Friday October 7th
It was an exciting day for the York College Spartans. Following classes, the players, coaches, and staff, joined by SJI President Jim Walker, gathered in front of the Charles Wolf Gym for a lunchtime departure towards Montreal, Canada. On the drive, there was one rest stop and lots of time to enjoy an exciting Phillies come-from-behind victory in the MLB Playoffs. We had some great views of the St. Lawrence River and the lighted skyline of Montreal as we passed through the border crossing and into Canada. From that point, it was only a short drive to the Hotel Faubourg for check-in.
Saturday October 8th
Following breakfast at the hotel, the group boarded the bus with their guide, John, for a Montreal city overview tour and a ride up to the top of Mount Royal. In addition to learning much about the city and that Montreal was named after the “mountain,” everyone was able to take some great pictures of Quebec Province’s largest city. After it was on to Deli Planet, one of Montreal’s most popular lunch spots, for a delicious pre-game meal. After resting at the hotel, the team boarded their bus for a ride to St. Lambert and a game with the University of Montreal at Quebec, one of the Province’s best University teams. Although the Spartans were defeated 92-68, they learned much from the loss. After a slow start, the Spartans battled back gamely to play the UQAM Citadins evenly over the final three periods. After the game they went back to the hotel for a post-game meal and some much-needed rest.
Sunday October 9th
Today the Spartans began the day with a visit to the Montreal Olympic Park, home of the 1976 Olympic Games. The Olympic Stadium, home to the former MLB team the Montreal Expos, was of particular interest. The beautiful domed structure is still one of the most photographed sites in Montreal. Canada has made good use of the Olympic site. Each of the other buildings is either in use as it was initially purposed or has been remodeled for different use. Following a roast chicken lunch at the hotel, the team traveled to the Montreal Curling Club for two hours of intra-team competition. First, there was some much-needed instruction, as everyone was a “rookie.” There was lots of enthusiasm as the players demonstrated their newly learned skills and spiritedly competed against each other. Afterward, everyone enjoyed a sit-down dinner of ribs and fries at the Baton Rouge Restaurant before returning to the hotel for some rest at the end of a full day.
Monday October 10th
After breakfast at the hotel, local tour manager John met the team for a bus ride up Mount Royal to Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Canada’s largest church, with one of the largest domes in the world. Brought alive by the life work of Saint Andre, a local monk, Montreal’s tallest building dominates the city’s landscape and can be seen for miles around. Using their excellent footwork, the team toured the Oratory in awe of its magnificence. The team then headed south to their second game at Champlain College. Getting off to a good start and playing solid defense, the Spartans led Champlain the entire game and finished with a 66-52 victory. After the game the hungry players and staff devoured their pizzas while driving to Old Montreal. Everyone enjoyed the experience of exploring the narrow cobblestone streets, lively plazas, and interesting shops. They then took advantage of a beautiful day by walking along the St. Lawrence River walkway with the hundreds of locals. The day was topped off with a great Greek dinner at Marathon Souvlaki. It was back to the hotel for the happy but tired group.
Tuesday October 11th
After breakfast at the hotel this morning, it was off to St. Catherine Street, the primary shopping artery of downtown Montreal. Everyone had a chance to wander into the many shops looking for gifts for their families and friends. They then said goodbye to Montreal, with thanks to John, their guide and friend, and boarded the bus with their box lunches for the trip back to York. They arrived back at school that night with many unforgettable memories and great experiences.