Declaring my bias
My conscience requires that I declare a complete and unequivocal bias for what may be my favourite city in Canada — Montréal.
But at the same time, I would also like to point out that having a bias is not necessarily a bad thing; as a matter of fact it is quite normal. Having been involved (in a previous professional incarnation) in anti-racist education; and also having taught media literacy, I have learned that human beings are products of their social and cultural environments — and that’s OK.
What is important for all of us to recognize however, is the difference between a negative bias and a positive biais.
For example, here is a positive bias: “All children can learn.” But here is a negative bias: “Teenagers are revolting.” (It is also a play on words by the way, in case you didn’t catch it.).
There are also unintended or implicit biases that can actually be negative in their effect, although well-intentioned. Travellers can be especially susceptible to these types of biases. The most glaring example of this may well have been the oft-repeated and historic reference to “noble savages.”
A bias is an opinion, point of view, inclination, or preference, and as such is not necessarily a bad thing. However one’s ability to make an impartial judgment may be inhibited by a personal bias. Or the bias may actually be quite valid because it is based on extensive experience.
I like to think that the latter is how my bias for Montréal came about.
So without further ado, here are some excerpts from a media release from Tourisme Montréal.
HOT, HAPPENING AND NEW
URBAN NEWS: Montréal’s restaurants earn top honours!
Once again, Montréal earns its reputation as a gourmet destination as four of its restaurants shine on the world stage.
The restaurant Moishes joins the ranks of the top 10 best steak houses in the world, becoming the only Canadian restaurant to join the Forbes magazine listing. And since success breeds success, the owners have branched out with the new m:brgr, another swank eatery with a relaxed style that pays gourmet homage to the humble burger.
An article in the magazine En Route praised “the fresh and contemporary fare” of the restaurant Le Local as well as Liverpool House’s seasonal dishes, which are inspired by Italian, Chinese and British influences. They occupy 2nd and 9th position of 2008’s best new Canadian restaurants, respectively.
And lastly, Koko Restaurant + Bar was given the 2008 Best Conceptual Design Restaurant Award for its plush and sophisticated décor. Each year, the International Restaurant & Hotel Awards (IHRA) highlights the most inspiring and innovative designs around the globe.
KoKo restaurant + bar
BIXI: Montréal’s self-serve bicycle
Touted by Time magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of 2008, BIXI is the darling of Montréal’s urban transportation scene. Unique to North America, this public bike system allows cyclists to explore the island’s 540 kilometres of bike baths at truly affordable prices.
As early as April 2009, you can head to one of 300 stations, take out a bike, hop on the saddle and Montréal is yours to explore for a few hours or the whole day. Once you’ve finished your ride, just return your wheels to the nearest station.
Montréal celebrates its design talent
Created in 1995, the Créativité Montréal contest annually awards Montréal merchants for the exceptional quality of their establishment’s interior design. In 2008, new faces joined Montréal’s urban landscape, including men’s clothing store Michel Brisson, designed by architects Saucier et Perrotte; the bar Buvette chez Simone for its sleek, contemporary design; the restaurant DNA, a stunning little jewel a stone’s throw from the St. Lawrence River and the luminous entry of La Vitrine in the category of urban integration/urban design.
Scandinave Les Bains comes to Old Montréal!
A veritable oasis in the heart of the city, Scandinave Les Bains Vieux-Montréal invites guest to relax and reenergize in its cozy yet contemporary setting. This authentic thermal spa offers a revitalizing experience, combining the benefits of baths according to time-honoured traditions. Thermotherapy, which is renowned for its energizing effects, allows guests to achieve an optimal state of well-being when followed by a relaxation period. Bath and massage packages are available every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
DHC/Foundation for Contemporary Art
Housed in the heart of Old Montréal, DHC/Art, is a permanent location for exciting and relevant contemporary art exhibitions. The foundation presents three to four exhibitions per year, as well as, a dynamic program of film screenings and talks, and an inclusive education and outreach program. Accessible and welcoming, with free admission and flexible opening hours, the foundation is a premier venue for contemporary art.
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal — 30th anniversary
July 1 to 12, 2009
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal will turn downtown into a music mecca from July 1 to 12, 2009. To mark the occasion, the organizers will unveil the Maison du Festival de Jazz, a brand-new 300-capacity venue, with the legendary Oliver Jones inaugurating the year-round jazz hotspot.
Napoleon 1st conquers the MMFA
The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts is proud to welcome two more permanent exhibitions thanks to outstanding donations from collectors and museum friends. The first, dedicated entirely to Napoleon Bonaparte and the arts under the First Empire, comprises the most important collection of objects in North America dedicated to the Emperor. The second room, filled with close to one hundred glass sculptures created by various artists, joins the museum’s decorative arts collection. Entrance to both rooms is free at all times.
Canadiens Hockey Club
Several activities have been scheduled to highlight the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens Hockey Club, including an OSM concert at the Bell Centre on April 2, 2009. Conductor Kent Nagano will lead the orchestra in a performance of Ode to Joy, taken from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the work Les Glorieux, a hymn to our national sport.
April 2 to June 21, 2009
Montréal Museum of Fine Arts www.mmfa.qc.ca
The MMFA is organizing an exhibition on peace to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the famous Bed-In held by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Montréal, 1969.
April 21 to May 10, 2009
A superior blend of equestrian arts and high technology, the show combines dance and acrobatics and is inspired by the unique relationship between man and horse.
Cirque du Soleil — 25th show
April 23 to June 14, 2009
Creativity, daring and poetry are the trademarks of the dazzling Cirque du Soleil, which presents a brand new show under its yellow-and-blue tent at the Quays of the Old Port of Montréal.
June 18 to September 27, 2009
Montréal Museum of Fine Arts www.mmfa.qc.ca
An exhibition that explores landscape painting and photography in Canada and the United States, from the American Civil War and Canadian confederation to the close of World War I (1860-1918).
Spring heralds brand-new things, including two new hotels that are set to open in 2009.
At the heart of the vibrant Quartier international, the Westin Montréal will open its doors to 454 rooms and suites, designed with the latest green technology. The hotel will feature two floors of meeting rooms as well as a number of upscale services such as an executive club and spa.
The Montréal-Trudeau Airport, for its part, will welcome a 275-room hotel project completed by the consortium of Groupe Axor, Marriott International and the Fonds de solidarité de la FTQ. Situated close to the transborder jetty, the hotel will feature a pool, gymnasium and several restaurants and meeting rooms.
Hôtel Marriott — Montréal-Trudeau
The charm of small hotels
Whether you’re coming to Montréal for business or pleasure, it’s always a treat to discover the unique qualities and intimate ambiance of an inn, manor or B&B. This smaller venues offer an excellent quality-price ratio and feature an array of high-end services, including breakfast, parking and wireless Internet, all in an intimate setting. The Association des Petits Hôtels de Montréal lists 10 or more, all located near tourism sites.