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Exploring the Hidden Gems and Unconventional Spots of the Total Eclipse in Montreal

As the total eclipse swept over Montreal’s downtown, it wasn’t the prime spot for many eclipse enthusiasts. Instead, shortly after noon, the streets near the city’s bridges started filling with cars departing the island in search of optimal viewing spots. Hundreds of thousands of people headed off the island to escape the urban hustle, seeking quieter locales devoid of skyscrapers and construction noise, or to nearby landmarks like Sainte-Hélène Island on the St. Lawrence River, where eclipse-related activities had been organized for months.

Enya Astelle and her friend Josiane Neault found themselves dancing to music blasting from the car next to theirs on Ste-Catherine Street East as they sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic. They were en route back to St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 40 kilometers away, after a trip into town to handle some business.

However, not everyone was caught up in eclipse fever. Claudette Desmarais, running errands downtown, shrugged off the celestial event, describing it as “No big deal” while donning a sequined cap.

For others, like Kamel Bousba and his children, Yasmine and Massine, the eclipse held significance. Waiting at a bus stop on St-Hubert Street to head to the science center in the Old Port, they were eager to witness the rare event. Massine noted that according to his history teacher, such events occur only once every century.

Carole Therrien, a traffic signaller stationed outside a construction site, had to forego viewing the eclipse due to work commitments. Nonetheless, she managed to steal a few glances during totality, experiencing the city’s eerie mid-day darkness firsthand.

Meanwhile, Randy Enkin, a geologist from Victoria, British Columbia, flew to Montreal to witness totality from his wife’s parents’ rooftop terrace in the Plateau neighborhood. Enkin, an avid moon enthusiast, had been planning the trip since 2017 and found the idea of viewing the eclipse from a familiar setting particularly appealing.

At La Fontaine Park, a crowd of several hundred gathered along the pond, eagerly anticipating the celestial spectacle. As darkness descended and the sky grew dimmer, gasps and cheers echoed through the park, marking the awe-inspiring moment of totality. Despite a brief disruption from a group of noisy individuals, the crowd remained undeterred, cherishing the rare experience.

Zahra Malki-Meam and Malik Samuels, watching from a blanket, savored the communal atmosphere and the shared excitement of the eclipse with fellow park-goers. Their decision to bypass the city’s main festivities in favor of a quieter, more natural setting proved to be a memorable choice.

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