Why is the F1 bigger than Santa?
Staring Thursday (the 7th of June), Montreal will be invaded by large engines, large egos and large events. Following an ancient ritual, downtown streets will be closed, cars from Ferraris to Minis will invade the streets, and happy Montrealers will stroll around and get their picture taken next to a powerful chunk of metal.
Maybe you weren't aware of this, but the F1 Grand Prix is a bigger event for Montreal than Christmas. It's true, I am not making this up (at east I believe I heard this urban-myth fact from some trustworthy source). There is more shopping and more money changing hands during the Grand Prix week than during the Christmas week.
How has the F1 become so big in Montreal? Well, it helps that for the longest time, Montreal was the only stop-over that the F1 was making in North-America (in all of the Americas actually). It also helps that we speak French in Montreal, so when the American F1 fans come-up, they really feel like they're in a different country, watching an exotic "sporting" event.
Regardless, Montreal-Clubs.com was never expert at making socio-economic analyses. What we're truly good at, is giving advice on how to enjoy Montreal.
So if you're in town for the F1 week-end, here are some tips on how to take your stay here to a higher gear:
Crescent is closed for the F1 week-end, there are cars and music there. It's lots of fun, but the problem is that gets really way too packed. You can barely move. A much better choice is to head East to St-Laurent Street: it too is closed, but somehow there is more breathing space there. There is also much more space for sitting on the street and having a drink or some food outside.
Visit some of the hidden charms of Montreal
Just because you came see a bunch of cars go in circles really fast, doesn't mean that you need to spend the rest of your days just drinking and eating. Take the time to walk around, and discover everything else Montreal has to offer. Hop on a Bixi (much less loud than a F1 car) and go grab a coffee at the Atwater Market. Stroll with your Bixi around the canal, and stop for a beer at the St-Ambroise terrace. On Sunday, after the race, pick-up a sixer and go discover the Tam-Tams on the side of the Mont-Royal mountain.
Eat like a champ
Montreal is renown for its food, so instead of eating at the pub every night, try some more "exquisite" venues. There are the famous Joe Beef, A Pied de Cochon, then there are the bars with speciality food, like Big in Japan and Reservoir, and finally there are hundreds of options, from Indian, to Thai to Dim-Sum.
Drink like a champ
Don't stick to you good'ol Pabst Blue Ribbon: you're now in Montreal, not in Brooklyn. Try some of our local beers or go straight to a brasserie.
That should be enough things to do for your week-end. If you need even more suggestions, or want to rant about something, you can always go to our good'ol message board (almost as much pleasure there as in a Pabst Blue Ribbon).
Photo credit: First Stop
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