We’ve been asked repeatedly, why we were in such a rush to get to Montreal before the summer started? Why not take the entire summer to move so it is less stressful?

One of the reasons for the push for an early/quick move to Montreal was the desire to be in the city for outdoor pool season. The outdoor pool season in Montreal is… well… unparalleled from what I’ve seen in many other cities.

When the “winter clubs” end, the “summer clubs” begin, kids are free to try any aquatic sport they want and compete with other outdoor pools in the spirit of fun. The ranking is based on participation and not necessarily skill (e.g. if you have 25 swimmers competing at a swim meet, you get points for those 25 swimmers).

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It really pulls together communities and is a quick way to meet new people and make friends. There are days when we go by the pool and it is packed with people… cheering swimmers.

On La Niña‘s first day in Montreal, I brought her down to the pool, bought a membership, and put her name on everything they offer (there is no registration or limitations like I’ve seen in other pools — if you want to learn how to swim you show up).

She was immediately put on the synchro team, she has a solo, is diving, wasn’t interested in the swim team, tried Waterpolo (and didn’t like it), and is now taking lifesaving courses. The important thing is she can try different things to see what she likes… and meet people.

She can walk/bike to the pool, which gets her out of the house and meeting new people. Her lifesaving class is full of 10-girls her age and I can’t help but think that these are the future lifeguards for the pool… that’s how quickly it happens.

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In all of this, she has made friends, now knows some of her fall synchro teammates, has met (and is hanging out with) other girls who will be starting high school this year (yes, La Niña is starting high school), and is getting to know the community.

The activities don’t stop here… we bought a family membership, which means we are able to participate in adult events. Yep… adult events. Like, last week was the community camp out, this week is the adult party/barbecue, we participated in the swim-a-thon (La Niña did 115 lengths), and the list goes on.

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I can’t stress how important it is for little girls at this age to figure out the community, settle in, find people, and not go into fall activities cold (school, synchro). There’s also the ominous task of learning French before school starts; happily, we found a tutor in the community but learning a language is not easy.

So, in a nutshell: integration into the community via the summer pool. That was the plan and why we pushed to get here early and not take the entire summer to move.


There is no such thing as an “English school” like we think of it. “English” schools are bilingual… and the opposite of what we’d do in another province. So, the primary language in the school is French with most classes in English.

To help lessen the stress of the switch we put her in an IB program. So she is doing 1/3 French 1/3 English, and 1/3 Spanish. She has three classes in French: Ethics, Social and French. This is not surprising because ethics ties into the French legal system, and she’ll learn French history with social.

French as a class is not like we do in other provinces (obviously). She’s probably at a Grade 2 or 3 level… and is going to Grade 7. This is what we’re most worried about. She’ll go from excelling in French in Alberta to knowing the bare minimum in Quebec.

We’ll have to put her into a FSL program and continue with the tutor so she can keep up.

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