they choose to have their afternoon tea. 

I remember this experience like a scene from Les Misérables; if this were an audition, I would have easily won the part of the villain, the persecutor of our unfortunate server, Jean Valjean. My daughter was the heroine - grace personified; the man sitting across from us, with the wall-eyed, wayward eye (strabismus), pointed deliberately at me with accusation, and the cohorts of Jean Valjean, rounded out the cast in this comedy of errors.

We were hot and sweaty from our long walk up rue McGill, by the time we arrived at the hotel. In our story, the hapless crime of poor Jean Valjean, was an innocent compliment given to my daughter, and misinterpreted by moi. I was unable contain the inner manifestations of the crisis that had resulted in this getaway.

My daughter worked in retail, and has confided in me that the most hostile customers that she encountered, were women my age. This insight, combined with my recent hotel employment experience, the most unhealthy, unsafe work environment of my 44 year work history, should have made me more sensitive, generous, and kind to Jean. I could have easily turned this titanic of a social disaster around with humility and grace, but I  passively chose not to, and it ruined this event for us.

We chose the ladylike Veuve Clicquot Brut Carte Jaune with our Royal Tea at the Ritz: 
  • Plain and cranberry scones, homemade Devonshire-style cream and jam
  • A selection of four finger cut sandwiches: cucumber and mint cream on six grain bread - smoked salmon, dill cream on brioche - confit tomatoes, Kalamata olives on brioche  - herb chicken breast, arugula pesto on six grain bread
  • A selection of four of the pastry chef’s creations

The tea was the best part! The Montreal Ritz bags their tea, in-house. My daughter chose Grand Gen Mai Cha, Japanese Sencha green tea, and I had Lapsang Souchong. But we didn't actually get to have our tea with the food. When I questioned it, Jean Valjean informed me that this was the proper way. 

There may still be a poster in the lobby, announcing the prohibition of this antagonistic, exhausted, and obstinate, old individual. 

Thunder Shirts and a Hug From Holt Renfrew 
 1300 Sherbrooke St

I would have easily disregarded any suggestion that a visit to Holt Renfrew would save the day; thinking influenced by my youthful era's anti-establishment attitude and commitment to the belief that success was best measured by personal enlightenment, rather than the accumulation of wealth. 

This is Clare's glamorous milieu. On this particular day, there was a singular event: a Christian Louboutin lipstick trunk show. Thank you for your special care with flair, Holt Renfrew - we were both treated equally well by the happy, sophisticated sales associates.

Christian Louboutin: Silky Satin Rouge

  • The patented ThunderShirt design applies gentle, constant pressure to calm anxiety, fear, and over-excitement.
  • Calms during fireworks, thunder, separation, travel, vet visits, and much more with no training, and without medication, so your animal friend stays drug-free. 
  • Great for rescue dogs.

A thundershirt is like a comforting and reassuring hug. I bought a Theory cashmere sweater at Holt Renfrew. It is my version of a a thundershirt. 
stay tuned for fashion photo shoot in part three

Holt Café serves afternoon tea and Sunday brunch.

Maestro S.V.P. ★ 
3615 St Laurent Blvd - (514) 842-6447

Montréal is a city to romance, and this is the perfect setting for the first date. Sexy, soulful, and open to the street, Maestro is iconic Montréal; je ne sais quoi. The couple on the elevated sidewalk patio, engaged in a surreal cornucopia of seafood, would not have noticed if I had plucked a whole lobster from the summit, as I passed by into the enchanted atmosphere. Fresh air from the open street, perfect service, lovely patrons, restorative cocktails, kumamoto oysters, sparkling candlelight, wine, crab, and copious moules frites, and Julie (we LOVE you), soothed our weary and scalded hearts.

This one's for you, Maestro S.V.P.

is a taxi service founded in Quebec that is 100% electric. The Teo fleet, of 60 electric cars made up of Kia Souls and Teslas, operates in a similar style to Uber. There is a Téo free mobile app that allows you to order a car and follow its progress to you. All payments are made via credit card, using the Téo mobile app. Teo follows the regulations of the Committee on Transport Quebec in terms of pricing. Rates start at $3.45; the rider is charge $1.70 per km, and $0.63 per minute of waiting, and is available city-wide.

I was impressed with the personable driver profiles that accompanied our taxi engagement. It encourages trust, friendliness, and sociability; helping to make the whole experience more enjoyable. We discussed Moroccan food, culture, and jazz with our chauffeurs.

end of part two

Coming Soon
Part Three: Carry me forward
Le Plateau - Mile End 
with Montréal IT GIRL, Chantal LaFrenière

just a few babes,
shooting probiotic-rich tequila, and selfies 
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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, in-depth, reporting, as always! I am pleased that you would go back; I would go again with you in a heart beat!


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