Following a special 1899 Canadian edition of his Appleton's guide, Michael Portillo has left the United States and crossed the border to embark on the next leg of his rail journey in Canada.
In the vibrant metropolis of Montreal, he discovers how French and British colonial roots have influenced the city's construction, cuisine and culture. Undaunted by his guidebook's description of the treacherous Lachine Rapids, Michael gets a thorough soaking on a white-knuckle boat ride down the St. Lawrence River.
At the city's prestigious McGill University, Michael learns of its role as a pioneering medical establishment in the 19th century. He unearths a mausoleum amidst the text books and volunteers as a guinea pig at the university's cutting-edge neurology department. In search of the city's black Canadian heritage, Michael is introduced to the dazzling piano playing of 20th-century jazz legend Oscar Peterson.
His Montreal tour ends with a visit to Cirque du Soleil HQ for a very special behind-the-scenes tour of an icon of modern French-Canadian culture.