Every year, my youth group and I take part in a Scavenger Hunt around Downtown Montreal; full of clues, interesting details, facts and new places to discover. There really is nothing like being a tourist in your own city, because far too often we take it for granted. So this week on the blog, we thought we’d share with you some of the newly discovered places of the city we both love! Read on and venture with us!
If you enjoy walking, this Scavenger Hunt is for you! If you’re more like me, and enjoy seeing new places, then this Scavenger Hunt is for you! Isn’t it funny how that works, there’s something for everyone lol. I must say, it requires a LOT of patience, determination and somewhat of a sense of direction to get through the hunt. It always makes me laugh how the majority of us complain about the walking, and the distance, the unknown surroundings, what we are going to eat for dinner, but yet, we circle the date on the calendar each year and we take the day off (if we work on Saturdays).
I never really thought about what I get out of participating in the Scavenger Hunt every year, until a friend of mine opened my eyes to what he thought to be the hidden joys of walking around our big city year after year for 12 or so hours. We get to discover new places. We try to reconfigure our inner compass to the backroads and side streets that will get us from point A to point B. I’ll be honest with you, I’m still trying to figure out where I am in regards to East and West, and the Champlain bridge (where we watch the fireworks from), but then it occurred to me, if the South is one direction, then North would be in the opposite direction.
Landmarks have always been my thing. I know what area I am in, based on a specific landmark, but yet I could not for the life of me, tell you where the next landmark that I need to get to, will be from the point that I am standing. Just that I know what else will surround me. 🤷🏾♀️So here it is, I will try my hardest to figure out this city that I live in. And I WILL master the art of getting around downtown… I hope… I pray… I WILL DO IT!
When it comes to the types of food that we eat on the Scavenger Hunt, its always a pure mystery from day one! My friend and I were actually talking about this exact notion the other day. He’s not too fond of the mysteries behind the foods we’re set to eat, not because we eat weird things, but because the locations are always cool, unique fly in the wall locations, so here it is!
As you can see from the dishes displayed above, there is nothing simple, and easily describable about it. I’ll be honest…I suck with pinning down the names of foods that are not a part of my usual repertoire, BUT I must say…it was worth every bite!
Because we were such a large group, we decided to split the first meal into sections. There were six people at my table. Some of us chose a meat option; beef or chicken, while myself and others chose a vegetarian/ vegan option; chick peas, cabbage etc. The colours, the smells, the mixtures, OH MY GOODNESS, they were amazing. The texture of the “bread” is definitely an acquired taste, seen as it is spongy in texture, but it has a nice taste when combined with the various meats, veggies and so forth. I am a bit biased in all of these, because I have eaten at a similar Ethiopian location, with the exact same concept, which make this experience more of a repeat than a first time occurrence for me, but it did not disappoint, and it was nice to experience just a tad bit of familiarity.
Now this beauty was from AQuinta, a rustic Portuguese restaurant on the corner of Ontario and Cartier downtown. Their portions were beyond comparison. What is not pictured, is the full sized poutine that I ordered to go along with this chicken sandwich with salad. It left me full and not able to consider dessert 😂 imagine that!
Oh the HUNT! It is always full of colour, details that we do not take the time to observe within our busy days. It seems that the hunt allows us the opportunity to stop, look and take-in the little things. It definitely requires you to be observant and pay attention to your surroundings.
Here’s me and my bestie boo Richelle. I invited her one year to join me on this Scavenger Hunt, and now it has become our annual chill (not so chill, because we end up in pain from walking so much by the end of the day 👀😭) routine! This is more or less the only scheduled time that we pencil-in, colour code into out calendars, both digital and paper, to make sure that we are there for the festivities. I’m sure that by the end of it, we are NOT smiling like we were at the start of all the pictures, but come-on! Who can truly say that they have walked around their hometown, and know that there is a castle shaped house down the street, there are zebra like patters on the side of the building near the metro and so forth.
If we don’t venture out, how will we ever know what is just around the corner? We definitely shook it up this year. Usually we get a few papers with instructions and a list of items that we are to find/ identify as we go along, and write down the answers, but we also get a set of pictures and we need to identify the location upon which we found the exact image. This year we were required to pick-up cotton balls on a stick or rubber band that we found on the way. They were spread out along our route as we went, and we were to pick them up, and the team who collected the most, got a prize. I must say, having to locate cotton balls on a stick and some on a string, AS I am being asked to spot certain store titles, unique landmarks and so on, definitely threw me for a loop! I would have thought that I was detail oriented, but man did those cotton balls challenge my eye for the finer details of life. I could not tell you how much my group and I must have walked by…but we did find joy in the 4 that we acquired while walking with other groups and watching them walk RIGHT past those little things. It brought joy to my extremely mild and determined competitive spirit! 😂
It always makes me laugh how quick I am to give up control in my life, for this one adventure, EVERY year! I’m a planner, I love organization, schedules, the whole shebang, but the Scavenger Hunt is the one time of the year that I leave the plans and organization to someone else, and just breathe 😤 What ways do you give up the control in your life, and enjoy the outcomes? Also, have you ever considered participating in something like a Scavenger Hunt in your city, to discover what makes it so special? We would LOVE to hear what you think 😁