Seldom travelled by most McGill students because it does not bypass the McGill area, the blue line presents a unique opportunity to explore Montreal outside its downtown core. From bakery hopping to circuses, the blue line offers a variety of activities to overcome the winter blues.
Though downtown Montreal doesn’t offer many fast food options, one of Montreal’s three Wendy’s locations is situated footsteps away from this bustling station. Students craving the nostalgic taste of an ice-cold Frosty or a Baconator burger can make the trek to this stop on the blue line. Nearby is another fast-food staple, the world-famous Gibeau Orange Julep. Dubbed ‘Big Orange’ by locals, this globe-shaped fast-food restaurant specializes in cheap, greasy comfort food such as hot dogs and poutine. However, it is most famous for its orange milkshake, a treat that tastes like a melted orange creamsicle. In the summer, Orange Julep also hosts vintage cars and motorcycles in its parking lot every Wednesday.
Upon exiting Côte-des-Neiges station, head to Saint Joseph’s Oratory on Queen Mary Road. Originally a small chapel founded by Saint André Bessette in 1904, the historic site was transformed into a monumental basilica between 1924 and 1967. Particularly noteworthy to visitors is the museum’s fifth floor, which houses a collection of sacred art and seasonal exhibitions. Until March 19, the museum is hosting an exhibition entitled, In Search of the Lost Me and Meaning, a display by Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal, which comments on the themes of identity. Additionally, the Oratory presents NOUVELLEGENERATION.ORGUE, a weekly concert series that showcases young, up-and-coming composers every Sunday afternoon.
The De Castelnau station is located at the intersection of beloved party avenue, St. Laurent Boulevard and the Mile-Ex neighbourhood. A former industrial district transformed by young artists, the area around the station has recently attracted a unique nightlife scene. The most notable venue in the neighborhood is Bar Le Ritz P.D.B., which hosts a variety of weekly events ranging from concerts to themed dance parties. Meanwhile, those in search of a relaxing night out can venture to Salle Miss Villeray. While their classic bar grub and alcoholic beverages are pricey, the sophisticated and warm wood-furnished atmosphere is worth the splurge. Be sure to visit on a Sunday when the staff organize weekly quiz nights.
Located in suburban Montreal, Saint-Michel is a hub for circus arts. In recent decades, the nearby Parc Frédéric-Back has hosted renowned talents, including the Circus Arts City TOHU, Cirque du Soleil, and the National Circus School. In addition to the acrobatic performances and workshops held year round, the area hosts annual summer festivals, including the Montreal Cirque Festival and Montréal Complètement Cirque. While in the area, be sure to explore the park grounds, a former landfill and quarry that has been transformed into a public space dedicated to environmental preservation.
The Saint-Michel area, known as Little Maghreb, is home to thousands of immigrants from Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco—the first such neighbourhood in North America. Among the culinary standouts in the area is La Table Fleurie d’Algerie, a gourmet pastry shop that serves North African treats such as baklava, Algerian makrout cookies, and mint tea.