Published on September 26th, 2017 | by Ashley Williams0
Poutine, Filming and Beyond Bilingualism
Following the frenetic energy of New York, Montreal was going to have a lot to live up to. And with another load of filming planned across the city, it was set to be another busy trip.
However, with a beautifully positioned AirBnB (literally 5 minutes or at most 5km walk from everything worthwhile), our time in Montreal inadvertently became a relaxing rest-bite from the manic energy of New York and a nice recharging point ahead of our backpacking adventure across Cuba.
Arriving by Grey Hound bus (which was an ordeal of cancelled routes; high-vis authoritarians; awesome New York bus managers; and strangely barron bus stations in a very wet Albany, we arrived by coach in Montreal late Friday night.
Exhausted and somewhat lethargic from our 9 hour bus journey and unexpected thorough questioning at the border, we dumped our bags and headed into town. Within minutes, we were feasting on a mountain of carb and cholesterol, lovingly called ‘poutine’.
Incase you don’t know what poutine is, the classic dish is a mountain of fried chips, covered in cheese curds, which are then drowned in a thick salty gravy. One dish has the power to stop a heart from beating or block a sewer. We obviously both ordered the ‘grande’ meal…which we finished like champions! #poutinechampions
The poutine must have had a huge amounts of energy stuffed into that pile of curds and potato, as we both went for a 10k run up Mount Royale the next morning.
I then ran up it again as part of a half-marathon training route the next day. Poutine power!
However, it wasn’t all running and resting, as Lindsay had a language conference (Lang Fest) to speak at, and we also had another film to shoot, out and around the city.
As part of the filming we ended up in ‘Mile End’, a very multilingual part of the city, with a very large Hasidic Jew community and a huge array of multilingual citizens. As well as great bagels and a very classy croissant shop (that sold bowls of cappuccino!) near by.
We explored the area thanks to Kate, a friend of Lindsay’s and local of Montrealer, who showed us many of the undiscovered and hidden sights of the city, giving us a real insight into the area, which helped endlessly with the filming
Before arriving, we knew Montreal was an incredibly bilingual city, with the majority of Montrealers speaking 2+ languages in their daily lives. The aim of the film was to capture a few of these moments on film, beyond the standard salutation of ‘Bonjour Hi’, as we looked for English, French, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Greek speakers across the city.
It was a wonderful experience for Lindsay who danced around interviews in English, French and Spanish, while I chewed the French language and spat something resembling a Franglish mutation at them on a regular basis.
The final film will be posted on Lindsaydoeslanguages.com in later November.
Running and food in Montreal was plentiful. Great running routes, food everywhere and wifi as fast as lightning! Montreal quickly became the pitstop we didn’t realise we needed.