>> Montreal <<
|The biggest city in the province of Quebec, Montreal blends the old with the new. Whether it be the vibrant nightlife, the sightseeing attractions, the diverse dining, the extensive outdoor activities or the excellent and affordable shopping, the Island of Montreal has most everything a foreign visitor could look for.
What to See
Mount Royal is an extinct volcano overlooking the city offering long walks, Conga sessions in the summer, bicycle paths, cross-country skiing in the winter and is an ideal location for a picnic on a sunny day. The "mountain" offers some ideal vistas over the city of Montreal from many different angles.
Ste-Catherine's is Montreal's main drag offering great shopping, restaurants and strip clubs a plenty. At night, the street comes alive with everyone seeking a little bit of fun on and around Ste-Catherine's. Many of the side streets just off Ste-Catherine's have excellent bars if you are looking for somewhere to revel the night away. Crescent and Bishop streets are particularly good.
or Old Montreal
The oldest part of Montreal and the tourist hub, Vieux Montreal dates back to the 1700s when the first settlers started to found what is now a vibrant Metropolis. In the Old part of town you'll be able to visit the Basilique Notre-Dame, the old port, Place Jacques Cartier, Notre-Dame de Bonsecours, Marché Bonsecours, the Hotel-de-Ville and stroll along Rue St-Paul and many of the other quaint cobbled streets.
In the neighbourhood you'll find cafes, souvenir shops, excellent restaurants, art galleries and lively bars. Visit the Deux-Pierrots for some live music.
Just off the Place D'Armes, where a fierce battle between the French and the Iroquois Nations took place, is the Basilique Notre-Dame.
Montreal's most beautiful church is located in the old part of town and as the city grew and the need for a larger church became apparent, churchwardens agreed in 1823 to new plans. The protestant architect James O'Donell from New York was brought in and the new Notre-Dame was completed in 1829.
Of particular interest in the church is the slight downward slope of the aisle to the intricate altar and mural below. The more modern Chapel Sacre Coeur located at the back of the church is also worth a visit. It was rebuilt in the early 1980s after a fire destroyed the older chapel dated from the late 19th century. Find out more on Notre-Dame at www.basiliquenddm.org
and the New
Before you move on from the Basilique, take a look to the east of the church to see a copy of New York's Empire State Building, the Aldred building.
Next door is the New York Life Insurance building, it was the first skyscraper in the city and the first to have an elevator in Montreal.
Old Port -
Once among the most important ports in North America, the Old Port promenade on the waters' edge in Old Montreal is a popular choice among visitors. You can go to the IMAX theatre, take a tour boat, roller blade or just people watch.
Notre-Dame de Bonsecours
In the eastern part of the old city and on the waterfront, Notre-Dame de Bonsecours was founded in the 17th century and is also referred to as "the Sailors Church". The statue on the roof faces out to the St Lawrence, further emphasising its strong maritime relationship. Strongly associated with the work and teachings of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the chapel also double hats as a museum nowadays. There is an entrance fee but the views of the Old Port, the paintings and many model ships in the church make it worth your while.
Find out more at www.marguerite-bourgeoys.com
McGill University is one of Canada's best known universities. The campus is located in the heart of downtown and was home to Captain Kirk, William Shatner, at one point in time. A quick stroll around the Campus and surrounding "Ghetto" will give you a good feel to the University.
Just to the east of the University campus is the McGill ghetto, so called because of the number of students, or should we say partiers, living in the area, giving the neighbourhood a distinctly bohemian feel.
St Mary Queen
of the World
The cathedral located on Rene Levesque boulevard is a scale replica of St-Peter's Basilica in Rome
. Make no mistake though, the Cathedral is huge with beautiful ceilings, excellent paintings, an intricate altar and an impressive exterior. It was completed in the late 19th century and includes a Baptistery and three chapels.
The Plateau Mont-Royal is a central area spanning from St-Laurent boulevard to St-Denis and Sherbrooke in the south to Mont-Royal street in the north, where many students, artists and trend setters live and go out. The area has undergone gentrification over the last few years and this can be seen in the diverse cafes, restaurants and bars on offer to accommodate a variety of tastes from the chic eatery to the noisy, dingy bar.
St-Joseph's, next to Mont-Royal, is a large modern Oratory giving great views of the Eastern part of Montreal from the top of the steps. The story of the Oratory began in 1904 when construction on a chapel was started. The Oratory was finally completed in 1967. Saint-Joseph is the patron Saint of Canada but as many of you will know was Mary's husband and Jesus' father.
During the annual pilgrimage to the Oratory, many disadvantaged or physically challenged visitors climb up the hundreds of steps on their knees in the hope that the reputed healing powers of Brother Andre will be bestowed upon them.
La Ronde is the largest amusement park on the island of Notre Dame.
Casino de Montreal
Need we say more! More details can be found at www.casino-de-montreal.com
Built for the 1976 Olympics, the Olympic stadium is located in the eastern part of town and has the biodome next door.
The Biodome is an indoor collection of 4 different ecosystems that has been replicated around the world. It is located near the Olympic Stadium on the east side of the city. You can find more info on the Biodome by clicking here
. This site also contains links to the Insectarium and the Planetarium.
Depending on the time of year, this garden offers displays of world-class quality. Find more information by clicking here
What to Do
With low prices, many shopping centres, Ste-Catherine's Street, St-Denis Street and side streets from both of these, Montreal has some great shopping. Remember that the federal and provincial taxes added on to the price at the point of purchase.
For luxury go to Holt Renfrew on Sherbrooke St. or Ogilvy on Ste-Catherine. For general stuff, go to the Eaton Centre, corner McGill and Ste-Catherine or stroll up and Down St-Denis or Ste-Catherine's.
Sports, Arts &
Spend an evening cheering the most successful hockey team in history, the Canadiens, at the Bell Centre or catch the Alouettes scoring a touchdown.
Take a walk on Mount Royal
Great views over the entire city are available at the top and while on your way up, you can feed a few chipmunks and squirrels. If you are into drumming, percussions and all-things bohemian, you can enjoy the Tam Tams on Mount-Royal on Sunday afternoons during the summer. It is an impromptu gathering of Montreal's most avid drummers, dancers and sun-seekers. The crowd dance to the beat created by dozens of drummers through the afternoon. Bear in mind that the gatherings take place in summer and are weather permitting. You can find out more on these gatherings at - www.montrealtamtam.com
While in Old Montreal, take a ride on a "Caleche" or horse carriage. The drivers are friendly and extremely knowledgeable about the history of the city. It's a great way to have a guided tour of the old town.
Situated in the Laurentians about 1.5 hours away from town by car, this ski resort can accommodate a host of tastes including skiing in winter, walking in summer, tennis, swimming or just go to the top for magnificent views of the Laurentians.
The ski resort has some of the best skiing in the area and certainly can claim to be the best resort in the Laurentians. There is a small village at the bottom of the slopes where visitors can rent equipment, have a drink or a bite to eat, go shopping or just walk around and visit the boutiques with designer clothing.
Mont Tremblant is also a large park suitable for camping, hiking and canoeing with all its lakes during the summer, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to enjoy a bit of nature. For more information visit Mont Tremblant
Visit the Strip Clubs
Along St-Catherine Street, Montreal's strip clubs draw visitors from the U.S. and around the world. Local beauties bear all on stage and in lap dances with reckless abandon. Prices are relatively affordable and some of the more popular clubs include "SUPERSEX" and "CHEZ PARE".
Go out for the night
St-Laurent or "the Main", St-Denis, Crescent, Old Montreal - Something for everyone. The bars, restaurants and nightclubs cater to a variety of tastes.
This boat trip will definitely get you wet! You can get more information here - www.raftingmontreal.com
Montreal Jazz Festival
Montrealers are big on Jazz and if you are visiting during late June or early July, take a stroll around Place Des Arts and soak up the music from a world renowned Jazz Festival. Free, in the street all day!! You can also get tickets for private indoor concerts.
For more information on the Montreal Jazz Festival, visit - www.montrealjazzfest.com
This charming town on the western tip of the island has artisans, charming restaurants and an arboretum nearby for those interested in nature walks.
Situated near the centre of town with St-Laurent as its main artery, Chinatown has excellent restaurants with authentic Chinese dishes. A treat for all.
If you are in the mood for a bit more traveling, why not check out Niagara Falls and watch the water flow in awe. Only a 6 hour drive away.
What to Eat
Maudite, Griffon, St-Ambroise and Boreale are a few micro-brews in the province of Quebec. You can also have the better known Molson Export, Molson Ice, Labatt 50, Labatt Blue and Laurentide if you like.
Smoked Meat is a local favourite. The traditional way to eat smoked meat is in a rye bread sandwich with plenty of mustard, a gherkin and some fries on the side. Restaurants specialising in smoked meat are "Stanley's Diner" formerly known as "Ben's", "Schwartz's" and "Lesters Delicatessen". The service is quick and you'll get your bill before you're done but the smoked meat sandwich is the best you'll ever have.
Traditional Quebecois dish consisting of fries, cheese and gravy, delicious!
The sweet syrup of the popular and ever present Maple tree.
Tourtiere is a meat pie made with hamburger meat and onions in a large crust. Try it with lots of ketchup.
Pate Chinois is also known as Shepherd's pie in other places. A layer of mashed potatoes, covers a layer of corn nibblets which in turn covers a layer of minced hamburger meat. Again, load it up with lots of ketchup!
All day breakfast
The breakfast brunch is a town favourite on weekends. Meet friends, read the paper and relax with a nice brunch. Eggs, bacon, beans, potatoes, toast and coffee.
Feves au Lard
This is a dish made with beans in a slightly smoked sauce with a bit of lard.
Cabane a Sucre
This outing done in winter will really charm you with Maple Syrup, Canadian Bacon and of course, snow.
Try a delicious Greek Kebab from the city's large Greek community.
Another Kebab specialty from the large Lebanese community.
From Little Italy to Chinatown, from the Quartier Latin to Old Montreal, the city has a large and varied ethnic community with Greek, Italian, Chinese, Polish, Jewish, French and West Indian cuisine of the highest standard.
Where to Sleep
There are numerous lower budget lodging options in the city. Search and book a hostel in Montreal.
F Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in central Montreal. Find Montreal Hotels
How to Move
Airport - City
Dorval airport is 15km from the Centre but Mirabel airport is an hour away. Buses run regularly to the city centre regularly. For more information visit - www.admtl.com
The national airline of Canada is Air Canada
Car rental is an affordable option, gas prices are decent and a great way to get around town.
The city has an excellent Metro (Underground) and the bus system is also very efficient.Visit www.stm.info
for more information.
Best way to get around town without any of the hassle. Of course it is more expensive but you do get chauffeured from door to door.
The locals are fun and warm but do try a little French when greeting them.
French and English. The majority of people speak and understand both languages but as a matter of courtesy to Quebecers, address them first in French.
GMT -5 in the summer and -6 in the winter. Montreal is in EST.
Canadian Dollar split into 100 cents.
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