In life, some people find a connection and a sentimental happy place which is special to them. People automatically feel that sense of belonging to each their own. To me, Montreal and Laval, Quebec is a sentimental and happy place for me. It all began in 2003.
Our Armenian Youth Committee had organized a camping trip in August, 2003, where people from Montreal, Laval Toronto, Mississauga, and other places came to join us for a weekend in Brighton, Ontario, Canada. So I began to meet new people as they started to arrive, first few were from Montreal. Our friendships began instantly its as if we had know each other for a long time. We clicked. There was about 20 people or more who were from there.
I never had friends prior to 2003. I was always bullied and hurt emotionally and mentally by people and it was the worse times ever in my life. When I joined the committee and after leaving the school life behind, life got so much better and made all these friends and was overjoyed with happiness. I couldn’t contain myself. I always thought that I would never have friends until I went to this camping trip. It changed my life forever. I went through so much emotions and I felt so left out, but then everything turned around a whole 360 degrees. It was amazing.
Soon after our camping trip happened, I made a trip to Montreal a couple of months later to visit our newly made friends. I remember they all came to see me at my hotel. we were about 15 to 20 people. So we went out to eat and made great and fond memories. Since then I have driven to Montreal countless amounts of times from Toronto. the drive is so awesome and I always have had great memories in Montreal. Not one bad one.
At one point I had about 30 people visit me at my hotel room just to come and see me. I felt this strong sense of belonging. best feeling ever. We all went out with several cars and they all came for me.
I started to become fans of the NHL team there like the Montreal Canadiens, and started to become obsessed and attached. The restaurants, the areas, streets, and all the amazing times and memories all around the city and suburbs. One of my favourite places is the St Joseph’s Oratory which is in Mont-Royal. I always feel at peace there and I feel refreshed. You can see it in various areas around the city and from Laval too from highways and streets.
I always like to visit the Armenian churches there and see the priests and the others I know who work at the community centres. They love it when I come to visit. I have actually surprised people a few times. Its an awesome feeling when they get excited to see me too.
So many of my friends there said, Talin you know more on how to get around Montreal and Laval than we do. My passion grew that much.
In around 2006 to 2009, I had made Facebook friends from Montreal and Laval areas. So, I began to expand my connections in Montreal even further. I met many new friends and know so many people there now. I remember going to Armenian festivals and other gatherings and parties and there were people who recognized me through social media and they stopped to talk to me and say hello. It felt so amazing.
At one point, I wanted to move to Montreal, but the only barrier was that I don’t really understand French that well. I just know the basics, but It is not far from Toronto, so I can go anytime. I still keep in touch with my friends and we never lost that connection. It has almost been 20 years. Its been amazing.
After COVID19 is over with, we plan on having a big reunion and gathering. I can’t wait for that.
My sentimental views of Montreal even became closer to me. I was there a lot more then I was here in Toronto from 2003-2012. Then for a couple of years I couldn’t go visit as much, but then began again in 2015 for events, weddings and Armenian festivals and up to this day.
A lot of people have asked me why I love Highway 401 East and the Autoroute 20 going toward Montreal, its because its not so much the road, its the connection to my friends there and the city, the restaurants and so much more. Well, now you know.
I will always continue to keep driving down and enjoy the whole process of the connections I made. I am so blessed, thankful, and appreciate them all. They will always be in my life and my heart. I love them very much. I can’t wait to spend more time there as soon as the pandemic goes away.