Oh, Canada! Six Ways to Celebrate Our Neighbor to the North

For more than 10 years, Champlain students have been studying abroad just a short drive away at our Montreal campus. So, in honor of Canada Day, we’re recommending six ways to celebrate in true Montreal style.

Please note: Since the Canadian border is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, let’s make plans for a rendezvous with our neighbor to the north when the world opens up.

1. Speak French, Juste un Peu!

Montreal is a bilingual city where Francophone and Anglophone students chat easily in both languages. Join the conversation with some key French words and phrases. “Bonjour” means “hello.” “Salut” can mean both “hi” and “goodbye.” You might need to know “Où sont les toilettes?” which translates to, “Where are the restrooms?” And “S’il vous plait” means, “please,” which is a good thing to remember since Canadians are known for being both nice and polite.

Did you know Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world? Champlain Abroad Montreal offers courses and coaching in French to get you fully immersed.

Champlain College’s Montreal Campus includes state-of-the-art computer labs, très chic lounge areas, and beautiful classrooms.

2. Read Some Can Lit (aka Canadian Literature).

Canada’s Nobel Prize winner, Alice Munro, is beloved worldwide for her searing short stories on relationships and love. Leonard Cohen’s poems and songs cover the same territory, and often feature his Montreal hometown. You’ll hear his “Hallelujah” pretty much everywhere, most recently in Shrek. Love The Handmaid’s Tale? The book was written by Canadian superstar Margaret Atwood. Other Canadian literary luminaries include Emma Donoghue, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Ondaatje, Ruth Ozeki, and Mordecai Richler. Emily St. John Mandel’s eerily prescient page-turner, Station Eleven, is about a world that dissolves after a new strain of influenza breaks out. If you prefer nonfiction, Malcolm Gladwell’s brilliant New Yorker essays and books like The Tipping Point offer intriguing new ways of looking at the world.

At Champlain Abroad Montreal, you can dive into local history and culture through courses like Food Writing or Cultural Immersion through Canadian Music. The campus also offers a wide array of discipline-specific courses, including Filmmaking, Video Game Design, International Business, Computer Science, Education, and many more.

3. Eat Some Montreal Bagels.

Get ready for an olfactory overload at historic St-Viature Bagel Shop where you can watch bagels being shaped by hand—the same way they’ve been made since 1957! Pro tip: order a dozen, devour two bagels while they’re still warm, and freeze the rest. Stuck in Burlington? Find Montreal-style bagels a little closer to home at Myer’s Bagels.

Mount Royal is a mountain (and park) right in the heart of Montreal with miles of hiking and biking trails.

4. Hike Mount Royal.

New York may have Central Park, but Montreal has a mountain right in the center of the city! The view from the top is definitely worth the trek, and there are a variety of ways — some short and easy — to reach the summit.

The staff at Champlain Abroad Montreal helps students get out and enjoy the city’s unique culture and natural beauty. No matter what time of year you study abroad, Montreal is filled with festivals and shows, and unlimited things to do and see. Plus, you’ll have plenty of company while you’re there: Montreal has the highest concentration of college students of all the major cities in North America!

5. Talk Hockey.

The Stanley Cup finals come and go, and year after year (to the dismay of hockey fans across the 49th parallel), a Canadian team fails to lift the hallowed Cup. That news won’t stop Montrealers from discussing their beloved Habs: the legendary Montreal Canadiens team that has won the Stanley Cup more times than any other hockey franchise.

Hannah Cartmel (center), Montreal Campus Assistant Director, with Champlain students in Old Montreal.

6. Explore Vieux Montreal.

You don’t have to fly to Europe to wander down cobblestone streets. Vieux Montreal is one of North America’s oldest urban areas, and it is full of old-world charm. Sip a café crème, soak up the history, and practice your French (see #1 above)!

“Champlain Abroad’s Montreal campus puts you at a crossroads between history and innovation,” says Genevieve Lord, Director of Champlain Abroad Montreal. “This is a place where 18th-century buildings house artificial intelligence labs, electric cars navigate cobblestone streets, and English speakers pepper their vocabulary with Québecois slang.”

A bíentôt, and Happy Canada Day!

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