My mouth is watering as I pull into the platform at the Gare Centrale in Montreal. I can already taste the buttery croissant I have been looking forward to for the past 5 hours, suffering the shaky path of the VIA Rail (read more about VIA Rail here) as we make stops en route from Toronto in Oshawa, Cobourg, Kingston and so on. All I want is to enjoy a cup of hot tea that isn’t spilling over myself and my laptop as I try unsuccessfully to connect to the WiFi en route .
Exiting the train, I’m greeted by a friendly “Bonjour!” and with an energetic smile, I return the greeting and relish in the fact that I have begun my mini-escape in the most European this side of the Atlantic. The city, 3/4 of whom are native French speakers, is the second largest French speaking city in the world. But it’s not only the language that is reminiscent of old world Europe. Montreal is arguably the cultural hub of North America and is without a doubt the most colourful city in Canada.