Stephan Pastis was supposed to go to Toronto. He did research for the trip but ended up in Montréal.
Pastis is the creator of Pearls Before Swine, which runs in more than 750 newspapers with an estimated 17.6 million readers a day.
He loved his trip so much that on Monday and today, we got the fruits of his time in Montréal.
In today's strip, Pastis proclaims that Montréal makes the best bagels. New York begs to differ on the bagels question.
"When you talk to people about that you're going to Montréal, everybody has the same reaction back where I live (San Francisco area). They go, oh, either 'I've always wanted to go' or 'I've been there and that's the greatest.' " — Stephan Pastis in an interview with 375 MTL.
Pastis ran through a number of food-related items in the interview: Schwartz's and the bagels.
I've done everything Pastis mentioned in Monday's strip. Well, I've walked, not biked, through the Plateau. But Pastis got to do something I still haven't done in Montréal: go to a Canadiens game at the Bell Centre.
Pastis had really good seats, right next to the Habs penalty box. He described being closer to the ice than the guy in the penalty box.
"There are so many great diverse neighborhoods that you could spend a whole day if not the weekend, going to the cafes, going to the bars. That's what I look for in cities. Most big American cities don't have a good walking area. But here you have so many different little neighborhoods. And that's great. That's the kind of thing that would make me want to move to this city. Except for the snow. I understand it snows. So we'll skip the months where it snows." — Stephan Pastis in that 375 MTL interview.
A major piece of advice I give people when they are going to Montréal is to experience downtown and Old Montréal, but then get out to the neighborhoods. Glad to see Pastis took full advantage of that advice.
Pastis described the friendliness of those in Montréal. I have found that to be true. I don't know if his French is better than mine, but assuming it's comparable, you can find similar levels of friendliness in Montréal with a modicum of French.
Having been in San Francisco in December, Je comprend Pastis desire to not be in Montréal during the snow.
We want people to visit Canada, even non-famous people. But we also want all of them, famous and not-famous, to appreciate all that Canada has to offer. I have had a few conversations with people who have visited Montréal, and weren't impressed because, in part, they didn't get to explore outside downtown. Everyone I have spoken to who have gone beyond downtown Montréal loves the city.
Though the United States is a large, diverse country, the country has nothing like Montréal.
In Monday's strip, Pig is very excited about moving to Montréal, mostly for the poutine. Someone should tell Pig about Au Pied de Cochon before he gets to Montréal. Pig would be very welcome there, but perhaps, a bit too welcome.
Darby Conley is perhaps the biggest fan of Canada among comic strip creators. The mastermind of "Get Fuzzy" has had regular shout-outs to Canada. Satchel the dog is from Canada. We're glad to see another comic strip creator join the fold, especially someone as great as Stephan Pastis.
comic strips credit: Pearls Before Swine
video credit: 375 MTL