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May 2006
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What to do with kids --
adventures and child care


Young children will have a fabulous time in Montreal. Here are some half-day outings that I recommend.
Go to Old Montreal. You can get close in the metro, or take a 10 minute cab ride. Stroll the streets, visit the canal, have a coffee and watch the people. You can rent really fun things here - big low slung tricycles and "gopeds" (battery powered scooters), and you can scoot all around the port area. Kids will just love them. Lots of tourist shops for compulsive buyers in addition.
While there, visit the beautiful old "sailors church" Notre Dame de Bonsecours. Go inside and sit down. Then climb to the spire area (using the stairway of course) and get a great view of the harbour.
You can ride a speed boat through the rapids in the St Laurent at this point. You may be scared but your kids will love it. Actually these rapids are the main reason we are in Montreal for the CEA conference. The Seaway wasn't built for quite a while after Champlain, and the early visitors decided to start using the area (and the adjoining "Royal Mountain") as a kind of stopover/hangout place on their way out west in search of oil and natural gas, and freedom from oppressive central governments.
The Science Centre and accompanying IMAX film theatre are also located in Old Montreal, at the waterfront, in the same complex. Visit them by typing "Centre des sciences de Montreal" into Google. An IMAX movie is a must for all kids - right up to the age of about 100.
The Planetarium is downtown - a few minutes by cab from Concordia; features shows on the heavens all the time. Just google: "planetarium montreal".
Then there is the Biodome, the Insectarium and the Botanical Gardens; all very close to one another in the vicinity of the Olympic Stadium itself a piece of Montreal's financial history. These are most easily accessed by metro, and the Guy St. metro is about a minute's walk from Concordia.
Finally, and particularly if the weather is good, go to the mountain: Mont Royal. Get a cab to Beaver Lake. From there, walk to the "lookout at the chalet", where you can get refreshments. You will see most of the city and parts of Vermont and the Eastern Townships. Walk the upper loop, it's about 2 kilometres. If you have seed with you some of the bolder birds will eat from your hand. There is also a playground near Beaver Lake.
Child care

For the more cerebral delegates, we will also have a drop-off centre in the Library building, which is directly across the street from our conference site - the Hall building, where kids can stay with a professional minder for a few hours at a time. The Department of Early Childhood Education has kindly agreed to make one of their rooms available to us for the Friday and Saturday of the conference. This will be for children aged about three to seven (must be toilet trained). The locale is essentially an activity centre, rather than a daycare, and there will be two professional staff on duty for the morning and afternoon sessions. Lunch is not provided, so parents who wish to use the facility for more than half of the day will need to retrieve their children for lunch.
It is important that we have a sense of how many delegates may use this service. So please contact me (Ian Irvine) by the end of April to be assured a spot.


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