Alyssa and Neil


A month before Neil’s birthday in November my mom approached me with the perfect birthday gift idea for Neil. She told me a colleague at her work had bought a package to Montreal for the weekend which included round trip Via Rail train tickets from Toronto to Montreal, 2 nights at the Marriot Chateau Champlain, and a scavenger hunt in Old Montreal for the weekend of December 11th-13th. My mom said her work friend could not make the trip that weekend and that she was thinking of buying the package off him to give to Neil for his birthday. I told her right away to get it as Neil would love that gift idea and be so surprised as it happened to fall on his birthday weekend as well.

Little did I know Neil approached my mom when he asked my parents’ permission to marry me as it was then he told them his plan. He gave the package he bought and told my parents to give it to him for his birthday Thursday night, which was a day before we left on Friday. I was ecstatic about this weekend getaway and all month leading up to his birthday I was telling him I would taking him out for a surprise birthday dinner on the Saturday. Neil kept telling how excited he was for this surprise and that he knows me so well that he is guessing I would be taking him to Toronto to our favourite oyster place. He was playing me the whole time! I even told all his close friends and his father about his birthday surprise to Montreal!

On Thursday December 10th, the day before we would leave, Neil came over for his birthday dinner and cake with my family. My mom gave Neil his gift and as I thought, he was shocked and surprised, he couldn’t believe he got such a thoughtful and generous gift! When he realized the trip was for the next day after work, he told me he had to get home ASAP to pack and he left my house that night all excited! The next day after work we left for Montreal.

We settled into the hotel and Neil kept telling me how happy and still in shock he was that we ended up in Montreal so last minute. I was sure I surprised him good. Our scavenger hunt in Old Montreal was scheduled for 3:00pm on Saturday which we were so excited to do the hunt as we love those kinds of activities. We woke up on Saturday and enjoyed the day as we went to Little Italy for espresso and lunch. We then made our way to Old Montreal to experience the Christmas Market they set up. It was really fun and got us in the Christmas spirit as all of Old Montreal was decorated beautifully.

At 2:30 we made our way to the meeting spot to begin our scavenger hunt. From there we met our lovely tour guide who provided us with our questionnaire that had directions to every spot with a corresponding question. Our tour guide let us know that we had to answer 90% of the questions right to win a dinner voucher that could be used that same night. Neil and I took off from there following directions all around Old Montreal to find the clues to answer the questions. Catherine our tour guide was at a few of the checkpoints to make sure we were on the right track and near the end she told us she will be at the final checkpoint waiting for us. We were on the last question, it stated, “Head to City Hall and proceed up the stairs to find an envelope and answer the final question in the envelope”. I was so excited to find this envelope to win the dinner voucher. We spotted city hall as we both raced up the stairs with Neil behind me. I found an envelope with a nice Christmas Ribbon around it. I quickly opened it up as I read the contents inside. It stated, “One last question, turn around….” with our very first picture together below. I instantly was shocked and confused. As I turned around, I saw Neil down on one knee with a gorgeous ring. I couldn’t believe what was happening, what was supposed to be a surprise weekend for Neil, turned out to be the biggest surprise of my life. I was full of emotions, both laughing and crying at the same time, full of excitement. It was then when Neil asked me the final question of our scavenger hunt, and I said YES!!