Independent City Discoveries: A Taste of Montréal

Discover Montréal with experts, learning the story of this cosmopolitan city through its renowned cuisine, must-see cultural sites, grand architecture and famed Notre-Dame Basilica.
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Program No. 18521RJ
5 days
Starts at
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5 days
4 nights
6 meals
4 B 0 L 2 D
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:15 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table on the Mezzanine Level to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: We will walk from the hotel to a nearby French restaurant for a 3-course plated meal with appetizer (soup or salad), choices of entrée, dessert of the day, and beverage choices including coffee (regular/decaf), hot tea, water; other beverages available for purchase from the bar.

Evening: Orientation: 8:15 p.m. The program is staffed with a Study Leader who will also serve as Group Leader. As Study Leader, she will be our primary resource in making the most of independent study time, offering local knowledge and insider tips for getting to know the city beyond tourist highlights. As Group Leader, she will attend to logistical details. She will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar INDEPENDENT PROGRAM. It is designed for participants who want high-level Road Scholar instruction, a few group activities, and who are capable and comfortable setting out on their own independently for a significant part of the day/night. We will also have an introduction to Montréal's Museums Pass that is included in the program cost and provides access to public transportation and the city's most important museums. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

Vieux Montreal, Notre-Dame Basilica
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers a variety of choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meats, hot and cold cereals, breakfast breads, fruit, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We will set out with a local expert on a walking field trip in Vieux-Montréal — the old city — focusing on history and architecture. We’ll end our field trip at the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal — Notre-Dame Basilica — for a memorable visit featuring an exclusive presentation of the fabulous organ by the Basilica's titular organist.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free time. This time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In Old Montréal, you might like to see the port, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of Archaeology (built on the very foundations of the city), the Bonsecours Market (Québec Arts & Crafts, featuring top-quality “made in Québec” creations), or a popular street known for its art galleries. 5:30 - 6:30 Cocktail Hour. We are invited to join the Study Leader for drinks (Dutch Treat), to share the highlights of the day and plan the evening.

Dinner: On your own to explore the multitude of Montréal eateries. The Study Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Our Study Leader will have suggestions for where you can go and what you can do independently, from performances, festivals, and other events to favorite Montréalais hangouts.

Underground City, Golden Square Mile, Theater District
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Use of public transportation, Métro, bus. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today’s exploration will focus on three of the city's star attractions: the surprising Underground City, the Theater District, and the so-called Golden Square Mile including renowned McGill University and the magnificent Museum of Fine Arts. The Underground City — La ville soutteraine — is actually a collection of passageways and interconnected complexes above and below ground covering more than 20 miles (33 km), the largest such pedestrian network in the world. Befitting a city that is multicultural and bilingual, Montréal’s vibrant Theater District is also bilingual and multicultural. The Golden Square Mile was once Canada’s wealthiest neighborhood. Some of its outstanding residents were of Scottish origin, hence names such as McGill. What were once elegant single family homes — in architectural styles from Greek and Roman to medieval, Renaissance, Victorian Gothic, and more — now exist as embassies, hotels, museums, and university buildings.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity to further acquaint yourself with the Golden Square Mile, exploring its impressive art galleries, imposing 19th century houses, and grand museums, including the stately McCord Museum.

Dinner: On your own. The hotel is ideally located to explore the city’s restaurant scene.

Evening: At leisure. More time for independent exploration.

Food Lovers' Guide to Neighborhoods, Immigration History
Montreal, QC
SpringHill Suites Old Montreal

Activity note: Use of public transportation. Walking up to 4 miles throughout the day.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This is a day for food lovers. A local expert will lead us on a culinary adventure through the many flavors of Montréal by strolling along beloved Saint-Laurent Boulevard. Here we'll discover many colorful restaurants, brought to the city by the different ethnic communities that have settled along the length of the street over time. We will finish our food lovers' exploration at the Jean-Talon public market in Little Italy, a favorite meeting place of Montréalers. We’ll be able to savor Schwartz’s famous Montréal smoked meat, Jewish bagels, Portugal's renowned egg tarts (Pasteis de nata), true Italian coffee, and an array of Québec products at the public market.

Afternoon: Free time. As you continue exploring Montréal independently, you might like to visit the impressive Botanical Garden. A popular oasis in the heart of the city, the Montréal Botanical Garden is recognized as one of the world’s largest. You can explore the beauty of the garden through its 10 greenhouses and some 30 thematic gardens.

Dinner: At a landmark French restaurant in Old Montréal, we’ll have a 3-course plated meal including appetizer, choices of entrée, dessert of the day, coffee, hot tea, water; other beverages available for purchase from the bar. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to explore more on your own, attend a performance or other event, or revisit a favorite Montréal café with new friends. The Group Leader will have suggestions. Prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

Wrap Up Discussion, Program Concludes
Montreal, QC

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll gather with Montréalers at a favorite local café for coffee and a farewell discussion of city life and local issues. We expect to end by 10:00 a.m. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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