Floating in Montréal’s Joie de Vivre

Visuals in Partnership with Photographer @LenoxShotIt

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What I love the most about traveling is the submissive, letting-go aspect of it. You’re in complete control until the wheels of not only your plane, but your carry-on touches the ground. The moment you step out of that airport, a lot of feelings start to arise. Feelings of wonder, alertness, and fear are a few examples. But none of which is control. When traveling, I liken it to swimming in an ocean, you have a general idea of where you’re going, but the waves should always be respected because they have so much influence over you.

Montreal was a new ocean for me, one that left a warm feeling over me despite the endless sea of snow and single-digit temperatures. It was always a destination that sat in the back of my mind. Quebec, that Canadian province that I learned about during my grade school French classes was another spot in the Western Hemisphere with the heavy French influence. This was pretty enticing to me at the time, especially given the fact that the only other French infused areas I knew of at the time were Haiti and New Orleans. So when the opportunity came up to go to Montreal, all of that interest rushed back to the front of mind and intrigued me once again.

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Montreal is a street photographer’s dream. A blend of new and old, towering skyscrapers and baroque cathedrals, this concoction of structures is enthralling. Down every city block, avenue, and dead end is a characterful visual. Visuals that lend to the overall essence of Montreal’s joie de vivre. Longtime friend and photography buff Lenox Paris really fell into a groove while we wandered the city’s streets. See, that's him below wielding an Olympus Pen-F mirrorless camera. Throughout the weekend, I paired my trusty Nikon D5500 with kit 18-55mm lens with the venerable iPhone 6. The majority of the photos scattered about this post feature his unique black and white treatment and storytelling perspective to photography. Check out his photography Instagram @lenoxshotit.

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A surprising aspect of Montreal that captured us actually required you to go underground to see it. The subways in this city have an artistic and utopian charm to them. Look closely and you’ll find thoughtfully crafted architectural details. Side note, after experiencing the unsettling and grimy subways of New York, I have an unmatched appreciation for Montreal subways. The wide platforms, immaculate everything, clear signage. Why can’t all subways be like Montreal’s? Anyway, I digress.

Outfit Details

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  • New Look Wool Overcoat in Fleck Black from ASOS
  • ZARA Navy and White Horizontal Striped Sweater
  • Suitsupply Necktie
  • StyleBrewery Pink Oxford Cloth Shirt
  • H&M Cotton Joggers
  • Dr Martens 1460 8 Eye Boots
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Old Montreal

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Notre-Dame Basilica

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Mont Royal

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Now what my Instagram highlight of Montreal reveals is that there is a culture that loves food, art, and camaraderie. The Museum of Fine Arts is a must-go. The depths at which they go to with their museum exhibits is unmatched. The entire room of any particular exhibit will be crafted and styled to support the theme of the art pieces and it creates a truly immersive experience. Now one very special moment that barely got captured in photos – the only evidence of our time here is an Instagram boomerang of some croquettes – was our dining experience at Garde Manger. Garde Manger swept me up and took me on a culinary journey. The laughter amongst friends, the coziness of the dimly lit restaurant, the quality of the delicious plates that were set in front of us all matched the tone of our time in Montreal. Check out the story below.

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Letting the water carry you, the waves move you side to side, and hearing the sounds of the moment is the goal for all of my trips. Being part of the ocean that you’re visiting is crucial to fully enjoy the wonder it has to offer. Always respecting the vastness of the city’s culture is key. Montreal was a great swim, through its sights, the people, and the joie de vivre, the city is one to behold and let hold you.

This charming sea of wonder is to be experienced with full awareness, soaking in all that it has to offer. À la prochaine Montreal.

With love,

-Greg McGregorson