The Insta-Home Challenge: Montreal

by Angela on September 7, 2014 · 0 comments

Max and Mike in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal.

Ladies and gentleman — or should I say, mesdames et messieurs — welcome to our very kid-friendly home in Montreal, Quebec.

It’s with a huge sigh of relief to come to our Canadian abode after spending over two months in a very sophisticated and decidedly un-kid-friendly rowhouse in Washington, DC.  Though we absolutely loved the neighborhood of Capitol Hill, Eva spent her first few walking milestones perched precariously on the landings at the top of steep, narrow stairwells or unsuccesfully avoiding the edges of sharp, solid furniture. I either hovered, ready to spot impending crash landings, or full-out carried her everywhere in that rowhouse.  Here in Montreal, she can roam freely, and we are multitudes less stressed about her safety.

In fact, this housing is probably the closest to structually “perfect” for city apartment living we’ve found so far on the road. It’s open, airy, sunlit, clean. Perfect, except for one glaring problem: the internet here sucks.  We have access to the building’s wi-fi, and it’s painfully slow (when it’s working at all). Watching anything on our Roku is a joke, and I’ve had to go over to the Second Cup cafe almost every morning just to get the minimal amount done on some big projects we have in the works. Mike gets internet access at the Place des Arts, so he’s online at the Lion King.

That being said, our condo is still pretty fly for no wi-fi.

Max and Eva share a spacious room with super high ceilings, and their bathroom has one of the best deep soaking tubs we’ve seen, with a separate shower stall.

Rub-a-dub-dub, Ethan Schmidt’s in the tub!

I found this 2-bedroom/2.5 bath penthouse loft condo on Airbnb (which I am loathe to use because of our iffy track record with their properties in the past) five months ago, and was able to secure a great rate for our three weeks by offering some Lion King show tickets. The owner even offered to throw in parking under the building! So you can imagine my annoyance when, the week before we’re set to move in and I reach out to him, he writes, “Parking is $15/day.” Pardonnez?  Even though I point out his previous promise written in the message chain right there on the Airbnb website, he goes on to say that he has no control over the parking as it’s a separate charge billed to him by the building. Urrrrghghg (this is in my own language). Then I say, “We aren’t getting the show tickets for free — we pay out of pocket for them.” To which he replied, “Oh, I cannot see the show.” Double urrrrghghg.  We resolved this by me paying him the amount we would have spent for his pair of show tickets, and called it a day.   Urrrrghghg, Airbnb!

Upon entering our abode, you encounter a flight of stairs that lead to a loft bedroom and full bath. Down the hall, towards that white light, is the living area.

This alternate view shows the loft bedroom…

The cream leather couch is perfect for the kids to crawl around, although our daredevil Eva has taken a few spills off the back.

We have bathrooms coming out the wazoo. Even Turkey has his own bathroom — this powder room hides his litter box behind the door.

Eva’s 13-month portrait features the comforter found in both bedrooms.

Anyhow, the best part of the building (aside from the fact that I do not fear my child’s maiming in our own home) is this. It’s right down the hall, on our roof, warm as a bath and salted.

It’s been fun to have friends over to swim, like Nina and Ethan below, and Max has made tremendous strides in the pool. He started swim lessons at 11 months, and could amazingly dive down to the bottom of the pool by age 2 — but then regressed a bit, and developed some phobias. Now at age 4, he can swim in one breath across the width of the pool! Victory! We’re in the water every day here in Montreal, and I can’t think of a better way to send off the summer.

It’s a quick 15 minute walk to Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal), where you can take in the 17th century architecture and take in even more poutine.

The kids love hanging out near Old Port!

Our favorite restaurant, hands down, is a Japanese brasserie/izakaya hybrid called Biiru — and it’s just 1 block from our condo. The outdoor seating was perfect for the kiddos, and the food made us giddy.

Pōkuribu. Pork ribs. Fall off the bone. Fall off our seat.

The tōmorokoshi was grilled corn, laden with queso fresco, toasted coconut, miso butter and ribbons of teriyaki.

Max goes wild for his eel yakitori!

The mushroom okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) had smoky, undulating bonito flakes and a hint of truffle oil.

The prize at the end — a Kit Kat Brownie a la mode. Happy, happy Max.

We spent a few hours in the lovely, sweeping park up on Mount Royal, where two police officers offered Max a hands-on introduction to their horses.

Up on the terraced lookout, a fantastic view of Montreal.

Mon dieu! The food in Montreal is fantastique. Below, Brasserie t! near Place des Arts had some amazing flank steak and frites.

Mr. Max loved his cheese croquettes.

Near the theatre are these courtyards and fountains that the kids loved to play in and around.  Max, Liliana and Ariela hang out one early evening.

Mike did a press event at a high-end Canadian department store called Ogilvy. Jen Ivey, Lion King’s head makeup artist, transformed him into Scar.

Eva’s pretty impressed…

We did a Monday day-off getaway to Quebec City with the Cordileones and the Weizbergs. Mike and Eva befriend an accordian player in the main square.

Our Quebec City view from our somewhat dumpy junior suite at Le Hotel Concorde…

It was short and sweet three weeks in Montreal — we barely unpacked and now it’s off to Boston for a spell.

You might also like:

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: