It is always a pleasure to be able to refer to a slim compact guidebook packed with information that easily fits into your back pocket or purse.
well researched entertaining and informative guide- book, Exploring Old Montreal
, certainly qualifies as one such book.
Hustak explores Old Montréal in providing his readers with 12 different interesting walking tours.
These tours encompass City Hall and Points East, Place Jacques-Cartier, The Court House District, Champ-de-Mars, Place d’Armes, Rue St-Jacques, Victoria Square, McGill Street, Place d’Youville, St-François-Xavier, Place Royale and Rue de La Commune.
Anyone visiting Montréal would be well advised that these tours comprise the principal areas of interest within Old Montréal. Don’t leave Montréal without checking out all of these sites.
As the author states: “Montreal is really a number of little villages and Old Montreal is the oldest. Here you will find the spirit of its ancien regime survives just below the surface of the modern city that has grown up all around it.”
Written in an easy-to-read format, Hustak takes the reader by the hand and in bold letters points out the background histories of the various areas and the principal actors who have made them so interesting.
As an example, if you refer to the Place d’Armes walk, Hustak informs us that the name Place d’Armes was acquired because it is situated where a small band of European Indian fighters and the city’s religious founders first engaged the Iroquois in battle.
The visitor is then informed that there exists on the north side of the square a plaque that reads as follows: “Near this square, afterwards named Place d’Armes, the founders of Ville-Marie first encountered the Iroquois, whom they defeated, Paul de Chomedy de Maisonneuve killing the chief with his own hands, March 1644.”
No doubt, an interesting piece of historical information, although in this day and age it would appear to be politically incorrect!
What is helpful to the traveler and tourist alike is that the directions presented in the book are clear and precise leaving very little to the imagination.
It is as if you have stopped someone on the street and asked for directions to a specific Montreal site.
If you are fortunate, you will meet someone who can succinctly tell you how to painlessly locate your destination without running around in circles. There is nothing more annoying than receiving inaccurate directions causing you to waste your precious time.
Another useful feature of the guidebook are the interesting black and white photo images, as well as several useful maps pinpointing the various monuments, squares, buildings, museums, streets, and other useful tidbits that you will encounter while exploring Old Montreal.
At the end of the book you will find a helpful index naming people and places, a list of restaurants referred to during your walking tours, and finally a list of helpful web sites.
No doubt as Hustak states: “Old Montreal has surprises at every turn. You can touch the foundations of the original mission built in 1642, stroll along rue Chagouamigon, the continent’s shortest street with the longest name (Shah-goo-ahm-ee-gone), see where Canada’s first Parliament once stood, take a peek at hundreds of antique dolls, or kneel before a saint in a crystal coffin.”
This guidebook will certainly help you enjoy all of the above and easily lead you to their locations.