A bike ride through the streets and neighborhoods of Montreal may be the best way to acquaint oneself with the city, but was it the best way to see a Montreal sunset? Well, my specialized tour allowed me to view the city’s past, feel its presence and also find options for the best place to watch a Montreal sunset. So, in short, yes and here is what I discovered.
Although the original goal of the bike tour, to capture a sunset, would not “officially” happen since we needed to return the bikes before sunset (bike shop closed at 8pm with the Montreal sunset at 8:15pm), I still discovered a romantic city filled with plenty of sunset possibilities.
Our first stop was to take in the view of the Montreal skyline after a brisk pedal through an urban neighborhood and much of the grounds from the 1967 World’s Fair. Apparently the World’s Fair, still coffee conversation within the city, transformed Montreal and some say put the city “on the map.”
After continuing and crossing another bridge, we made our way to the Montreal Casino. My guide’s artistic gamble was a win as I took in the reflective image of the coming sunset on a building adjacent to the casino. A very creative choice, not a surprise considering the destination.
On the ride back from the casino we eventually stopped to take in a view of the famous Farine Five Rose sign, a electric sign still illuminating the Montreal skyline thanks to the public. This Montreal icon proved another a great choice for a sunset viewing because of its popularity with the city.
Our next stop after pedaling with gusto through the canals of the now trendy Griffintown neighborhood was a roof top just across the from the bridge. On a rooftop I met Declan of Alveole. The local beekeeper (apiculteur urban) walked me over to a rooftop hive and opened it up to show me more. Even though one bee accidentally flew up his nose he kept his composure and made sure I tasted the honey. Yes, I stuck my finger in the honeycombs and got myself a taste of raw honey within feet on an active hive and thousands of bees. Was I a tad nervous? Yes.
Ah, but it’s part of staying adventurous, and I was in great hands no doubt.
Plus the rooftop seemed to be a great spot to see a sunset in Montreal.
After the bees adventure, my evening took yet another turn as we raced back through essentially an urban obstacle course of traffic. This was some of my first ever biking through city streets with traffic, I once again took solace in the fact I was in good hands, plus Montreal is a bike friendly city. We returned the bikes by 8pm. Just barely.
Then my guide Melissa of Round Table Food Tours, normally a food tour operator, and I grabbed a beverage (you can drink a beer on the park benches by the water as long as you have food) and some snacks to watch the final moments of the “official” Montreal sunset. As a foodie, she recommended a place for poutine and where else to eat in Montreal after sunset (a long list).
As I sat there on the bench, I confessed to my guide that there is something special to this city. I promised a return to take a food tour and explore more of the city my bike tour took me through all too quickly. I believe you can expect a future staying adventurous podcast on Montreal next year.
Unexpected Magic at Sunset
The image was selected for the 2016 Sunset Calendar.
I never expected to find such a romantic city and the chance to see so much on a bicycle, but I never expected the moment of tasting the sweetness of life corresponding with seeing the sweetness of a sunburst from a Montreal rooftop. This was one of my most memorable sunset moments of the year, and certainly one of the most unexpected.
Happy Sunset Sunday and stay adventurous, Craig
Special thanks to Montreal Toursim for setting up this unique and special tour of the city.