2014 Canadian Grand Prix Trip Report

Lou Johnson travelled from the UK to the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.  Here’s her report.

All photos © Lou Johnson Photography

As Formula 1 races go, it’s not often you hear someone say a bad word about the Canadian Grand Prix. Which is why when a group of friends and I were discussing attending a race in 2014 we couldn’t think of a better race to go to. Montreal is a fabulous city, with a lovely mix of historic and modern architecture. I would recommend arriving before the Grand Prix weekend, so you can really explore all the beauty and culture of the city. We arrived on the Tuesday before the race, which gave us enough time.

By Thursday, F1 fever had well and truly taken over, with chequered flags and F1 memorabilia everywhere. Crescent Street was taken over by a large festival, old F1 cars, simulators, and a main stage for DJs, driver interviews etc. It’s an incredible atmosphere, but it can get a little crowded. If you’re not one for street parties, I recommend heading to Old Montreal. It’s a beautiful area of the city, with lovely restaurants, pubs and cafes and is often a little less crowded and more relaxed compared to the parties of Crescent Street. Whatever your preference, there is somewhere for you in Montreal!

Getting to the circuit from the centre of town is easy, you can just hop on the Montreal Subway system and head to Jean-Drapeau Metro station, which stops just outside the track. You can buy a 3 day metro pass from most stations which makes it even easier.

The race weekend really starts on the Thursday in Montreal, with pitwalks, and driver autograph sessions, I’d recommend getting there early to ensure you don’t have to queue for long! We spent Friday wondering round some of the General Admission areas, there are some great places to get photos and a clear view of the cars. Over the rest of the weekend we sat in Grandstand 11, we paid $449 Canadian dollars for the weekend, and it’s situated at turn 1, with great views down the pit straight.

One small point to highlight about this grandstand is the long walk to get to it from the entrance, so leave enough time to get to your seats if you’re sat near there. The grandstands at the circuit are essentially metal benches, rather than a specific seat, which means they can be a little uncomfortable and cramped, especially in the heat – but it’s worth it!

In total, our trip was 12 day long, but I wish it could have been longer. Not only is Montreal a beautiful city, but the locals are so welcoming and friendly. It’s a lovely travel destination, even without the Grand Prix, we even had time to hop on a short flight to Toronto to explore there too. We stayed in an AirBnB apartment while in Montreal and I’d definitely recommend doing the same if you’re travelling with a group of friends, and not just because can it be cheaper.

Would you recommend a trip to the Canadian Grand Prix?

Definitely! The atmosphere’s brilliant, both on and off the track. It’s so easy to access on public transport, and you almost always get a thrilling race to watch. The Canadian Grand Prix, if it isn’t already, should be on everyone’s F1 bucket list, I’d love to go again.

Any tips for fellow fans?

Even though we were very lucky with the weather, (no 4 hour rain delays that year!), we still experienced the changeable Montreal conditions, definitely always bring a poncho or light raincoat – just in case! Oh and pack sun lotion and a hat, it can be pretty hot too!

Read more about visiting Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in our comprehensive Canadian Grand Prix Travel Guide!

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