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Downtown Montreal

My first impressions of Montréal were of a modern, high-rise, somewhat identikit Northern American city. And of roadworks. Lots of roadworks. The city authorities seemed intent on replacing the sewers all over the downtown, there was a lot of redevelopment going on with new skyscrapers and new bridges being built, several major road junctions were undergoing complete remodelling, and much of the rest of the road network was being resurfaced. The locals said that Montréal has two seasons: Winter, and Cone Season. And we were there firmly in the middle of Cone Season.

This meant that sat-navs were almost completely useless, as every other main road seemed to be completely blocked. Even the local taxi drivers couldn’t keep up with the road closures and diversions. I took several taxis across town which got horribly lost – one driver did two three-point turns when he realised his way was blocked, and at one point even reversed at speed the wrong way down a one way road!

The most inconvenient section of the roadworks, at least as far as I was concerned, was the one directly outside my hotel. Indeed, directly outside my window. I was due to be working the late afternoon/evening shifts of the equipment trial over the second weekend, so I badly wanted to have a bit of a lie-in. Fat chance when a pneumatic drill started up directly outside my bedroom window well before 8am on the Saturday! You’d never find British workmen so keen at the weekend! Fortunately, the workmen seemed to take the Sunday off, so I was finally able to have a bit of a lazy start to the day before heading off to work.