500 Cummings Center
Beverly, MA 01915
Tel. (978) 927-8330
Fax: (978) 524-8890
James Whiting, MD
In just a few weeks, the annual meeting of the New England Surgical Society will be landing in Montreal. This is only the third time that we've ventured out of New England in the last two decades. Many of you are no doubt familiar with this marvelous city, but for those who aren't, I've compiled my own "top ten" list of things to know about Montreal.
- Montreal is a 30 mile long island but for almost the first 100 years of its existence, the town was Ville Marie, while the island was Montreal. Indigenous peoples mostly used it as hunting grounds, there was no significant settlement on the island.
- The layout of the streets was designed by the French and are constructed to parallel the route of the St. Lawrence River. The river is thought of as broadly running east-west and the streets are designated as such, but really it's much more north-south. So when directed to go east, you may find that you're actually going north. As a result it's been said that "Montreal is the only city in the world where the sun rises in the North".
- Montreal was occupied by Colonial Forces during the American Revolution for almost nine months. It was still a secondary city to Quebec, which is farther downriver and more amenable to sea trade.
- It's the only place in Canada where you can't turn right on red.
- Officially French, it's the second largest city in the world that's primarily French speaking, but 60% of the population is bilingual.
- Montreal has a vast underground city with more than 20 miles of connected shopping malls, museums, universities and other public places. It's also connected by seven different subway (metro) stations.
- No building in Montreal can be taller than the 103 foot Mount Royal Cross on the top of the hill.
- Montreal originally grew as a terminal outpost for the fur trade as the rapids south of it prohibited navigation farther inland- it was the last stop inland from the sea. When a canal and locks were built in the early 1800s, it presaged a whole new wave of growth and expansion.
- The Montreal Canadiens hockey team was founded in 1909 and is the oldest professional ice hockey team in the world, and the only existing NHL club to predate the founding of the league. The official name of the club is le Club de hockey Canadien.
- Although the food scene has advanced considerably, the two foods it's known for are poutine and "smoked meat" (similar to pastrami).
See you in September!
James Whiting, MD