The Billy Bulletin appears every Thursday with news about travel and the cities we cover, to help our readers and passengers navigate the week ahead.
This week in Billy-land: Open doors, blue aliens, metal crystals, and people drinking on planes …
The city will likely be in the grips of Obamamania this week as former U.S. president Barack Obama – now plying the public speaking circuit, like so many other retired politicians – pays a visit. As the Montreal Gazette reports, POTUS 44 will address the Montreal Chamber of Commerce for one of Montreal’s many 375th birthday celebrations. Tickets to hear the speech are sold out, but see the sponsor list here to see if you might know someone with a spare one (good luck!).
Meanwhile, the McCord Museum is free to enter during the whole month of June. The McCord focuses on the city’s history, and Montreal visitors and admirers ought to invest a couple of hours checking it out at least once. If you’ve never been, now’s the time – and don’t miss the exhibition on the fashion of Expo ’67.
One last Montreal thing: The municipal party Projet Montréal now officially wants to add the so-called Pink Line to the Montreal Metro, the CBC reports. The new subway line, with an estimated cost of $6 billion, would run northeast from the city centre, crossing through the Plateau to reach Montreal North and other residential areas.
Bonjour, ligne rose!
This weekend, the annual Doors Open event flings open the entrances to spaces usually restricted or blocked to the public, so that we can go and gawk in the great indoors. The capital city’s list of participants includes the Canada Aviation and Space Museum’s reserve hangar. Neato.
Also has a Doors Open this weekend. We’d be lining up to snoop around the Canadian Border Service Agency’s marine training centre.
This news bulletin is meant to share the talk of some of the towns we cover. However, in the case of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, the 10th anniversary is going by without much talk at all.
The jagged protrusion, an addition to Toronto’s largest museum, opened on June 2, 2007. It had its defenders at the time, and must have them still, but for the most part Torontonians have never warmed to its cold edges. The museum itself recently announced that it will reopen the old, more conventional-looking Queen’s Park entrance by September. In the context of a 10th anniversary whizzing by without recognition, the announcement feels like a snub for Ol’ Pointy.
Royal Ontario Museum
Crystal, crystal burning bright
In other Toronto glass news, a panel fell off the city’s Trump Tower (again).
What’s the most famous dorm room in America? The Boston Globe reports says it’s Mark Zuckerberg’s old Harvard residence room – you know, the one in which he hate-programmed the prototype for Facebook – which has become a pilgrimage destination, to the amusement of the students who come and go and make it their humble home.
Travellers from Newark Liberty International Airport, heads up: The “summer of hell” at Penn Station that was predicted to last six weeks has now been rescheduled for eight gruelling weeks. (Pending further updates, of course.) All aboard!
Adam McDowell / Billy
Welcome to hell
Also in New York, on Saturday June 3, the Flatiron Eataly is holding a pasta-fest from 1 to 5 p.m. (also: negronis!). See details at Eataly New York’s Facebook page.
Remember Avatar? James Cameron’s 2010 sci-fi flick was the biggest-grossing film of all time, and yet – as John Semley observes in the Globe and Mail – seven years later it’s barely spoken of in popular culture. Weird. Anyway, one place Avatar is still a hot topic is at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, where Pandora: World of Avatar is the big new attraction. Despite reservations about Disney and the source material, Semley admits to some excitement: “All one can do is hold fast to their banshee, cackle like a fool and try in earnest not to take the Lord’s name in vain.”
Steven Diaz / The Walt Disney Company
The Avatar attraction is in three dimensions, just like the movie!
Speaking of Florida mouse-related news, a University of Florida molecular genetics professor got stopped by airport security for carrying a 3D printout of a mouse penis in his luggage. We have nothing to add about that.
Finally, in airborne drink news, Business Insider reveals, in this video, some reasons why tomato juice tastes good to some people while they’re aloft. Cabin pressure numbing your sense of taste has something to do with it.
Meanwhile, Condé Nast Traveler asked a question that hadn’t occurred to us for quite a while: What is the drinking age while in flight? The answer depends on the airline, with the general pattern being that the company observes the legal age in the carrier’s home jurisdiction – so, 21 years old for U.S. airlines, 20 for Scandinavian ones, and so on. Air Canada, based in Montreal, officially enforces its home province’s age of 18, but makes exceptions on international flights where there’s parental permission involved. As Condé Nast puts it, Air Canada “just wants everyone to have a good flight.”