Killing time before our afternoon flight home — Jean-Talon Market, Redpath Museum, and a Canadian hospital museum to satisfy my inner nerd.
The Bestie and I had heard about the Jean-Talon Market on several tourist websites, so we decided to head over there first thing in the morning before ending our trip. I always thought markets opened super early and there were crowds of early birds swooping on the freshest produce. This was not the case during my morning at Jean-Talon. It was pretty empty, and apparently we came super early because many of the sellers were still in the process of setting up their shops. They did have (what looked like) super fresh fruits and vegetables in beautiful colors, and a part of me wished I could go marauding around the market with my little basket like those pretty girls on TV and whip up a delicious lunch. But that also entails me learning how to cook, soooo……. We did find a stall that sold various maple products, so we loaded up on some of those products, since we were sure it was okay to bring home with us. Jean-Talon Market is also lined with several little eateries, and again, we were too early to sample their fare, *sigh.*
We abandoned breakfast at Jean-Talon and made our way through the mess of construction the locals called “McGill University.” The campus contains the Redpath Museum, a natural history museum named after a sugar baron. There are lots of skeletons, stuffed animal specimens, rocks, minerals, and fossils on the first two floors of this 3-story museum. The third floor was my favorite — it was dedicated to various cultures and human history, including a number of mummies and an interesting story of how modern day imaging of the skeletons inside the wrappings led to the development of reconstructions of what the mummies may have looked like in real life. There was also an interesting exhibit about the culture around shrunken heads. FUN FACT: Shrunken heads were a collector’s item back in the day, so much so that counterfeits were made out of monkey heads.
I didn’t take any pictures at my next stop because photography wasn’t allowed. So enjoy a picture of some planes.
I stopped at the Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal. It’s a small museum not far from the MCGill campus and tells the story of the first hospital in Montreal, as well as the development of medicine and nursing in Montreal. I met one of the staff members, Caroline, at the front desk, and she graciously welcomed me. She was super friendly and gave me a small tour around the first level of the museum. After finding out I was from California, she did ask me about my opinion on our upcoming election. I really didn’t know what to tell her. Apparently, she gets that reaction from every American she meets.
The Musée des Hospitalières de l’Hôtel-Dieu is a small museum, and I was the only one there besides the staff members, so I was eerily aware of my Free Runs acting as suction cups on the floor (anyone else have this problem?). The exhibits are very informative and I felt they were thorough in their account of Montreal medical history, not only telling the stories of the physicians, but of the nuns and nurses who provided care as well. Jeanne Mance was the founder of l’Hôtel-Dieu and heavily advocated for adequate healthcare for the residents of Montreal. She also was integral in involving the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph in providing healthcare, and there is a significant portion of this museum dedicated to the sisters of St. Joseph and their contribution to the hospital. SIDE NOTE: There were a few uber-scary mannequins in nun’s clothing scattered around the exhibit. Only because they were placed around corners where I decided to turn. Be prepared for that. The front entryway of the museum also houses a wooden staircase from the original Hôtel-Dieu in France (something Caroline explained to me upon my entrance). If you are interested in Montreal history, medicine, or healthcare history in general, plan a visit to this museum.
The Bestie wasn’t interested in a medical museum, so I met her back into the hotel. We said our goodbyes to this beautiful city, and it responded by pouring rain.
We took the hint and booked it to the airport. Until next time, Canada.