After my wonderful cheerful meeting in the Square St. Louis I briefly went back to the hotel and then took the subway to the exit at Jean Drapeau Park. There are two big islands in the St. Lawrence River: Ile Notre-Dame and Ile Sainte-Helene. The latter more than doubled in size in preparation for Expo 1967. From the Park Jean Drapeau metro station I took local bus 167 to get to La Ronde, an amusement park initially set up for Expo 67. I had a ticket for tonight’s international fireworks competition which was going to be held at La Ronde, and so I needed to go and pick it up in the info counter.
Although I am not much of a gambler I wished to take a look at this complex since it is one of the major attractions in Park Jean Drapeau.
I arrived by bus in the cellar of the Casino, entered and dropped off my backpack at the coatcheck. Through a maze of escalators and walks I browsed my way upstairs to the front entrance where Alexandre, among the customer service specialists in the Casino, was already waiting for me personally. He would supply me with a personalized tour of this grand complex and supply me with additional details about the Casino’s operations.
We went outside and Alexandre informed me the Casino complex consists of three buildings: the former France Pavilion, the former Quebec Pavilion, both assembled for Expo 1967, along with the Annex, joining the two buildings. The Quebec Pavilion features top-to-bottom 24 karat this casino blog link gold windows. The gardens surrounding the Casino are open to Casino patrons and the whole complex is surrounded by the tracks for the Montreal Grand Prix.
Alexandre began to take me through the buildings and explained that the Casino has about 3500 employees, working in three shifts, twenty-four hours a day. He first took me to the Cabaret du Casino, a prime entertainment venue offering stunning variety shows and colourful musical reviews. Patrons can purchase a bundle which includes dinner or benefit from the show by itself.
Then he took me through the whole multi storey complex and introduced me to the various games of chance available. The Casino de Montreal featues more than 3200 slot machines of different kinds, 115 gaming tables for Blackjack, Baccarat, Roulette, Keno and also a number of tournaments. Alexandre clarified that several of the slot machines no longer have a mechanical barrel, but that they’re video slot machines using an electronic display. The Casino also offers a Royal Ascot electronic horse racing track together with a high-limits gaming area and lounge.
Alexandre clarified that the Quebec government has a monopoly on gambling in the state along with the funds return into provincial infrastructure and public services. When we walked through the many buildings he told me that the Old France Pavilion building features a European design, reminiscent of casinos such as Monte Carlo, that let in daylight generously. The prior Quebec Pavilion on the other hand has a North American design with absolutely no sunlight. Alexandre indicated that the clientele in the two different buildings is quite distinct and that folks have a taste for one or the other form of layout.
My skilled guide also prepared me the prevalence of gaming addiction is clearly going down and the Casino de Montreal has specific programs to prevent and deal with gambling addiction. The Casino’s 285 investigators not only monitor and investigate fraud, in addition they ensure that people that are part of the self-exclusion database do not get use of the Casino.
On our walk through his wide-ranging complex Alexandre pointed out an onsite division of the Banque Nationale, the sole bank in Canada that’s open for 24 hours. Here patrons can change cash in 16 monies. A free shuttle bus provides transportation to the Casino from four pickup places in downtown Montreal and makes it easy for out of town guests to enjoy a night of gambling excitement.
But of course, a high-intensity activity like betting could make you hungry and the Casino features five bars and eateries: the Italian Bistro Via Fortuna with incredibly pretty prices, the Buffet La Bonne Carte, L’entre-mise Deli, and the Nuances Gourmet Restaurant. Four bars, La rotonde, Le carr, Le jardin d’hiver and Le cheval round out the hospitality offerings.
The highlight of the evening was yet to come: as it was getting close to 9 pm and I had not eaten dinner yet, I’d have the opportunity to sample a gourmet meal in the Nuances Restaurant, accentuated with a great sunset as well as a magnificent view of downtown Montreal across the St. Lawrence River. An exceptional dining experience was expecting me.