The Montreal Tribune

 

Why I Love Montreal

(And almost everyone whose ever been here)

By Martin Stone

Itís not just the Jazz Festival, the Comedy Festival, Fringe Festival or the
Film Festival. Its beyond the African, Caribbean, Asian and Italian
festivals. Itís not only the rich and colorful nightlife. Itís more than just
the mountain in the middle of the city and the spacious parklands sprinkled
through every part of the urban landscape. Itís in addition to the Formula One
Grand Prix, the international tennis championships and the global fireworks
competition. Itís all those things and more - much more.

In a word, it's the ambiance.

The flavor of Montreal is unique. It's a bilingual, multicultural,
international, cosmopolitan metropolis that exudes a feeling of freedom,
liberation and joie de vivre.

In a nutshell that explains why our festivals are so much fun. They are safe.
Hundreds of thousands of people, locals and visitors alike, cram our summer
streets to enjoy the sounds of jazz and blues and rock Ďn roll, to gambol in
the hilarity created by many of the world's funniest comedians. They stand
shoulder-to-shoulder and cheek-by-jowl to view presentations from the leading
edge of theatre. They sit in darkened bijous to watch the pick of the year's
cinematic production unfold on silver screens. And they enjoy each other's
company.

There is a relaxed feeling in the streets. Townies and tourists walk
side-by-side unafraid. They visit bars, nightclubs and restaurants, gaze in
awe at the churches and cathedrals, marvel at the unique architecture, stroll
the historic waterfront - and they are unafraid.

I love Montreal because I am free to be myself. Montrealers love characters
and are not fearful of using imagination in their personal dress and fashion.
Montrealers encourage creativity and are bored by tedious mediocrity. They
love to express themselves. They love to be themselves. They feel, act and
enjoy an almost unheard-of elsewhere sense of freedom and they extend that
fortuity to those around them.

Montreal features some of the world's finest and most diverse restaurants. We
abound in entertainment venues of almost every type. Our streets are
well-kept and our parks are planted with a vast variety of verdure. I love
that about this city and I feast on it daily.

But what I love most is the sense of liberty, emancipation, and independence. I
have also enjoyed many or all of those treasures in some of the world's other
fine cities. But nowhere have I ever felt it so much a part of my lifestyle
as here.

For this I, and almost everyone who has ever been here, love Montreal.

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