Montreal is a city bursting with festivals during the packed summer season and a highlight that delivers a bang twice a week, from June to August, is the Lotto Quebec International Fireworks Competition (L’International des Feux). The competition has many Montrealers lined up with their lawn chairs along the Notre Dame highway (it’s closed off to traffic, people – we’re brave here, but safety has it’s limits) or gathered on blankets at the newly opened urban beach or even crammed on the Jacques Cartier bridge and at La Ronde theme park for a good look at the colors that light up our night sky.
For those of us who prefer to be a little more comfortably seated with a case of our favorite wine to watch each country vie for the title of biggest bang, there is only one place to go; the rooftop terrace of Taverne Gaspar in Old Montreal. Perched atop L’Auberge du Vieux-Port, a quaint hotel on de la Commune, the Taverne Gaspar terrace has proven to be the best vantage point to either have the greatest backdrop to a conversation (ever!) or to just a great place to grab a glass of wine and watch those colorful pyrotechnics bursting in air.
The restaurant itself, located street level on de la Commune, boasts a fine menu of savory food, delicious wines, and of course, the Taverne Gaspar lager (if you haven’t tried it, you should – you really should). If you happen to be at the Taverne this Saturday, head up to the terrace for a night cap and see what Italy has to offer.
The following Tuesday the United States will give us their best and on August 3rd, it’s the big finale – a tribute to the band, Queen. Last week while seated with some friends on the rooftop while Greece gave a spectacular show, a couple of Americans commented that they couldn’t believe that we do this every year. They get July 4th once a year, and we get an entire summer of explosive entertainment.
My friends and I smiled proudly, that’s just how it’s done in Montreal.
(Hint: Most of the terrace has a grand view but if you can get a seat towards the north east side, you may just have the best seats in the house – just don’t steal my spot. It could get ugly!)