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Screaming Fans, An Historic Result & What Not To Do In Montreal

We recently took a whirlwind 24 hour trip to Montreal to see the World Gymnastics Championships and I had no idea so much could happen in that short an amount of time. Allow me to explain.

As mentioned, a large portion of the gymnasts at our daughter’s gym decided to make the 2-hour trip to Montreal for the weekend to watch the World Gymnastics Championships. While we were excited to see all the gymnasts perform and to cheer on our Canadian team, the girls were most excited to see Canadian Olympian Ellie Black perform and she did not disappoint!

With the girls decked out in their ‘Team Ellie’ shirts, they watched as Ellie Black became the first Canadian gymnast ever to win a medal in the all-around competition at the World Championships! I’ll save my rant for why this didn’t get more mainstream sports media coverage for another time…

Daddy Daughter Gymnastics

Watching the girls, each decked out with their own waving Canadian flag, cheer for their favourite gymnasts was my favourite part of the event as you could see the love of the sport in their eyes throughout the entire competition. I actually found myself getting a bit jealous as I’m not sure I’ve ever been as passionate for anything, outside of poutine, than these girls are about gymnastics. Side note: having been to see the Montreal Canadiens live in Montreal, I have to say that the crowd noise for Ellie and Brooklyn Moors would have given the Habs a run for their money!

We actually arrived in Montreal extra early on Friday so we could check in to our amazing hotel, the Residence Inn Montreal Downtown, and then head over to the Montreal Biodome! Tickets to the Biodome were kindly provided to us by the incredible people at Montreal Tourism, and while we had visited once before with the kids, they were too young to remember, making this a special visit.

Kids Montreal Biodome

I can’t say enough about how great the Montreal Biodome is and it was so much cooler than I remembered it from our previous visit. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that we were lugging a stroller and a toddler with us at the time… My daughter was fascinated with the penguins and my son, who is close to that age where nothing is cool anymore, actually admitted that it was pretty cool and then spent a ton of my money on minerals in the gift shop. For me, the highlight was definitely getting to see 2 parrots having a very loud disagreement about whose branch belonged to whom.

Now, I did mention in the title of this post something you should NOT do while you are in Montreal and that thing occurred as we left Olympic Stadium after the gymnastics competition. I went to check the time and directions to the nearest metro station when I realized that I no longer had my phone on me. It turns out that I dropped it sometime in the final minutes before we left and it was nowhere to be found. To say I handled this situation well would be grossly incorrect but my entire life is on that device, which is kind of sad, and I was worried about whose hands it could end up in.

Kids Montreal Metro

We rushed back to the hotel, plugged in my wife’s phone to charge it to 1% and then I called my phone to see if it would be answered. “Olympic Stadium Security”, the man answered as my stress disappeared in an instant. The good news, bad news of this situation was that stadium security had my phone, but it was back at the stadium and 11pm at night. Luckily for me, and being from the archaic Ottawa system, I cannot stress this enough, the metro system in Montreal is incredible! A $6 return trip and I was back in the hotel with my phone in less than an hour. I’m serious, it would have been a minimum 40 drive each way with traffic and parking to contend with. The metro system was my one of my favourite things about our trip.

Montreal Canadiens Store

When we woke up the next morning, we hit the “make your own waffles” machine at the Residence Inn restaurant, always a hit with the kids, and then we walked to my favourite place in Montreal, the Bell Centre, to visit the Montreal Canadiens landmarks and store! I promised my son we’d get out to his first Canadiens game this year and I intend on keeping that promise!

Montreal Canadiens Dab

Being Thanksgiving weekend and with a full sports slate, we had to rush out of Montreal before lunch but it was an amazing trip with plenty of ups and one self-inflicted down that we will never forget! Thank you to Montreal Tourism for the hospitality and to the organizing committee of the Gymnastics World Championships for the amazing event!!

We Day ~ Montreal Recap

Last week, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend my second WeDay, this time in the amazing city of Montreal. Some might call this greedy but it was a special chance for me to see my friend, Hannah Alper, performing live on stage as WeDay’s newest speaker. Spoiler Alert: She totally crushed it!

The Montreal event was different from the Ottawa experience in that it only had about 2,000 students, which made for a very intimate setting. The crowd was still deafening at times, as they heard from amazing speakers like Martin Luther King III, Chris Tse & the Kielburger brothers, as well as performances by Luca “LazyLegz” Patuelli and Sam Roberts. As you would expect from an event like WeDay, the positive energy flowing around the room was very high and the emotions were even higher.

My Highlights

There were a number of highlights from my most recent WeDay experience and I’ve decided to lay them out in point form to the best of my ability.

1. Martin Luther King III

It’s not every day that you get to listen someone as powerful as Martin Luther King III live on stage and I am grateful for the opportunity. While his message was tailored to the children in attendance, I can assure you that it was certainly not lost on me when he urged them to find their calling in life. It’s something that I am still searching for but feel like I am getting closer every day.

2. Chris Tse

I’m not going to lie, going into this day, I had no idea who Chris Tse was. I was invited a couple days before the event and didn’t have a lot of time to read up on all the speakers. It turns out that it was probably a good thing because Chris blew me away with his wit and in the way that he poetically threw out his words as if he were writing a book right in front of us. In describing his upbringing, I loved when he talked about how his parents had set up “Math Mondays”, “World History Wednesdays”, and his least favourite, “Non-Fiction Fridays”. He was incredible and is someone I will be following from now on.

3. Spencer West

This says it all.

4. The Alper’s. All of them…

You know the saying, “It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know”? That seems infinitely appropriate here, because without Eric, Candace and Hannah Alper, I would not have been able to experience something as amazing as WeDay. From the initial invitation, to having the opportunity to sneak backstage to meet the likes of Marc & Craig Kielburger, Spencer West, Martin Luther King III and Sam Roberts, I am forever indebted to this family. Getting to see Hannah calmly speak in front of all of those kids, gives me further inspiration and nerves to pursue my goals of inspiring through public speaking. And, she was absolutely amazing as she shared Malala’s story, up on the stage. So, thank you Alper’s! You have inspired me in more ways than one and I plan on using that insporation for good.

5. Meeting Molly Burke!

This was the big highlight of the day for me. Thanks again to Candace Alper, I had the special opportunity to meet and hang out backstage with Molly Burke and her guide dog, Gypsy. I was first introduced to Molly and her story at WeDay in Ottawa earlier this year. Her story of bullying is one of the most powerful I have ever heard on the subject and I wanted to meet her so I could let her know that her message reaches more than just the children she speaks to. As expected, she was very cool to hang out with and admitted that she is very superstitious, just as I am. Her new presentation was just as powerful as the one from Ottawa and the world is definitely a better place for having her in it.

If you have school aged children, I highly encourage you to start by showing them the videos on the Free The Children website and encouraging them to get involved in their school or community. The long term effects of this action will benefit their future multiple times over.

We 365 App

Free The Children also unveiled the very cool, We 365 phone app, which is going to revolutionize the way we give back. It’s an app that tracks all the good you do and awards points for each task you complete and hour your volunteer. It has challenges, allows you to create groups and even has prizes. This video explains it better than I can, and for every sign up on We365, Free The Children will immunize a child overseas.

Martin Luther King IIIMolly Burke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hannah AlperSam Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spencer West