Nine Things to do as a Family in Montreal (and One Thing Not to Do)

The following post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. Thanks, Blue Diamond!
photo 5 flowers in her hair... 
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...almonds everywhere. 
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Last week, at this time, we were just leaving Montreal on our way back to Vermont. It was raining as we left, but thankfully, we spent the majority of the week under clear Quebecois skies, exploring the city with my parents and sister, cousins and aunt. We were able to spend four full days in Montreal and while we didn't see everything (or even some of everything) we did get to take in a few family friendly sites that appealed to all ages and generations of travelers. They are...
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1. Purchase Fromage and Fruit at Atwater Market - When we first arrived in Montreal, we met my sister's high school friend at Atwater Market.  Bo got us kicked out of a cheese shop, but other than that, we had a lovely afternoon picking out fresh fruit, fiddlehead ferns (my favorite) and cheese to serve with dinner at our rental apartment in Westmount. ED: We don't stay in hotels when we travel as a family anymore. We have to get two rooms now that there are six of us ($$$$$) and it's far easier/less stressful preparing dinners at home than it is dining out. We also did takeout via Eatz Encore which was located around the corner from our house and specializes in gluten free options and incredibly delicious (vegan/vegetarian) salads.
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2. Row Your Boat - After doing some food shopping at Atwater, we crossed the canal and decided (my mom's idea) to do a family canoe outing which ended up being one of the most fun things we have ever done as a family, mainly because it was such an absurd thing to do at 5:00pm on a Monday and we were all amazed that all the kids were game to strap on life vests and paddle around the canal for an hour. Good times.
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3. Visit the Insectarium - This place blew my mind. Especially the ant exhibit which I did not get a photo of (argh) but you can read more about it, here. The beetles were also a highlight. (And the kids loved the stick insects.)
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4. The Botanical Garden - The Botanical Garden is at the top of my list of must-dos, especially if you plan to travel to Montreal, like, right this second. Spring has sprung in a major way. The tulips were all in full bloom and the air smelled like lilacs and apple blossoms. It was absolute heaven.
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5. Old Montreal - We spent an entire day in Old Montreal and it was my favorite day of all the days we spent scampering around the town. We toured Notre-Dame Basilica and took a horse and buggy around the old city. (Revi was petrified to get on the buggy so we had to leave her with my parents. For the rest of us, it was a delight, even if all of the historical information our driver gave us was hilariously inaccurate.)
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I wish I had the name of the restaurant where Hal and I took the kids (my parents and sister dined elsewhere, (somewhere with gluten-free options) because their pizza was delicious and the outdoor seating area was totally child-friendly. Everything that could have gone wrong WENT wrong during lunch and after tears WERE shed from every. single. one of us, we all eventually broke into hysterics laughing because by the time we were finished with lunch, we were dealing with broken chairs, waterlogged pizza, and multiple flesh wounds. (How hard am I selling this whole travel-with small children thing?)

Do you ever have those moments where you're like, "Oh, this moment is going to flash before my eyes before I die"?

That lunch at the forgot-it's-name Italian restaurant in Old Montreal was one of those. 
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We cried until we laughed and then we laughed until we cried and nothing else mattered after that.

... Except, of course, the dancing...

Which we did. In the square. To the sound of a trumpeter with accompanying boom box. Legit.
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6. China Town -  Some places just vibe well with (my?) kids and the platform in the middle of China Town served as a stage for make believe performances and places to play dress up and hang with cousins. (We spent three hours in this spot because the kids were having so much fun watching and dancing and running around like banshees with their paper fans.)
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Until, of course, it started to rain and none of us had umbrellas.
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Still, we loved us some China Town. Huge fans, all of us...
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7. Get Lost - Hal and I both had dead phones by each and every day's end (because our phones are old/broken and on the fritz)  AKA no GPS to help us get home from across town. SO. On one particular occasion, we got lost. But, like, on purpose. Kind of. We eventually found our way back home and by WE I mean HAL because my sense of direction is F- and his is A+. Anyway, dead phones or not, getting lost was incredibly fun and exciting because we got to see parts of the city we hadn't intended on seeing and it felt like an adventure and the twins were finally asleep in the car so it was kind of nice to just.... drive. (And listen to them snore. Finally.)
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8. The Biodome  - Full disclosure, we did NOT go here. We had planned to go here but when we arrived, we decided that the day was too beautiful to spend indoors so we made a quick change of plans and walked on over to the Insectarium (see above) and Botanical Gardens instead. Next time...
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9. Taking in the view at Mount Royal - Unbelievable view. Unfortunately, we were not in Montreal on a Sunday so we missed the Tam-Tams which was a huge bummer because the kids/I would have gone nuts for that action. (Hal would have run for the hills.)

10. Feeding Raccoons at Mount Royal - Okay so THIS is the thing NOT to do which I didn't realize was a thing not to do until AFTER we did the thing that we weren't supposed to be doing, which was partaking in feeding raccoons. One raccoon, specifically and YES I KNOW ANIMALS CARRY DISEASE I AM THE IRRESPONSIBLEST but I grew up being irresponsibly friendly with small yet wild-ish animals and lived to see the day.  I'm with Pocahontas. So is Archer.
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Anyway, later that night, when we googled Mount Royal Raccoons, we found this:


Needless to say, these raccoons are extremely friendly/slightly domesticated/out of control. Do not feed them. You will be fined. Maybe. Ahem. (Whoops.)

And speaking of extremely friendly/slightly domesticated/out of control, here I am with Bo, my cousin Yvette, her daughter Mikaela, the big O, and our snacks. 
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Blue Diamond hooked us up with enough almonds to last us our entire trip/supply us with a much needed protein boost as we experienced all of the above and more. Almonds are our go-to healthy snack for planes, trains, automobiles, carriage rides, shoulder rides, walks around gardens and etc. Thanks, guys. 
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How about you guys? Any Montreal/Quebecois families in the house? Where do you like to take your children/families/selves? Also, I AM IN LOVE WITH YOUR CITY. What an incredible place. 

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