We're finally home after three or four days in Quebec City, which we found charming, and another three or four in Lenox, Massachusetts, taking in some comedy and tragedy at Shakespeare and Company, a resident troupe there. I didn't want too many days to go by without thanking you again for the wonderful job you did as host for Lynn and me. You could not have been more kind or more helpful than you were, and I wanted you to know how much we appreciated it. It was our first experience in Canada and one that set the tone for our entire vacation. The fruitcake was a bonus, and we'll think of you fondly each time we savor a piece.
With all best wishes,
George William Myers
July 11, 2011
Dear Ken, the memories of my last Montreal trip are laced with good flavors provided by your cool hospitality and brotherly personality. Seeing you and your son in motion was supremely colorful. Thanks for the stellar breakfasts, cake, jokes, and direction.
The attached is a bio of Brebeuf that I wrote in greener years, yet nevertheless will provide you with some neat facts. Stay very, very well.
With good wishes,
eliza and i are back in cyprus. actually we have been home for about a month now. as soon as we got back things instantly got very busy. i have been meaning to send you a note to say thank you once again for a lovely stay. we really enjoyed ourselves in your home, especially the food and the conversation. you truly made us feel very welcome.
it was wonderful to see the city again after 18 years or so. i still love it and eliza also understands now what i have been on about all these years.
i hope you continue on the positive path of living your dreams. if you ever wish to come out for a visit let me know. until next time.
I'm so pleased that my family got to meet you and experience your hospitality. I regret my Father not staying with you... But I am so happy he got to enjoy your company and marvelous food with my cousins Carl and Marilyn. Thank you for the delicious gift of the Fruit Cake. I love the fact that there are not little amorphous bits of this and that in the cake but rather fruits and nuts you can really identify and taste! Will it really last for 2 years in a cool dark place???
I am glad to hear that you are going full steam ahead with your new enterprise but, alas, sorry to hear that you are closing your B&B. How is your Julian doing? And your daughter? I hope all is well with you and your family. We are hoping that our son Julian gets into McGill. We miss our tri -annual Canadian Adventures!
Best wishes in your Fruit Cake Business!
Thank you again for the lovely cake,
Linda and Webb
Back in Belgium and back to work and school for a week. We have been very tired after our 10-days visit in New York and Montréal.
But what a fantasic journey we had and the visit in Montréal was fantastic thanks to you and your hospitality. Thank you for everything and thank you for the breakfeasts together with Christoffer, we really appreciated that we had that time together!
We are still dreaming of your fantastic breakfeast and Caroline wants to have your recepy hove to make croissants: We live in the middle of the European "croissantcountries" (Belgium and France) and yours are the best we ever have had!
Good luck with your buisness with your fruitcakes!
Christina, Josefine and Caroline
Thank you, once again, for hosting our vist so warmly and tastefully.
Mustapha and I were delighted to discover your 'sideline' and look forward to sharing your bejewelled treat with friends and family ... might we begin with a box of six for the ceremony on October 10?
Looking forward to your news, with thanks and best wishes,
Home now, recovering from trip to Taipei. Just finished 6 mile walk on the C&O canal along the Potomac River and picked our raspberries. Just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful stay, your time, your suggestions, your hospitality, your excellent food, dinner at the Tibetan place. We really had a nice time. Dont forget our inviation to come to Charles Town. Plenty of day trips from here or hang out in Jefferson County.
One suggestion; while I was able to check in and get through customs relatively quickly w/ a 1st class ticket, Diana spent nearly 3 hours going through the process. Fortunately we planned our trip to the airport based on my departure time; she needed every bit of three hours. Many folks around her were missing their flights. Could be we hit the airport at a particularly bad hour but you may want to advise your guests that they could need three hours; at least if the US is their destination. Seemed to me the problem was US Border Control.
Jim and Diana
From both of us, we had a wonderful time in Montreal, thanks in large part to your warm hospitality, delicious breakfasts, helpful information and advice, and family atmosphere around your dining table with your other friendly and interesting guests. Tomorrow when I’m back in my office, I’m going to write an enthusiastic review of your B&B and post it on your website. Meanwhile, we send our happy regards, and we genuinely hope that you will look us up anytime you’re near our part of the world.
Lilian & George Cheah
Ken - thanks so much for your hospitality. You made our stay in Montreal even more enjoyable. What a great host you are! Those breakfasts were awesome. Your hospitality, the delicious breakfasts, and the good conversation around the breakfast table every morning are what inspires us to search out a B&B and what makes a visit with you a memorable experience. You are at the top of our list!
Charles and Marion Hailey. Detroit, Michigan. July 2007
"We have stayed with Ken at the BB B&B on a few occasions, most recently with our two teenage daughters during the Easter long weekend. The Sunset room accomodated us very comfortably and the shared bathroom between the two separete rooms was a real convenience. As always the breakfasts were fabulous and filling. Ken ia a gracious host who knows the local area and City well and has pointed us in the right direction on more than one occasion. The BB offers excellent value and a true flavour of the Plateau area, Montreal's most vibrant locale. For us, its the only place we would consider in Montreal."
TIM & GAIL DICKSON, CALEDON, ONTARIO, April 2007
Just want to thank you for a wonderful weekend two weeks ago. You were so attentive to Jill and I throughout our stay. It was just great. We came home with lots of fun memories and a desire to return as soon as possible. Montreal is such a beautiful city, and offers so much to explore. Besides your lovely city, your breakfasts were just delicious... and the wonderful combination of hospitality and an outstanding meal, made for a fantastic start to the day.
We certainly are looking forward to returning and enjoying your beautiful Montreal in the near future.
Judy and Jill from Woodstock, Vermont. March 2007
Just wanted to thank you for your hospitality, your yummy breakfasts, and your company this past weekend! I dearly miss Montreal and am jealous that you have it so good!
Anthony & Adria, Passaic,New Jersey. July 2006
It is almost exactly a year since we stayed with you and I was thinking
about our trip and how much we enjoyed our time with with you, so I thought
that I would tell you!
The place that found for us in Quebec city was excellent with a very nice
young couple running it. It was a grand stone house just behind the
Chateau Fronteac and was built by the founder of the Canadian Pacfic
The young man was brought up in the house and it still had all his parents
and grandparents furniture which gave it a very homely atmosphere. Good
breakfasts ( but not as good as yours) worth recommending to others.
I should have told you thus a year ago but better late than never.
We explored around quebec and the went north of Montreal to stay in a cabin
with my cousins and saw a bear - so I am now a real canadian with my own
I am stil looking for the missing Bissonnets in Canada and If we come back
to look for more we would love to stay again
Best wishes to yourself and your children.
David and Jo Bissonnet,UK. April 2006
Hope you are well. Thanks again so much for a wonderful time, in fact it was so wonderful that you really spoilt us for the rest of the holiday! Quebec was fine and the accommodation was very nice, but you weren't there and we really missed you - we kept saying "oh lovely view, but I do miss Ken". Sad maybe, but you have a special talent of making people feel so at home and totally comfortable. We felt as though we were staying at a friend's home, and that is really such a credit to you. We will definitely be back to stay in the Jarvis suite again, just keep it ready for us! (selected from a longer text)
Louise XXX, Rochester, Kent, UK August 2005
I checked the website and I see you have availability for the weekend October 28,29.
We stayed with you exactly 3 years ago (almost exactly) My husband will be working in Rigaud at the customs college. Do you remember us? This time we will be bringing our 3 year old son with us if that is acceptable. The biggest room would be best for us. 2 nights beginning Friday the 28th. We would be a late arrival as I will be driving in from Windsor.
Thank you in advance. We so enjoyed our trip to Montreal last time and would love to stay with you because it was like having our own private tour guide because you were such a help with the metro and restaurants!!!!!
Hope to see you in the fall.
Lea Seguin, Windsor,On. August 2005
This is an experience that everybody should have!
We felt as if we were staying with family right away. The accommodations were welcoming, spacious, clean, and aesthetically pleasing. Our host was gracious, personable and well-informed. At breakfast, we had interesting and fun conversations with him, the kids and, or, other guests. We stayed a week and left feeling as if we had left good friends behind. Breakfasts were superb! Every morning we were served a different and healthy gourmet meal. It literally lasted us all day, in time to enjoy a light dinner at one of the many and varied restaurants that you can find in the area. Ken’s B&B is located in possibly the trendiest locale in Montreal. We could walk to most places, had the metro nearby and parks and trendy stores at five to ten minutes walking distance. This was our first experience staying at a B&B. It showed us that with less expense you can have all the comforts of a hotel and none of the impersonality that goes along with that type of traveling. We had the feeling that we really got to see Montreal and were invited to share in a slice of life of a charming Quebecois family.
Alicia & John, Minniapolis, April 2005
The Rough Guide to Montreal
Second Edition by Arabella Bowen and John Shandy Watson
Accommodation: Bed and breakfasts (page 140)
BOULANGER BASSIN B&B
The chatty owner of this B&B on the cycle path just north of Parc Lafontaine knows the Plateau neighbourhood well and will offer plenty of advice over extravagant breakfasts like eggs Benedict with a smoothie starter, served next to the goldfish pond in the garden. The three bright and colourful rooms are simple but nicely furnished with a few quirky touches and all have private bath. Kids under twelve stay free.
Joie de vivre on two wheels
BY EGLE PROCUTA, MONTREAL
With the last traces of daylight fading away, 6,000 cyclists gathered last June at Montreal’s Parc de la Lafontaine, a couple of blocks from the tony boutiques of rue St-Denis. In typical Montreal fashion, there was plenty of laughter among perfect strangers. Summer Salsa oozed from loudspeakers. And finally, just after 9 p.m., the starter’s countdown ran out, and we were off. This was my initiation into the FERIA du velo, an annual bike festival that starts today and runs until June 6, and ignites the urban island with activities for cyclists of all ages and abilities. And the dozens of participants I met-from all over Quebec, from New York and even from Milan-confirmed that Montreal is their favourite biking city in North America.The appetizer of my FERIA weekend was an event called Un Tour la Nuit, a 20-kilometre nocturnal course through closed-off streets in residential and commercial neighbourhoods in the east end. It’s a ride, not a race, so after the initial burst, everyone settled into his or her own rhythm. The course was impeccably organized, with clearly marked routes and loads of friendly volunteers. En route, children clutching ice-cream cones ran along the sidewalks and cheered. Grandparents watched from Montreal’s trademark outdoor staircases, calling out encouragement; Vas-y! Lachez pas! (Come on! Don’t give up!) Firefighters on rue Sainte-Catherine had set up an invigorating spray station. And there were no impatient drivers anywhere. The highlight for me was crossing from the decrepit grandiosity of Olympic Stadium into the Botanical Gardens and their darkened grounds. We swept through the lush, sweet-scented foliage like fireflies, the route illuminated only by fluorescent twist-ties riders had used to decorate their spokes and handlebars, and by the thousands of flickering red helmet-lights given to each participant. I’m not much more than a leisure cyclist, so the next morning my body was telling me that the ride was a shade more than what it was used to. It was so tempting to retreat under the duvet in my room at the Gite Boulanger bassin, the bed and breakfast where I was staying, just minutes from the Parc de la Lafontaine but the smell of fresh-baked pain au chocolat wafting up from the kitchen snapped me out of sleeping-in mode. Innkeeper Ken Ilasz, a former Toronto filmmaker, had also trained as a pastry chef and his breakfast spreads would be right at home in Gourmet magazine: homemade Belgian waffles under Cézanne-like display of fresh fruit; croque-monsieur dripping with three cheeses; chewy St-Viateur bagels that Ilasz picked up at 6 a.m. (By bike of course) topped with his own gravlax. And as many cups of steaming espresso as you can take. In short, perfect fuel for another day of cycling.The B&B was located, right on one of the city’s main bike paths, an enviable urban network that criss-crosses the city with two-way lanes separated from road traffic by a raised curb.. Imagine cycling through the heart of a metropolis with no worry of car doors flattening you like a bug on a windshield. Knowing that the next day I would tackle the FERIA pièce de résistance–a 45-kilometre tour of the island that brings 30,000 cyclists on a different course each year-I decided to spend a relaxing day exploring the bike paths along the Lachine Canal. In fact, this is where the 2000 edition of the Tour de l'Ile – celebrating it’s 20th anniversary – takes place on June 6. Within 15 minutes (and following a pit stop for picnic fare at Olive & Gourmando, a favourite bakery-café in Old Montreal), I was rolling along the canal. This once run-down industrial neighbourhood has undergone a remarkable renaissance, with modern lofts and studios now overlooking the tranquil waterway. Behind me, I could see Montreal skyline. But bearing straight ahead, passing through two rows of poplars, I was transported to rural France. It was like cycling into the beloved Elliot Erwitt photograph of the bereted father cycling down a lane with a little boy riding behind, a baguette under his arms. Snapping our of this reverie and back into the 21st century, I realized I had already arrived at the Atwater Market, where there was all the triple-cream brie, croissants and picholine olives I could eat. The great thing about getting ready for a 45-kilometre ride is how easy it is to justify the extra calories. Get packing.
For more information visit www.velo.qc.ca
Hello from Tim and Jane in Victoria
Dear Ken.....Read the Saturday Globe and saw the article about cycling in Montreal and the mention of your great B&B! Hope it doesn't go to your head and raise the prices! We hope to return to Montreal in the fall for another visit with Matt and will contact you later.
Hope all is well with you and the kids, and that you have a great summer!
We stayed with you when last in Montreal and it was fun to see the write-up in the Globe and Mail re your B&B. I am sending it to our son, Peter, in San Diego who was with us at the time. Fond memories for us.
Hope all goes well with you and your children (who are growing up at this stage).
Dorothy (and Pierre) Pelletier in Vancouver BC
Thank you once again Ken for your most generous and wonderful hospitality
creating a restful oasis for us in the heart of Montreal. Your breakfasts
were so splendidly gourmet, tasty, delish and memorable and your efforts
therein are much appreciated. Our taste buds are giving you a standing
ovation. As well as all your kindness and caring and great tips and
suggestions, you spoiled us immensely. It was a most pleasant and warm
experience thanks to you.
Bill & Sharon, Toronto, May 10 2005
Montreal, a multi-cultural mix with an authentic feel of urban art and European sensibilities, feels so alluring and so gratifying at once. And the heart of Montreal starts at Ken's B&B: unpretentious and welcoming, with irreverent humor and a real generosity of the spirit. Stay here. Start feeling it here. Be blown away by the legendary morning feast (the word "breakfast' doesn't describe it), get to know Ken, Julian and Elizabeth and ready yourself for what this city, and its inhabitants, are ready to offer: intelligent company, cozy dwellings, and a whole lot of really good food.