So after decades of travel here for the good things, there are certainly experiences that are just not worth the time or the effort.
There are so many alternatives to the items listed below – from tourist-friendly but also gritty and unique streets such as Ste Catherine, St Laurent, St Denis, to nice parks even in far boroughs, and of course, to good food everywhere in the Greater Montreal region.
Some items below are good to visit once, just not worth going on repeat visits. Other items are not worth it even for one visit.
- Parc Jean-Drapeau – avoid for very popular events during rush periods. This Island can get very crowded, and the walks from the single metro station can be long and tiring on hot days or through crowds. There will be staircase overpasses over roads to climb too. Cars are totally worse of course, and parking can sometimes be filled up by the afternoon or earlier.
Best to go here where there are no big events scheduled. Great park, fantastic public swimming pool, and the Expo 67 Biosphere is worth visiting once at least.
- Old Montreal. This is definitely something to be done at least once, but that is enough. It has an antiseptic touristy feel with overpriced restaurants, all of which can be found anywhere in the world. Driving here is completely disastrous because of narrow streets and huge crowds in pedestrian crossings. On top of all this, there is no good public transportation here. Bus service is very limited, and the two closest Metro Stations (Champs-de-mar and Place-d’Armes) are long walks, made worse when there are detours or construction (which is quite often) and no good signs from points in Old Montreal to the Metro to guide newcomers. Having said all that, it is still worth visiting when there are fewer people, such as in daytime, to the Science Center or the Pointe-à-Callière Museum.
Bus 715 runs during the day time. Does not run late at night, so it is not available for the New Year’s Eve events.
- Weekends du Monde – The 2017 event was one of the worst experiences ever. Normally Montreal has very good crowd control at all major events, this was a disaster for most of the people who visited around 5PM on Sunday July 23, 2017. After 20+ minutes of walking in the hot sun from the metro station, climbing on overpasses over roads, crossing the bridge, one arrived at a huge mass of people packed like sardines waiting to get into the event. Maybe around 100 meters long, 20 meters across, just waiting. And there was no information available – no official person around to explain what was going on. So many people were disgusted, and turned back, some of them warning others who were walking about the lineup. This newswire release is a complete joke and does not mention the problem at all.
A good organization would have information about the wait to enter the event displayed at the Metro station. At the very least, they would have better control of the huge throng entering the place – have organizers posted to explain what is going on, maybe have some performers and vendors outside too so the those lined-up forget about the time being spent there. Worse, the throng of people crammed in the entrance felt very unsafe.
- Charlie’s Shack Worst Clam Chowder in the world.
Their byline is Perkins Cove, Maine but it is only “inspired” by that, and they are not from Maine in reality. They sell a bisque with one small clam and one small potato cube and call it a clam chowder. And overpriced, of course. Ugh! Photo of their food truck.
- The Bouffons MTL food festival on Ste Catherine (corner Jeanne-Mance), next to Just for Laughs Festival not only had the horrible clam-chowder from Charlie’s Shack, but also uncooked paella rice (crunchy?!), and so on, much better to stick to regular Montreal restaurants, good ones are everywhere.
- Food at Marché des Possibles – at rue St-Dominique (corner Bernard), July 28, 2017) was also no good for food – they just could not handle the crowds, there was a hour-long line for the 2-3 food tents! There was no need to line up – this area has fantastic restaurants, just walk a block! This event also has POP Montreal DJ music, that part was great! Another good thing: beer tent had very short lines.
- First Fridays every month at the Olympic Park. This is borderline worth it – good food, 40-50 great food trucks, but the crowds are huge! Which meant at around 8PM rush hour, there were 25-50 people lined up at most of the trucks. Which meant 30-60 minute wait for food at each truck. This was on a rainy day, so I can’t imagine how much worse it must be on a nice day. And while the rain cleared out a number of people by 9PM, by then, some of the food trucks had run out of their key items! Still, there are some high-quality food vendors here, so if there is nothing else going on, may be worth paying a visit.