Your memories of Montreal will most likely be of poutine, historic walks through the old city, and activities infused with Francophone culture. But what if you want a few slightly more, well, memorable memories? You’re in luck because in Montreal, anything is possible.
1. Swim like a mermaid
You’ve always dreamed of being a mermaid, right? In Montreal, since 2015, there has been a school where this dream can become a reality: AquaSirène. Marielle Chartier Hénault — Ariel’s cousin in another life — offers courses to swim like a mermaid. She started her school in Montreal and teaches the joy of wriggling, the pleasure of undulating, and how to master grace underwater. Beware of how it seems, it’s actually more athletic than you think! If you are looking to get some cardio, work on your abs, glutes and thighs, then dive right in. Bonus: In addition to swimming lessons, the establishment manufactures and sells its own line of mermaid tails (a silicone mermaid tail can cost up to $5,000). It costs $60 for a adult single class. More information here.
2. Play quidditch
Did you know that it’s possible to play quidditch in Canada? Even the Université de Montréal and McGill have taken up the challenge. While it first appeared at Middlebury College in 2005, quidditch has now become a sport in its own right, with its own rules and an International Quidditch Association that oversees the seven international leagues. As explained on the Quidditch Canada website, the basics are quite simple and anyone can play. Find out how to get involved and where to watch upcoming matches here.
3. Fight like it’s the Middle Ages
You’ll probably spot them at some point during your time in Montreal: les Guerriers de la Montagne (Mountain Warriors), who practice medieval fighting with foam and latex swords, on Sundays on Mont-royal! It has been going on for more than ten years. Neophytes and enthusiasts of medieval fighting are welcome to learn the art of war (with fake weapons). The association now has more than 50 members. If you want to (get) hit, there’s nothing to stop you from taking a look at this Facebook group to find out when the next training sessions will take place.
4. Become a jedi
Are you a knight for a day or a seasoned fighter? Go to The Force Academy to wield the your lightsaber and challenge your friends and enemies. Safe and friendly, the place promises you a real trip to the galaxy. No previous experience is required, and everyone is welcome to play Darth Vader. “There are seven forms of Lightsaber combat and many are inspired by Japanese combat,” says Eric Bernier, “Jedi Master” and founder of the Force Academy, to the Metro newspaper. Introductory courses are also available. More information here.
5. Play dodgebow
Do you dream of shooting arrows like the heroine Katniss from The Hunger Games? Try DodgeBow: a team archery sport. Halfway between paintball and dodgeball, two teams of up to 10 players arm themselves and fight for 45 minutes. Equipped with flat-tipped foam bows and arrows, you’re not at risk of anything, except for getting adrenaline rushes. More information here.
6. Throw axes
Do you like to play darts and/or throw knives? You’re gonna love throwing axes — real ones. Go to the axe throwing centre, Rage, to test your strength, agility and/or distance vision. “We are convinced that this experience develops concentration, patience and an appetite for success,” writes the center’s team on its Facebook page. Good atmosphere guaranteed, definitely test it with friends or family. Warm up your muscles a little before you go. An axe is heavy and you don’t want to drop it…
7. Break plates
Le Robin des Bois (aka Robin Hood) is a “not-for-profit” restaurant that offers cuisine prepared and served by volunteers. It’s also known for its “salle de défoulement” (romper room) that does not go unnoticed on Boulevard Saint-Laurent. For a “voluntary donation,” you have “the right and privilege to break a plate. You can write the name of an ex, your boss, or a politician, if you wish. Or simply break a plate with an intention of happiness, joy and love,” writes the team on the restaurant site. Some good information to know: for children between 6 and 12 years old, the plate is free. Same for guests celebrating their birthdays. More information here.
This article was first published on our sister site Maudits Français.