Welcome to round three of the 2014 NHL playoffs. Your team’s spirited win over the Pittsburgh Penguins has brought you one step closer to the ultimate goal: the Stanley Cup. Over the years our teams have met 614 times during the regular season, and while the Canadiens hold a distinct advantage with a 328-189-94-3 record, in the 14 times the teams have faced each other in the playoffs they have split those series evenly at seven apiece.
If you’ve decided to take I87 north to watch your team, here are a few things to bear in mind to make your visit enjoyable. While Montreal is a French-speaking city, you’ll still do just fine in English, as many if not most people also speak English – but that’s a secret we don’t tell those who want Quebec to separate from Canada, so keep it under your hat. However if you do run into someone who doesn’t understand you, remember that no matter how loudly or slowly you speak to them in English, it isn’t going to work.
Our public signs are in metric: that speed limit sign that has a big 100 on it actually translates to 60 miles an hour; it’s 100 kilometers an hour! But the real fun is with height clearance. Like most cities Montreal has its share of overpasses, on a good day most of them stay intact. If you’re driving any kind of high vehicle, check the clearance in metric before you wedge it under an overpass because you didn’t know how high a 4.9 meter clearance is (it’s 16 feet). With our decaying infrastructure, we often just leave vehicles from out-of-town that get stuck as makeshift supports. Also, remember that the island of Montreal and New York City are the only two major urban areas in North America that DON’T allow right turns on red lights. Thank God!
Food and restaurants play an important role in what makes Montreal the Paris of North America. Aside from countless high-end establishments, you might want to take in some less fancy but tasty eateries. Of course you should give Montreal smoked meat a try, but only at Schwartz’ on St. Laurent. If you haven’t had smoked meat from Schwartz’, you’ve probably had pastrami, which is a different beast altogether. And give our bagels a shot too.
When you get your restaurant bill, you may notice the item TPS at the bottom. That’s not an automatic tip, it’s a tax – we’re big on taxes. Tipping is not included on restaurant checks, but is expected, often needed, by wait staff. Start at 15% and add if you are so moved.
So let the series begin and keep in mind that while our speed limit signs may fool you one way, our beer may dupe you another – higher alcohol content has been known to sneak up on unsuspecting US visitors!
(Today’s WordPress Daily Post:Worldly Encounters asks for an explanation of mankind through a book or movie. That’s a pretty tall order, but I can suggest that any alien would get a good idea of what makes Canadians tick if he or she were to visit during NHL playoff season!)