It was a hot night in Montreal, Saturday August 15th. I had trouble sleeping from the heat, and I took a break from reading guidebooks to watch a fireworks display. Probably part of some festival, that weekend there were numerous festivals in the city.
In the morning, I decided to see another museum and another church to round off my weekend. I headed for St. Joseph’s Oratory. At the front of the church pilgrims and the very devoted go up the stairs on their knees, there is a wood staircase just for this reason. It is quite a show, this type of devotion would be seen throughout my visit. I began with a tour of the crypt. It is amazing, a windowless vaulted tunnel with 10,000 vigil lights flickering on chandeliers and votive racks. Collected along the walls are racks of canes and crutches, from pilgrims who came to be cured by Saint Joseph. It is really moving to see these canes and crutches, I am a Roman Catholic and I do believe faith will heal you. From the crypt I walked up to the basilica, sat for Mass for a half-hour, then walked the gardens and the stations of the cross. I met two young women in traditional clothing who were nice enough to let me take their photo.
I then went to the McCord Museum. I had heard a great deal about it but I was still not sure what to expect. I was impressed by their exhibits about the Being Irish O’Quebec, Simply Montreal: Wintering, Enjoying, Prospering, Meeting, eSpace, and an exhibit of photographs of Norman Bethune.
They also have a gorgeous Haida totem in their atrium.
After the McCord I went for lunch and a coffee, then drove back to Vermont to begin the last two weeks of my internship. I really enjoyed the city, it must be one of the most multicultural places I have ever been. I hope I can come back to Canada more often, I feel like I have seen so much of Europe that I should spend more time exploring North America.