Subject: Montreal
Hi Ziners,

Midst family duties on my recent visit to Montreal, I visited three places that Ziners would enjoy.

First, the Montreal Botanical Gardens has a large arboretum, huge rose garden (one of the largest in North America), Japanese and Chinese gardens, bonsai, greenhouses, an insectarium and more. Well worth the time. Enter from Sherbrooke Street near the Pie-IX or Viau Metro Stations or from the north side on Rosemont Boulevard (29th avenue). Car parking in the south only. Good birdwatching, evidently. I remember the gardens from my childhood but oh, are they improved! There is also an First Nations garden. Free mini-train with several stops around the grounds and a bilingual (French / English) commentary.

Secondly, Chabanel for bargain-loving shoppers. The garment district showrooms open Saturday mornings from 8:30 until noon or 1 pm and offer amazing bargains. Most take cash only. Staff speak English. Trying on rooms can be rudimentary - a curtain slung across an alcove. My sisters and I visited one where everything was $15 (no tax). Location: near St. Laurent (St. Lawrence) Boulevard, north of the Metropolitan expressway.

Last, Jean-Talon Market. There are several in Montreal, notably a rejuvenated Atwater Market. It had been years since I visited Jean-Talon market and I enjoyed the atmosphere. There was a shop on the west side that specialized in regional Quebec foods, beers, herbs, cosmetics, etc. - Le Marché des saveurs du Quebec (280, Place du marché du nord Marché Jean-Talon) A good place for souvenirs. This shop was open all week, including Sundays. Jean-Talon market is adjacent to Little Italy with good restaurants. Be sure to sample some wonderful Quebec cheese while in Montreal. City website on markets.

Frances Toronto, Canada