The publishers have informed me that the book may be out dated as it was last published in 1997 and is now in the process of being updated. However, I still found the information, for the most part, relevant and very interesting.
The main objective of the book is to make the traveler to Montreal and even the local inhabitants aware of the many different sites in Montreal that are often neglected. As mentioned in its introduction it will appeal to a unique sort of travelers who are really explorers, “those who aren’t content to collect exactly the same pile of snapshots taken from exactly the same spot as every other tourist.”
Within the first few chapters the author informs us as to how to use the book. It is pointed out that the entries have been organized alphabetically and the table of contents lists all of the secret hideouts and relevant chapters. Once the traveler decides what interests them, he or she can refer to the relevant chapter and find out where the site is located and also have a good idea of why the site is considered to be secret.
For example, the first chapter deals with Africa as it is mentioned that Montreal is home to many French-speaking Africans.
We are informed of the many activities related to African culture such as the annual Festival Nuits d’Afrique dedicated to French African culture and music.
Another chapter describes the St. Leonard Caves that is the only cave on the island of Montreal accessible to visitors. Other “goodies” inform us of secret sugar shacks, secret theatre, secret walks and nature parks and even secret restaurants that have, as the author indicates, “a particularly storied pedigree, and with a particular focus on the variety of ethnic cuisine”. There are also sections of the book dealing with secret history and even secret hockey.
If you like hot dogs and French fries or, as the French Canadian refers to it as “steamie-frites” we learn of the several secret-eating establishments that offer this delicacy.
The chapters are very succinct and informative. We are given telephone numbers, addresses, hours of operation and admission fees for all of the sites. Furthermore there exist several maps showing the exact location of the author’s suggestions.
One criticism I have, however, is that the author neglects to mention if any of the sites are wheelchair accessible. Another element omitted is that there is no mention if admission fees can be paid by credit card.
If any of you cyber readers are planning a trip to Montréal or even if you are local inhabitants of the city, this handy little gem of a book will make your trip and experience much more interesting and fulfilling.