As for sport, Montreal has practically everything. Soccer, brought in since the war by the Germans and Italians, is starting to challenge North American football. There are two professional football teams—the Alouettes of the Eastern Conference of the Canadian Football League and the Beavers of the Continental Football League. Lacrosse, borrowed from the Indians, is making a big comeback as a specifically Quebec pastime, and there is good horse racing at the Blue Bonnets and Richelieu tracks. For the golfer, numerous courses are available, and yachting is a big sport at Lakes St. Louis and St. Francis west of the city.
For fishing, you can go to all points of the compass and do well. South is Lake Memphremagog, a body of water 30 miles long stocked with rainbow and brown trout, landlocked salmon and black bass. To the northeast the most interesting route for the speckled-trout enthusiast is Route 43 in the Laurentian Mountains. The end of the trail for the ardent angler is famous Kanamouche Lodge, with its 30 or more wilderness lakes that offer fabulous trout fishing. Walleyes, bass and giant northern pike can be caught around St. Michel des Saints.
Straight north, along the auto route leading to Ste. Agathe—an hour's drive—you begin reaching additional good fishing country that gets better as you go on to Mont Laurier. Or, best of all, to the Northwest are the wilds of La V�rendrye Park. In the fall there is good deer and moose hunting in the Laurentian region.
But winter is the big time in Montreal. In winter you can always tell when Friday comes. Many office workers load their skis on top of their cars when they go to work. By four in the afternoon the big weekend exodus begins. The auto route north to Ste. Agathe and beyond is the access to a succession of ski runs, large and small, beginning 30 miles from Montreal and extending to Mont Tremblant, a two-hour drive.
Skiers from Toronto and the United States have been coming to the Laurentians now for years. Some 70,000 skiers can hit the slopes for a weekend, and yet few runs are really crowded. It was in the Laurentians that the first rope tow in the world was set up by Alec Foster in 1932. To this day, Foster runs a ski resort just outside Ste. Agathe.
Louis Cochand, former president of the Laurentian Resort Association, says that the greatest concentration of deluxe hotel and motel accommodations in North America is now found in the 40-square-mile ski area to Montreal's north.
But you don't have to go outside Montreal to ski. The interior slopes of Mount Royal swarm with skiers on a winter afternoon or evening, while below them on frozen Beaver Lake old-style skating is in full swing.
Quebec, as the license plates proclaim, is La Belle Province. Montreal, as the French newspaper Le Devoir puts it, is la ville dynamique. They say good Montrealers go to Florida when they retire. In actual fact, few Montrealers ever want to live anywhere but in Montreal.