A Trip to Montréal

Back in April, I investigated summer judo training for Lauren. I inquired with Marie-Hélène Chisholm, The High-Performance Manager for Judo Canada, as to whether there would be any appropriate camps in Canada this summer. She invited Lauren to The National Summer Training Camp in Montréal in July, a camp for the top juniors and seniors in Canada, including their Olympic team. Since our family hadn’t had a trip that didn’t involve spending most of our time sitting in a sporting venue waiting for our girls, and other Club Olympians, to compete, we decided to make the trip a family vacation. Grant Johnson came along to train as well.

While Grant flew to Montréal, we drove. On the way there we drove down through Chicago to the Blue Water Bridge north of Detroit. Other than an hour wait to cross the bridge, the drive went smoothly. That first day we made it to Kingston, Ontario, which left us a short drive the next day to Montréal. Along the route, people were very friendly, and while we stopped for gas, Sophia commented, “The workers here don’t seem to hate their lives.”

The training camp took place in the Olympic Stadium built for the 1976 Olympics.

Olympic Stadium

It took us a while to find the right entrance, the one labeled “Le Centre Sportif.”


Once inside we could see the Olympic pool and diving area. The judo training is in the area labeled: “Institut National Du Sport Du Québec.”


Here’s Grant and Lauren with USA Olympian Nick Delpopolo:

This time they’re with Canadian Olympic Medalist Antoine Valois-Fortier:

Speaking of Antoine, here he is again:


This demonstrates the relative standing of judo in the USA and the rest of the world. In the USA we couldn’t even see Kayla Harrison’s gold medal match at the London Olympics on television.

There are a number of attractions in the Olympic Park. One of them is the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium:

We stayed at the Hôtel ‎Universel Montréal, a short walk from the Olympic stadium. The rooms were clean and comfortable, and the service was exemplary.

While Lauren and Grant were training, the rest of us did a little sight-seeing, in-between runs to the laundromat to wash sweaty Judo gis. One day Janice, Sophia and I took the Métro downtown. Our first stop was the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal.



Sophia could only take a few minutes of that, and so we stopped at Les Glaceurs – Centre-Ville for a cupcake and coffees.


After the break, we walked around Old Montréal and down to the Old Port. As we rested in the shade, a police officer approached us. She asked if we had any plans. When we said that we didn’t, she recommended Voiles En Voiles, a climbing park fashioned after a pirate ship, but she told us that it would be better at night, as it would be cooler and the lights would be more fun. We didn’t get back down until Friday night.






While Grant, Lauren and Sophia had fun at Voiles En Voiles, Janice and I drove to the Parc de la Cité-du-Havre, which has a great view of the city.



Here’s one taken with a film camera, a Fuji GW670III:


Sophia wanted to do some clothes shopping, and so one day we took the Métro to The Underground City, 32 kilometres’ worth of tunnels under twelve square kilometres of the most densely populated part of Montréal:


On a different day Janice, Sophia and I drove to a lookout on Mont Royal. You can see the Olympic Stadium in the background:


At the lookout, there were a bunch of raccoons.


Looking more closely, there were at least ten right around the lookout.


Lastly, there was this guy. Is anyone else reminded of Eric Cartman?


After visiting the lookout, we headed to L’ Oratoire Saint Joseph Du Mont-Royal, the largest church in Canada.





Sophia did a good job staying still during the one second exposure:



One evening we headed to the Jean-Talon Market:

We ate our best meal of the trip at El Rey Del Taco on the edge of the market:

On Friday, Grant and Lauren only had a morning training session, and thus they needed some more physical activity for the afternoon. As a result, we went to iSaute Montreal E, a trampoline park.





We put in over 2100 miles (3379 km) driving this trip, but it was well worth it. The Judo camp was outstanding. Thank you to Marie-Hélène Chisholm and Judo Canada for having us! Montréal is beautiful, and the people are very friendly. We look forward to going back.

All photographs and text are copyrighted 2016 by Peter De Smidt. All rights reserved.

5 thoughts on “A Trip to Montréal

  1. Beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing! The lights and the colors are perfect. (you must have brought a tripod?)

  2. Thank you, Ewa. I did have a tripod along, although most of the time I left it in the hotel room. The ones inside the churches were all hand held, except for the one in the chapel with the candles. I’m hesitant to use a tripod in churches. A number of years ago a friar in Germany gave me a serious scolding for using one in his church. 🙂

  3. Wonderful trip. Always great to see happy family! Love the pics. I have visited most of those places, but not the climbing ship. I am going to tell my daughter’s very athletic teenagers about it.

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