Surfing and swordplay in Montreal

Winter was over, and the parks of Mont-Royal rang to the sound of sword fighting.

The sun was baking hot. Spring exploded into Montreal seemingly overnight, and every tree in the city bloomed with big, juicy green leaves.

Even the insects sprang into action; spiders rappelled from the sky the begin their web-building and hornets buzzed aimlessly around our verandah.


Twenty-five degrees and perfect, the whole of the city seemed more than eager to dust off their T-shirts and shorts (after the long, cold winter and the heavy jackets that go with it) and make their way to public places to enjoy the sunshine.

In the park of Mont-Royal, Montreal’s central mountain, some people joined in with the Tam-tam, a shaggy, colourful drum circle. Others donned chainmail or ninja headwear and fought grand battles with foam-and-duct-tape swords and plastic shields.


Tightrope walkers were out there too, practising. Most people picnicked in the sun, drank beers, smoked pot, and watched the festivities.

In Verdun, the quiet riverside suburb where i’m living, surfers brought out their boards to take advantage of the waves (wait, what?) down the Saint-Laurent river.

Yep, you can surf here.

There’s a series of rapids called the Lachine Rapids stretching upriver for almost five kilometers. They’re caused by underwater rock shelves, and river surfers in warm wetsuits catch them all the way down stream. There’s also kayak hire nearby, and the sidewalks rumbled to the rolling sound of a thousand rollerbladers.


On the Sunday night, every house on the block sizzled and sang with the sounds and smells of barbeques. Cindy and I inhaled sweet marinaded ribs and hamburgers on the back porch of Cindy’s workmate Alexandre.


But somehow the weather didn’t last, and it’s cold again this week. There was rain yesterday and hail today. Canadian weather is unpredictable, to say the least. Let’s see what next week brings…

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