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Final Day for Mom in Montreal: bittersweet and snowy by Ann Treacy
November 16, 2022, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Montreal

Turns out I was around for the first serious snowstorm in Montreal. It was heavy and wet, perfect for building a snowman and beautiful. And now I’m sitting in the airport, one of my least favorite places but it was absolutely worth it to see where Lily is living and meet her friends and roommates. I am so excited for her. Things seem to be clicking for her. We polished off her “get settled” to-do list by getting a mirror, sheets and all of that good stuff. We found a job she thought was worth pursuing so that’s great.

I just have random pictures of Lily and her new environment, including a post from her zinefest happening this weekend.



Day 4.5: Barbies and sculptures of Montreal by Ann Treacy
November 16, 2022, 3:09 pm
Filed under: Montreal

After being so productive during the day, Lily and I relaxed at night. We went to the Barbie Expo, which is in a downtown mall. It is apparently the largest collection of Barbie dolls in the world. To borrow from my favorite podcast, I’m a feminist, but I love Barbie. Yes, it encouraged us all to strive for unrealistic body standards. But also Barbie had her own townhouse, a boat and camper. She had lots of jobs in a world when lots of jobs weren’t open to women. She always felt fierce and independent when I was a kid. (To be fair, my sister had the Barbie Malibu doll and I had PJ, which was Barbie’s little sister or so I was told.)

Also, did you know a woman invented her? Yup, Ruth Handler. OK, enough explanation. The exhibit was fun. There are 1000 Barbies from different eras and styles. (I found a doll that resembles each of my daughters.)

We also walked through the Montreal Sculpture Garden, which is really just some statues around the Musee des Beaux-Arts Montreal. Actually it was nice to just walk around. This was clearly a swankier area than we’d been hanging much of the week. It reminded me of the Miracle Mile in Chicago. We did see a fairly amazing mural of Leonard Cohen. Then we had a nice meal at the closest restaurant we could find. Because sometimes on family vacation people get hungry and tired and cold and we just need a pep talk about the next super exciting stage of life – Montreal!



Day 4.0: Walking the streets of Montreal with the perfect chair by Ann Treacy
November 15, 2022, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Montreal

Ostensibly my job was to help Lily get set up in Montreal. She is doing an amazing job on her own – as earlier reported she set up a secondhand bike, government paperwork and tabling the zinefest this weekend. Today we did things where a mom can be helpful – like a walk a chair too big for one person from the seller to Lily’s new place. You never really know a city until you move a move a bright orange chair through the streets.

We set out to Hochelaga, a part of town that has a Village des Valeurs (Value Village) and Fripe-Prix Renaissance (Good Will). We took the Metro. Folks who know will know how much I love an underground. The Montreal Metro is like The Tube or NYC Subway but I love them all. We entered in the middle of a cloudy downtown and emerged in a sunny residential part of town. Think more Midway than Kenwood for my Twin City friends. What we did learn is that folks in residential Montreal are not as quick or as fluent to answer in English. They all had better English than my dusty French but once my French helped.

The area looked like part of North Dublin, which may be helpful to only some readers. But it means it has an old-world charm but with upgrades that were maybe DIY. There are also new elements but new like 1974. And there are lots of quick food places – not McDonalds but pizza or sandwiches.

Lily got a basket for her bike and a table. My usefulness was ordering the Uber home and helping to carry a gorgeous chair that Lily got online from a neighbor. Thankfully just a few blocks away. That gave me a chance to really check out and photograph her new place. It’s lovely with a kitchen, dining room and beautiful back garden. The local is amazing. She really is exactly where you’d want to be at age 24.

Now we’re gearing up for more fun. We’ve earned it!



Day Three: Church, State and food in Montreal by Ann Treacy
November 15, 2022, 12:44 am
Filed under: Canada, Montreal

Day three really starts on day two where I last left off. Lily and I had a gorgeous meal at Majestique, an oyster bar on Saint Laurent. We didn’t have oysters; we did have delicious smoked mackerel and fries. The place was toasty warm on a cold night. There was a guy at the bar that looked like the lost brother of Russel Brand and Father John Misty and I liked the beer. What’s not to like? We talked about all of Lily’s plans. She was so nervous about getting into a zinefest this weekend. (Spoiler alert: she got in.) It was the fun chat you travel to another country to have. Lily is nervous but excited and the whole world is open to her!

Real day three we were all business; well, one of us was. We headed out to get Lily the paperwork she needed to move forward with jobs and stuff. Turns out that sort of thing can take a long time. (Second spoiler alert: she did it!) So, I went walking around town. It was chilly and I was traversing area that we visited yesterday so suddenly stopping into churches seemed very appealing. I was St Patrick’s Basilica, Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde and Notre Dame. Each was so different.

St Patrick’s Basilica was most like the European churches – or even like grander versions of churches I’ve attended in Minnesota. It’s ornate but warm. The weird thing was the altar to what looked like the shroud of Turin.

Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde was majestic but stark. It felt more modern in a lot of ways. They had a message that called out the possible offense some of their art might incur in regards to the representation of indigenous people. (Years ago I did a tour of the MN State Capitol with Jim Bear Jacobs talking about the art, which details a lot of tropes that serve to put down indigenous people.) The main altar was gorgeous. But also it felt cold.

Notre Dame was very church-sexy and it was the only one that charged a fee ($15). The dark colors and lighting was beautiful. The statues behind the main altar were like frozen stage scenes. There was somehow a movement to them. Turns out they have a light show in the church six nights a week. That seems brand appropriate after my 20 minute visit.

I also saw some amazing art and history. I love the juxtaposition of old (cite memoire) and new. There are areas around Rue Saint Laurent that seem pretty bohemian and there are areas closer to the river that seem very upper crust. And then there are areas that are very industrial or feel like regular downtown centers of business. And of courses the Olympics!

Lily gave me the call when she had success and we celebrated with a much-needed early dinner in Chinatown. Nothing better than noodle soup on a chilly day going down. On the way home we say some amazing street art. And now we’re hanging out waiting for her secondhand bike to arrive. (Third spoiler: new bike shown below!) One by one she is getting through her “new to town” to-do list!



Day Two: New Life in Montreal the walkable city by Ann Treacy
November 14, 2022, 12:53 am
Filed under: Montreal

It’s Lily’s first full day in Montreal since the move after a very fun night. So, I spent the morning walking up and down Rue Saint Laurent checking out the murals by myself. They are amazing. Luckily, Lily lives very near the boulevard and I’m staying near it too. It’s a great area, lots of restaurants and shops and people. The vibe is very European. I’ll add most of the pictures at the bottom of the post but add a few favorites directly below.

I also checked out Parc Jeanne-Mance. It’s a nice park. You can see downtown, which is also fairly close to Lily’s new place and Mount Royal, which is a gorgeous mountain with a cross on top that lights up at night. But it was fun for me to see a different terrain in the city.

Once Lily woke up we had brunch and started walking around the city more. Our goal was to find a used bike but that’s a little aspirational on a Sunday. So we just ambled. We headed indirectly to the St Lawrence River by way of Chinatown and traversed the historic quarter, which skirts the downtown area. We saw Notre-Dame Basilica, Marche Bonsecours and from a great distance we saw the Biosphere of Montreal. It is a Geodesic Dome pavilion designed by Buckminster Fuller for the 1967 World’s Fair, apparently it’s 20 stories tall. I’m hoping we might see it closer in the next few days.

We also saw a couple of great, modern sculptures. Les Tourists features four different types of tourists. There was something I really liked about it. Then there was Les Chuchoteuses aka The Gossipers by Rose-Aimée Bélanger. Just look at the facial expressions – perfect!

One funny thing that caught our attention was a photo of an eye with a flier nearby that invited people to contact the artist if they wanted to model to have their eyes photographed open or closed.

On the way home we came upon a surprise concert at Places des Arts by Shauit. Clearly we were on the tail end of a daylong series of free community art activities. It’s an idea that I just love! All in all I’ve walked 10 miles today. Lily is resting up so we can gear up for a night of adventure, presumably a less adventurous night than last night!

More murals:



Day One: Lily moves to Montreal – the arrival by Ann Treacy
November 13, 2022, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Montreal

Lily is moving to Montreal. I’m so excited for her and a little sad for me except I now know it’s only a two-hour flight and the folks with Air Canada are the nicest. I was super honored when Lily asked me to help her move. I know part of my role was to help carry luggage. In the picture below you can see everything we had; my bag is the white book bag in front.

She is living in a house share. We met her roommates briefly; they seem very nice. Her room is on the small side but high ceilings, comes with some furniture and eminently affordable. Lily is able to move here because she graduated from University of Winnipeg so she is eligible for a work permit in Canada. She chose Montreal because she has some friends here. (More on that soon.) Her plan is to learn French. In fact, she can get paid $200 a week to learn French full time. Not bad when your rent is $200. Once she’s established she can get a job. She also wants a radio show and to get involved in the zine community.

We met up with some of her friend Charlie. They seem like a lot of fun but also seem to really care about Lily. Community was forming immediately! Charlie’s friend (Alex) was involved in community art and working on something big with political underpinnings in rural Quebec, which sounded amazing.

We found ourselves at a dance club that reminded me of quirky dance places in Spain. Super fun but slightly off-brand. Like drinking Dight Rite instead of Diet Coke but not in a bad way. We also checked out a few bars that we more my speed.

We arrived after dark but I can already see the city is very European. Apartments built close to the sidewalks and more duplexes and triplexes than apartment blocks, at least where we are. The murals are awesome. I’ll include a few but I’m sure I’ll do a whole post on them later.



Three days and three girls in Winnipeg – worth 16 hours of driving! by Ann Treacy
March 27, 2019, 3:57 am
Filed under: Winnipeg

For spring break Aine and I went to Winnipeg to see Kate (at U of Manitoba) and Lily (at U of Winnipeg). The best thing about the visit was to see how nice the girls are to each other – when they’re not fighting about who is wearing whose clothes. And frankly if there were no fighting, I’d be worried.

Lilly invited us to stay at her place. So that was nice. Kate invited Aine to her dorm’s talent show on our last night. So that was nice. Few high school freshman are invited to the college freshman’s dorm for anything. Everyone posed for me under the lights of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, which is my favorite thing to do in Winnipeg – so that was nice too!

We had lots of good food. We met Lily’s boyfriend Sean – who is very easy to fit into the dinner table. Gotta like that in a guy. And he has awesome taste in music (and girls). Lily and I walked around her new, pretty upscale, neighborhood for a couple hours one day. We didn’t see as many murals as we saw in the old neighborhood but we didn’t hear as much yelling either.

We went to see some bands and maybe the worst comic ever at a coffee shop one night. That was fun. Again, few high school freshman get to hang with the big dogs until 11pm seeing bands. And we even went for crepes afterward. Few people older than 14 want crepes after 10pm but we managed it.

We all spent the day today at the Forks – a market of sorts by the River. It’s nice walk around that area – there’s a great view of the Human Rights Museum, St Boniface and the whole downtown. We had different kinds of food and mostly just hung out.

Tomorrow Aine and I will leave at the crack of down – two hours after Lily has started working her shift at the airport. And we’ll look forward to having them home with us for Easter!



Kate is launched at University of Manitoba – Aine at Nova Academy by Ann Treacy
September 1, 2018, 6:30 pm
Filed under: Winnipeg

­­It took a week in Winnipeg but we are on the road and Kate is now settled in her dorm and I’m so excited for her! The University of Manitoba is a big enough place. It’s not the size of the Twin Cities University of Minnesota campus, but it certainly compares to any University I’ve visited. And it is bordered on one side by the Red River, so it’s a pretty campus too.

Kate has her own room and she’s in a girls’ dorm – or at least the girls’ side of a co-ed dorm. And she’s with a lot of the international students. She is in the University One program, which means she hasn’t chosen a faculty/major yet. She’s good at a lot of things so making a decision may be difficult.

In our week in Winnipeg we got to visit Lily. In fact Lily had me on her radio show. (You can access the archive from Aug 31.) The good news is that we did an awesome 90 minutes on songs about places. I included many Minnesota bands, since I’m forever the Minnesota music pusher. The bad news is that 90 minute show didn’t get recorded. But we went back and did about 50 minutes, which did air.

I got in some good walks with my Dad (aka Grandpa) including a visit to the Assiniboine Park, which I think it lovely. And we (Kate, Lily, Grandpa and me) ate at several very nice restaurants in Winnipeg. If you ever need a recommendation, you know where to come!

And if this week wasn’t exciting enough  – Aine started high school at Nova. I was able to see her off – but she’s spent the week with grandma. So far though, she seems pretty happy with her choice and we’re so happy that she got into Nova. (It’s a lottery to get in, and initially she was on the wait list – but we got the good call a month ago that she was in!)



Intergenerational trip to Winnipeg – lots of art, walking and heat by Ann Treacy
June 23, 2018, 3:45 am
Filed under: Winnipeg

This week we took a trip to Winnipeg – Aine, Kate, me, Grandma and Grandpa. We went to check in on Lily and bring her home. And we went to check out University of Manitoba for Kate. (She is starting there this fall.)

It was great to see Lily and her apartment, which she took great care to clean for us!

Lily lives in the West End of Winnipeg – which has one of the largest collections of murals. I learned through the beauty of Google that the murals focus on heritage, local heroes, culture, community, commerce and cuisine. They do spruce up the area, which is pretty mixed. Lots of students and I’ve noticed community services and shelters in the area too.

I did a walk through St Boniface. I hadn’t been through that area before. In fact, I hadn’t actually crossed the bridge before. There is a gorgeous cathedral in the area with many very cool statutes and tombstones.

Otherwise there was a lot of walking and spying of lots of art in the city. We saw Indian City play at the Human Rights Museum for Summer Solstice and went to a Farmer’s Market. Otherwise it was a lot of getting to know Winnipeg.



34 hour trip to Winnipeg – Lily’s digs, CKUW and the Jets by Ann Treacy
May 9, 2018, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Winnipeg

We had the quickest international visit ever this week – Grandpa and I brought Lily and her roommate back to the University of Winnipeg. (We are super thankful to have a grandpa that would drive so far so quickly!) First – the rumor of it being cold in Canada – wrong. It was 86 degrees, which was a pleasant surprise. Second – it was really fun to see how well Lily is doing in Winnipeg. I’m so proud of her!

We got to see her apartment. It’s definitely a place for students but a nice place. She has her own room and it’s big. And there’s a fire escape-type porch on the roof. She has two roommates right now – and a big fat cat. They’re done a nice job decorating the place, including some really awesome art by Lily. (I snuck a couple pictures of her art here – without permission!)

I got a fun tour of the U of Winnipeg radio station, where Lily has a regular radio show Friday afternoons (2-3:30). They have about 32,000 CDs/Albums/cassettes and add about 1,000 each year.  Turns out they don’t have a lot of younger students with shows so that made me especially proud of her show.

We had a nice dinner with grandpa and got to walk by a number of Lily’s regular haunts – her yoga place, her old job, her current job, favorite restaurants. At night Lily and I took a walk around town. Turns out there was a Jet’s hockey game. Wow! There were thousands of fans happily watching. Well, happily at the start, kind of sad at the end of the game.

The city had set up 6 (or so) giant TV screens set up around town in a spoke a wheel pattern near the hockey arena. And they hosted a “white out” – which means everyone dressed in white. Apparently it costs the city $60,000 – but it a great investment for local businesses. My favorite moment was the guy (post loss) who chucked everyone on the arm and say – we’ll get them next time. The game tied up the series. I think the final game is tomorrow night.




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