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Montreal Update


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Montreal is at its very best right now. Last weekend offered superb weather, low to mid 70s and sunny, and so many things to do and so many boys to enjoy, that I hesitated to sleep. Yesterday morning, the airlines all dropped their flight rates to Montreal; Fort Lauderdale - Montreal is only $2l5 round-trip for the next 30 days, the lowest it has been in years.


The Trudeau/Dorval Airport in Montreal is very pleasant and easy. Customs is always a breeze: "Why are you here?" "I enjoy the rich culture, good food, and great shopping." "Thank you!" The airport shuttle bus now runs every 20 minutes and goes directly to the Central Bus Station on Place Berri. Twenty-five minutes after I got off the plane, I was in my hotel on St. Catherine. ($20 CD round-trip.)


St. Catherine's Street looks better than ever, and after dark it was magical every night. A new neighborhood association has been formed to improve the area, and it is working. Not making it cutesy, but consciously making efforts to improve it: giant sidewalk vacuum cleaner was working at 11:00 p.m. Friday night and there was never much debris along the street, sidewalks and street are all in good paved condition, more bicycle racks provided, no garbage bags left along street, wash windows regularly (for the first time ever, Stock looked clean outside; it has always been clean inside); use spotlights to accent interesting architecture of buildings, no boarded up buildings, more trash containers along the street to encourage people to throw stuff in them. All these small techniques have made a significant change. And of course in nice weather all the restaurants and bars remove their front windows, and so inside and outside become one, and it is fun to walk by and see the people inside, and fun to sit inside and watch the crowds walking by outside, and an easy way to make eye contact and meet people and more. At night, the entire street became like a large block party every night with throngs of happy people walking and chatting.


Priape, the gay store, has remodeled and their underwear collection is now one of the best any place. They were also selling all their VHS tapes; they will handle only DVDs in the future. All Bel-Ami videos up to "Greek Holiday" were on sale for $14.95 CD; usual price is $69.95 each. All the Dolphin videos (for twinks), the recent Falcon videos (for bulk), and several other studios were all on sale for $9.95 CD or $14.95. I figure I saved almost enough money to pay for my trip, plus I will have a great collection of tapes to enjoy for a long time! Sale goes on to the end of September.


The Grande Bibliotheque has opened at Berri and Maisonneauve, and it is one of the best public libraries in the world in every way. If you like books, enjoy contemporary architecture, are interested in current events, urban planning, be sure and stop by. It is extraordinary. It is also enormously popular. Since opening on April 30, they have issued more than 160,000 new library cards to delighted Montrealers. It has state-of-the-art technology of every kind; it has 80,000 cd's and thousands of films, plus millions of books. The building is incredibly exciting. It is a glass cube, with walls totally of glass, flooding the interior with light. There are reading rooms all over which are so inviting you want to sit down and start reading or listening right away. To break the direct sunlight and to offer some insulation, there are thick panels of frosted tempered glass with a thin enamel coating to give it the color of icebergs. The panels are spaced so you can look out in areas, have privacy in others, etc., and at night the entire building is a magical structure. There is a garden at the rear with nine sections, one of which will be assigned to a different artist each year. The inaugural section is entitled "Punk Garden," in reference to the many punk-style young people in Montreal. I found it delightful, and you will soon see how the name is reflected in the garden. Along with the library in Vancouver, Canada now has two of the greatest public library buildings in the world. There is also a wonderful exhibit in the lower level hall on the history of publication and censorship in Quebec. If you value ideas and books and abhor censorship, this is perhaps the best exhibit you will ever see.


The new Tender Moments Agency (514-791-4447) proved superb for me, and I enthusiastically recommend twink escorts Yannick and Vincent (separate reviews). The four stripper bars were thriving with great numbers of gorgeous boys and men, and separate reviews will appear shortly.


For a fun filled day, go down to the Old Harbor in Old Montreal. Rent a bicycle and ride along the harbor to the west, then cross over and ride all along the 19th century Lachine Canal on one side and come back on the other, or cross over the bicycle bridge to the island and cycle through the national park, by the casino, and cross back over and return your bike. It is all level and is an excellent way of enjoying a beautiful day and mingling with the Montrealers. (You can invite one of the dancers to accompany you if you pick up the tab and treat him to a nice lunch. It is an enjoyable way of spending a few hours with one of your new friends.) The Jacques Cartier Square in the pedestrian zone of Old Montreal is lined with delightful outdoor cafes for lunch or dinner.


If you want to enjoy four of the best male stripper bars in the world, bar none, have wonderful meals, enjoy life in a large gay village, enjoy a cute escort or two or three, and enjoy a cosmopolitan world capital, Montreal can't be beat.

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