The news that Saint-Hubert Longueuil Airport has upgraded its primary runway to accommodate larger aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A220/320, is interesting to anyone who’s been hoping to see low-cost airlines flying out of Montreal.
More than $13 million of the $17-million runway upgrade was provided by the Canadian Government Airports Capital Assistance Program and is part of a development strategy to transform the airport into a regional transportation hub.
The only obstacle to bringing low-cost carriers into the airport today is the fact that St-Hubert has no actual terminal building to speak of. It makes me wonder if it might have been smarter to use the money to spruce up Mirabel Airport seeing that its runways can accommodate just about any airplane you can think of.
Of course, its terminal building was demolished only a few years ago because no one could foresee a day that Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport would not be able to accommodate growing air traffic to Montreal and there might be a need for a secondary airport to handle the overflow that might also be attractive to low-cost carriers.
St-Hubert does have the advantage of being closer to downtown Montreal compared to Mirabel, but I have a soft spot for Montreal’s previous airport of the future that today is only used for cargo flights.
There’s nothing better than getting outside during a Montreal summer, but if you have already overdosed on festivals and had your fill of celebrating the city’s 375th birthday, we’ve got 10 unique experiences in and around Montreal that will help you get off your couch to try something new.
IN THE AIR
Skydive without a parachute
Unless the engines are on fire, most people would rather not jump out of an airplane, yet there are thousands who strap on parachutes to skydive for fun.
If you’re hesitant to make that jump, the closest thing is to take a leap into the skydiving simulator at SkyVenture, located in Laval’s Centropolis complex.
It’s basically a cylindrical room with a giant fan on the floor that blows air upward with enough force to make you float in the air. Each flight lasts 60 seconds, which is the typical length of a parachutist’s free fall, and children as young as four can do it.
An intro package with two flights costs $68. A four-flight package sells for $93.93, and a 10-flight deal is available for $182.65.
Ask any Montrealer to name the city’s most iconic foods and without hesitation, they will answer smoked meat and bagels. But what most probably don’t know is how Jewish immigrants brought those foods here and how they managed to endure as favourites.
One Montrealer who knows that history and is keen to share it with locals and visitors alike is Kat Romanow, the Director of Food Programming at the Museum of Jewish Montreal.
“Jews have lived all over the world and wherever they’ve settled they’ve taken the cuisine of that region and adapted it to the Kosher food laws — so when we talk about Jewish food, we’re talking about a cuisine that is very diverse,” she explains.
Romanow’s enthusiasm for the community’s history is contagious and the perfect starting point to understand how the city’s 93,000 Jews and their cuisine fit into the story of Montreal.
A century ago, before we had photos on Facebook and Instagram to transport us to exotic lands, people relied on paintings like the ones at a new exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to take them there.
Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism is a collection of 19th-century works from European painters that depict romanticized visions of the Near East that were partially based reality, but mostly on imagination.
Much of the work on display until May 31, 2015 is by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, a master of the Orientalist genre. The exhibition document’s Benjamin-Constant travels in Moorish Spain, Morocco and the Maghreb and how those voyages informed his work. He would invite aristocrats to his studio which was staged with exotic souvenirs purchased in bazaars and thrill visitors with stories of his travels, especially of the harems that fascinated Europeans.
The Montreal exhibition is beautifully presented and some of the canvases are massive, room-sized paintings that are absolutely stunning. The colours and realism of the art draws you in to examine every detail. The paintings were made at a time when photography was emerging as an art form so care was made to present scenes realistically.
Paintings like these doubtless inspired a generation of Europeans to travel to distant places to see them with their own eyes. It’s not much different from the inspirational photos we see online that make us want to experience those places for ourselves. What’s amusing to realize is that while Benjamin-Constant’s paintings are considered to be idealized visions, how different is that from the Photoshopped and filtered travel photos we see every day?
IF YOU GO …
Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec
Admission: $20, 13-30 yrs pay $12, children under 12 are free. $5 discount for Opus card holders.
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