Montreal is Canada’s second-largest city and is an island surrounded by the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. Located in a French-speaking province in an English-speaking country, Montreal is a bilingual city with a large immigrant population and international visitors that give it an eclectic, cosmopolitan vibe. It has a thriving arts and culture scene, plenty of stylish shopping, and excellent dining and dancing.
The city of Montreal offers great values for travelers, U.S. or otherwise. The city hosts over a dozen annual festivals ranging from the world-renowned International Jazz Festival to the Just for Laughs Festival. Many of these include free events/performances. Hotel deals are plentiful throughout the city.
Montreal is the second-largest French speaking city outside of Paris so it helps to speak a little French, or at least attempt to, especially east of St. Laurent Blvd, the historical demarcation of English and French-speaking Montreal. The city is beautiful in the summer months thanks to the cool breezes from the mighty St. Lawrence, but come November, Montreal is cold. The average winter temperature is 14 degrees.
Like many historic cities, Montreal is an blending of neighborhoods, each with its own style and attractions. To get the most out of a visit, it’s a good idea to select one or two neighborhoods in which to sleep, dine, and play, then plan to explore another neighborhood or two on a return visit.
In addition to the active nightlife, diverse culture and excellent restaurants, Montreal has some remarkable attractions. Among these is Old Montreal, home to the stunning Notre Dame Basilica.
Also worth a visit is Parc Jean Drapeau. This man-made island hosted Expo ’67 and hosts the Grand Prix every year on the Gilles Villeneuve race track. In the middle of the track you’ll come across a large golden building, the Montreal Casino, formerly the pavilion of France. The popular theme park La Ronde sits on the end of the island and is where the annual International Fireworks festival takes place in June and July. For the perfect view of the city go to the top of Mont Royal or take in the view from the rooftop terrace at Place Ville Marie, Montreal’s tallest building. If you are an art lover, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is Canada’s oldest, and one of its best.
Attractions in Montreal
The International Jazz Festival
This is the grandaddy of Montreal’s numerous summer festivals. For 12 days each summer, an impressive list of jazz greats like Diana Krall, BB King, Al Jarreau, and newcomers take over every theater, nightclub, pub, and park in the city to perform their magic. There are over 350 free outdoor performances. Free.
Old World charm oozes in Montreal’s historic center where 18th- and 19th-century buildings have become houses, shops, cafes, and boutique hotels. Street performers and artists mix with tourists and residents, creating a thriving outdoor scene. The narrow, cobblestone streets are especially romantic in the winter when blanketed by snow. Held in June and July, the International Fireworks Competition, recently renamed the International des Feux Loto Quebec, features elaborate fireworks displays choreographed to music organized by competing countries. Arguably the best place to view the event is from the Old Port, a pleasant area along the St. Lawrence that houses many of the area’s attractions and the Montréal Science Centre. Free.
The Parc des Illes, consisting of Ile Notre Dame and Ile Sainte Helene, was recently renamed Parc de Jean-Drapeau. Site of the 1967 World’s Fair and the 1976 Olmpics, these islands are a nexus for outdoor activities and entertainment. The aquatics complex on Ile Sainte Helene features several pools, and Notre Dame has a beach and a watersports center for boat rentals. In the winter, the island hosts the Fete de Neige, a celebration of the cold. Admission to the beach drops from $7.50 to $4.50 CAD (about $6.70 to $4.00 U.S.; see XE.com for current exchange rates) per adult after 4 p.m. Park entrance is free.
Called “The Mountain” by Montrealers, Mont Royal Park is a haven for urban outdoor enthusiasts. Planned by Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed Central Park, the park sits high above downtown, affording fantastic views of the city and St. Lawrence. People cycle and walk the labyrinth of paths in the summer and cross-country ski, sled, and ice skate in the winter. Free.
An important 19th-century trade route, the canal was reopened in 2002 as an area for outdoor recreation. Montrealers and tourists alike walk, in-line skate, or bike the 8.7-mile path along the canal. People can also boat, canoe, or kayak in the canal, which leads to Lake St. Louis. The Lachine passes Atwater Market (138 Atwater Avenue), a good place to grab an inexpensive breakfast or lunch to enjoy at the market or one of the picnic areas along the canal. Free, except for pleasure boat entry and locking fees.
Muséums Nature Montréal
The Botanical Gardens is made up of 10 greenhouses and some 30 thematic gardens, while the adjacent Insectarium highlights the science, art, culture, and eating habits of insects with live and mounted specimens; adult admission for both museums costs $12.75 CAD in high season. Nearby, the Biodome ($12.75 CAD for adults) features exhibits on some of the world’s ecosystems with living examples of plants and animals. Admission for all four attractions costs $31.50 CAD, which is a 20-percent savings on regular admission. The pass also includes admission into the Montréal Tower Observatory, part of Olympic Park, where you can see for 80 kilometers on a clear day ($14 CAD separately). Other combination passes are available.
The Montreal Museum Pass ($35 CAD) permits access to up to 32 museums (one visit per site) for a consecutive three-day period. For an extra $10 CAD it includes an STM Tourist Card for unlimited public transportation. There is no charge to see the permanent collections at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which includes contemporary, decorative, and Canadian arts, as well as works from European masters. Admission for special exhibits is $15 CAD for adults, $7.50 CAD for students and seniors, and includes all exhibits.
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
Admission to this glorious stone church, which was built between 1824 and 1829, is $4 CAD for adults and $2 CAD for students. However, no fee is required to attend mass. Services are conducted Mondays through Fridays at 7:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., Saturdays at 5 p.m. and four times on Sundays. Weekend masses are accompanied by the organist, and the choir sings at the 11 a.m. Sunday mass.
Montreal Special Events
La Fête des Neiges
Montreal High Lights Festival
Illuminations and performances.
Various venues in Downtown
Tour de l’Ile de Montréal
World’s largest public bicycle race, part of the Montreal Bike Fest, around the island.
Electronic music, sound and new technologies festival.
Montreal Festival of Fashion and Design
Celebrating international and local high-fashion and design.
First Peoples’ Festival
Film, art, music and dance celebrating native culture.
Montreal Fringe Festival
Fringe theatre, with some comedy, music and dance.
Various Plateau venues
Fête Nationale du Québec
Parade and celebrations, throughout the city.
Montreal International Fireworks Competition
Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Place des Arts and other venues
Just for Laughs Festival
Comedy festival rue St-Denis (Latin Quarter) and various venues.
Festival International Nuits d’Afrique
African music festival, place Emile-Gamelin and various venues.
Montreal international gay and lesbian pride celebration.
Montreal World Film Festival
Place des Arts and various cinemas in Downtown.
Black & Blue Festival
Gay benefit party and cultural week, Olympic Stadium and around the Village.
Historic stone buildings have long been converted into shops, restaurants, and museums such as Pointe a Calliere, the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, which details the city’s waterfront and trade history through a series of underground exhibits. The Montreal Science Center, with an IMAX Theatre, is located in the Old Port on the waterfront.
A Look At Old Montreal
Like the name suggests, Old Montreal is the oldest section of the city of Montreal, Canada. As such, the neighborhood brims with history.
Founded in 1605 as a fur trading post by the French, Montreal quickly blossomed into a vibrant colonial city. In 1763, the city came under British rule following the French and Indian War. With its heritage as both a French and British colony, the city has a unique character, as one of the few North American cities with a cultural heritage from two distinct countries. In more recent years, Montreal has experienced a small separatist movement, desiring independence from Canada as Montreal relishes its unique French heritage.
Old Montreal is one of the city’s largest tourist attractions. It is one of the oldest urban areas in North America, and much of the colonial architecture is still preserved. Such attractions are the Bonsecours Market, a two story indoor market that served as Montreal’s prime marketplace for over a century. Nearby, sits the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, a beautiful church from the colonial era. The Saint-Sulpice Seminary, Montreal’s oldest building, is a major attraction on the Place d’Armes, a beautiful square from the colonial era. The Champ de Mars, a public park in Old Montreal, offers views of the city’s original fortifications. The Old Port of Montreal, known as the city’s cultural center since the city’s founding. Today, it holds annual events like Igloofest, an outdoor music festival held every year. It is one of Montreal’s largest cultural attractions.
The Hotel Gault sits in Old Montreal originally built in 1871. This historic hotel offers one of the best places to stay while visiting Old Montreal, sitting in the heart of the neighborhood. The Hotel Le Saint-Sulpice also offers excellent accommodations in the heart of the city. Either of these hotels are great choices for a stay in Old Montreal, delivering a true experience that travelers will never forget.
Old Montreal is a historic city with a vibrant, modern feel. Each of its attractions are unique and special on their own, but together, they are without comparison. It is a corner of the world worth visiting.
Mount Royal Park
There’s lots to do atop Montréal’s highest peak and on particularly pleasant days, you’ll find that it gets quite crowded. Locals and visitors head there for hiking, biking, and water-related activities like paddle-boating in the summer, and in the snowy weather, the mountain is teaming with cross-country enthusiasts, ice skaters, tobogganers, and snow- shoers.
The High Point Of Montreal
Head uphill from any point in Montreal’s downtown and you will eventually end up in Mount Royal
Park. At the highest point in the city, Mount Royal Park was opened to the public in 1876 as a place for locals and visitors alike to escape the busy city of Montreal and enjoy the great outdoors. Mount Royal Park was designed by Fredick Law Olmsted, the American landscape artist who also designed New York City’s Central Park and offers stunning views of the city.
Smith House is a must-see while visiting Mount Royal Park. Built in 1858, here is where you will find all the coming events, activities, and more about the Park. “Mont Royal: A Territory to Discover” is a free exhibit tracing the history of Mount Royal and the continued conservation efforts the park has undertaken. Stop for lunch or a snack at Cafe des Amis. The cafe offers sandwiches, hot meals, beverages, treats, and a famous organic fair-trade hot chocolate that can’t be missed. For a memento of your day at Mount Royal Park, Smith House also has a gift shop that in addition to souvenirs offers a nature boutique to purchase everything you’ll need for a day of bird watching or plant and animal identification.
Whatever your favorite outdoor activity is, Mount Royal Park is sure to offer it. In the winter, skis, showshoes, and ice skates are rented in the park so you can spend a the day tromping through the woods or tubing down Mount Royal Park’s alpine slopes. In the summer, rent a pedal boat to spend a day on the water at Beaver Lake or explore the hiking trails throughout the park.
Mount Royal Park continues to provide the city’s best entertainment over one hundred years after opening. Whether you decide to spend the day lying beside the lake or cycling through the forest, exploring this one of a kind park in the center of Montreal City is sure to produce memories to last a lifetime.
One block north on Sherbrooke Street, in the Museum Quarter, are the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and The Canadian Guild of Crafts. The Bell Centre on Gauchetiere Boulevard is the home rink of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team and a popular venue for musical performances. While the lively Crescent Street has its share of haute couture boutiques and galleries.
The Heart Of Montreal
Downtown Montreal is the central business district of Montreal, QC. Located by the southernmost slope of Mont Royal, none of the skyscrapers are any taller than Montreal’s iconic hill. Montreal’s downtown area is a mixture of historical and modern structures. Train stations, terminals, stores, old churches and the world’s largest “underground city” comprise downtown Montreal, as well as university campuses.
One of Downtown Montreal’s greatest marvels is its underground city. Also called la ville souterraine, it provides access over 1000 business and organizations including shops, restaurants, offices, museums as well as universities. Although some portions are above ground, la ville souterraine provides a warm retreat from Montreal’s winters. In fact, during winter, several hundred thousand people use the city daily. There are about 120 entrances into la ville souterraine, many of which come from Rue Ste-Catherine.
St. Catherine’s Street, or Rue Ste-Catherine, is one of the main shopping areas of downtown Montreal. At over 11 km long, there is no shortage of shops and restaurants. Ogilvy’s, which is a collection of boutiques, is one of Rue Ste-Catherine’s most popular shopping complexes. Besides stores, the Pepsi Forum (formerly known as the Montreal Forum), is located on the street and was once home the Montreal Canadiens. Rue Ste-Catherine closes one week every July for a sidewalk sale.
Besides shopping, there are many historical and culturally significant buildings in downtown Montreal. McGill University and Concordia University, two of Canada’s most famous universities, are located in downtown Montreal. Significant churches in Montreal include St. James United Church, St. George’s Anglican Church and Christ Church Cathedral, which is the only church in Canada located on top of a shopping mall. The Place des Arts esplande houses several cultural institutions, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art (also called Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal), Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and the Opéra de Montréal. In the middle of downtown Montreal sits Phillips Square. A monument to King Edward VII sits inside the square, which is near downtown’s financial district.
Whether interested in culture, history or shopping, downtown Montreal has something to offer every visitor.
First known as the Molson Centre when construction was completed in 1996 the arena was renamed the Centre Bell in February of 2002. This new arena replaced the aging Montreal Forum that was built in 1924 and was considered the most storied building in hockey history. Located in downtown Montreal and with a capacity of 22,500 seats the Centre Bell is the largest arena in North America.
All About The Bell Centre
The Bell Centre is a sports and entertainment complex located in Montreal, Quebec. The building, which is 168,778 square feet and seats 21,273 people, is on the corner of Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal and Rue de la Montagne. This is in the downtown area of the city. It is a great location due to the many bars and restaurants nearby. People spending time in the area will always be able to find something to do. Another good thing about the location of the Bell Centre is its close proximity to many really nice hotels. Anyone from out of town who is visiting the arena should be able to find a suitable place to stay that is within their budget.
The Bell Centre is home to the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens. Because of this, the inside of the building is decorated with a Canadiens theme and statues of famous players. The Bell Centre is actually the largest National Hockey League arena and is owned by the same people that own the Montreal Canadiens.
Many important events have been held in the Bell Centre. These events include the final two games of the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and two pool games in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. The first UFC event held in Canada also took place in the building. The facility even hosted a preseason NBA basketball game in October 2010. This game was between the New York Knicks and the Toronto Raptors. In addition to sports events, the Bell Centre has also hosted many fun and exciting entertainment events. One of the more popular events they hosted was a sell-out Celine Dion concert.
Many other very famous artists and musicians have performed in the venue. Numerous important business receptions and conventions have also been held there.
The Bell Centre really is very versatile when it comes to the kinds of events it is capable of hosting. The staff at the complex is fully committed to making sure that every event that is held there runs as smoothly as possible. They provide a very high level of customer service.
Palais des Congres de Montreal Convention Center
Strategically located in Montréal’s downtown core, the Palais des congrès represents the city’s nexus, connecting the business center, the Quartier international, the Quartier des spectacles, Chinatown and Old Montréal. Over the years, The Palais des congrès de Montréal has built a reputation for excellence the world over.
Montreal Convention Center
Montreal is the biggest province of Quebec, effectively making it the second largest city in all of Canada. The urban atmosphere and the cultural importance of the city dates back to the French occupation of the land, a pride that still glows within the Canadian territory. The name Montreal comes from the French term Mont-Royal, which referred to a series of three peaks that are located right within the middle of the city.
Montreal, within the country of Canada, is said to have been inhabited at least 2,000 years before European explorers discovered the continent. It is therefore reasonable to presume that Vikings also fell across the continent during their travels as well, long before Columbus ever crossed the Atlantic. After Europe’s discovery of the area, many aboriginals who lived in the territory were wiped out by the sickness brought by English, Spanish and French, due to the fact that they had no immunity to protect themselves from the foreign viruses. Montreal came to be a French territory and a hub of the French fur trading industry. They became an incorporated city during the 19th century, and after the 20th century arrived, became the place for Americans to buy liquor during the United States’ brief prohibition. In the 1970s Montreal hosted the Olympics.
The Palais des Congres de Montreal Convention Center is located right in the heart of the city, providing great amenities for meetings and exhibitions. The building is large and it has housed many events. There are also lots to see and do in Montreal. The Notre-Dame Basilica is the oldest cathedral in the city, built in 1656, and boasts not only stunning architecture but also a detailed history of the city itself in its stained glass windows. Old Town Montreal is an effective and fun way to spend your day, exploring a both preserved and reconstructed area of a colony in Montreal as it would have appeared during the fur-trading era. The Montreal Botanical Gardens and the Mont-Royal peaks are also two great attractions to check out, both renowned for their natural beauty. It’s a unique experience.
For a great view of the city, take the cable car that goes from the Montreal Olympic Stadium to an observation deck. Tickets to the top cost $9 CAN for adults and $5.50CAN for children and students. There is also a free shuttle bus from the Olympic Park to the Botanical Garden. The Olympic Stadium, a worthwhile tourist attraction in Montreal, is easily reached by metro stop Viau.
The Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada
Built in 1976 for the Summer Olympics held in Montreal, Canada, the Olympic Stadium is well-known for its multi-purpose use. The stadium sits in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood of Montreal, which is considered to be one of the city’s up and coming premiere neighborhoods.
Roger Taillibert, a French architect, designed the stadium for the Summer Olympics of 1976 and for years of use afterwards. Based on plant and animal forms, the stadium is today considered a masterpiece of Organic Modern architecture. This is widely recognized in the stadium’s tower, along with the tentacle-like pieces that encircle the building, which resembles the fin of a fish.
The stadium is well known and recognizable by the tower that juts into the sky, making it Montreal’s sixth tallest building. Underneath this tower sits the Olympic pool. The stadium in Montreal is the world’s largest stadium, as well.
Today, the stadium has a wide variety of uses. The stadium serves as a venue for the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, and a number of other American Football events, such as the World Bowl in 1992. The National Football League on occasion also hosts pre-season games between its American teams in the stadium. Baseball also uses the Montreal stadium as the home of the Montreal Expos, a Major League Baseball team.
More than that, the stadium also serves as a soccer venue, with former Major League Soccer residents the Montreal Manic. Today, the stadium hosts numerous soccer events and tournaments, such as the 2007 FIFA Under 20 World Cup, in which two of the games played sold out to crowds of over 55,000 people. Beginning in 2012, the stadium will host tournament games for the Montreal Impact.
Beginning in 1976, the Olympic Stadium in Montreal serves its purpose, showcasing Canada’s development and architectural prowess to the world. Beyond that, though, the stadium has lived a long life, serving Canada’s cultural sports. The stadium has witnessed football, baseball, and soccer games. In its life, the stadium has seen more talent and history than anyone can imagine. The Olympic Stadium in montreal is set for the future.
The most famous aspect of shopping in Montreal is the Underground City, directly under the heart of the city, 19 miles long. Constantly growing, the “city” – which links many major buildings and multi-level shopping malls in the area – is a shopper’s paradise in any season. One major section is reached via Peel and McGill metro stations on the green line.
Montreal’s Underground City–An Engaging Attraction
To visitors of Montreal, Canada, discovering the 19 miles of an underground city is an absorbing and fascinating activity. Although part of everyday life to local residents, Montreal’s Underground City has drawn tourists for several decades who want to experience something unique while traveling.
Montreal’s Secret City
The Underground City in Montreal, Canada is a set of complexes located under the residential and commercial streets of Montreal, Quebec. It is sometimes referred to as the Ville Intérieure–the Indoor City–or the Secret City, and is the world’s largest underground structure of its kind. This underground city was originally created by Vincent Ponte, who designed the tunnels in 1966 as a way to conceal the visible the railway tracks of Montreal’s Central Station. Initially, the structure featured only one tunnel that linked the Queen Elizabeth Hotel and the Central Train Station of Montreal with the Place Ville-Marie Underground Shopping Mall. Over the next few years, the tunnels were quickly expanded and a new city came to life under the streets of Montreal.
However, not all portions of the secret city are actually underground. The connections are regarded as tunnels from an architectural standpoint, but the airflow and lighting in the underground complex is just as adequate as the lighting and ventilation seen in the living spaces of most traditional buildings.
A Variety of Attractions
The connected areas feature shopping malls, seven metro stations, several museums, a university, apartment complexes, hotels, condos, banks, business offices, two train stations, a regional bus terminal, and the Bell Center Arena and Amphitheater. Over 100 exterior entrances to the underground city exist in Montreal and each entry point leads to one of over 50 commercial or residential complexes. Throughout winter, more than half a million local residents use the underground city on a daily basis and a countless number of tourists visit Montreal each year to discover the many interesting activities and attractions located in the Secret City. Offering something for everyone, no one should miss a trip to the Underground City in Montreal, Canada when visiting Quebec.
Montréal-Dorval International Airport began operation on September 1, 1941, with three paved runways. By 1946, the airport was already handling more than a quarter of a million passengers a year. This number grew to more than a million by the mid-1950s. At the time, Dorval was the busiest airport in Canada.
The Gateway To Montreal
Montreal – Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is the principal passenger airport for Canada’s second largest city, and a major international hub, welcoming 13 million passengers in 2010. The airport is on the island of Montreal, 20 km (12 mi) from downtown, with round-the-clock access to and from all local points of interest.
Formerly known as Montreal – Dorval, the airport commenced operations in 1941 on the site of a former racetrack. During WWII it was a prominent stopover for warplanes en route to England. After a period in the 1970s when traffic shifted to neighboring Mirabel Airport, Dorval regained its leadership and, following a major expansion, was renamed in 2004 after the distinguished Prime Minister.
The bilingual signs at Montreal – Trudeau alert arriving passengers to the city’s distinctive marriage of cultures: French and English, European and North American, ancient and modern. Though the official language is French, over half the population is fluent in both languages. Museums abound, as do film and jazz festivals and remarkable architecture, old and new. Highlights include:
Mount Royal is the centerpiece of the city and the island to which it gives its name. The surrounding park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York’s Central Park. At the top of the mountain is a 103 foot illuminated cross.
Quartier des Spectacles is a mushrooming arts and entertainment district in downtown Montreal. The Quartier soon will be home to 30 performance venues.
Old Montreal: Graced by Notre Dame Basilica and other stone cathedrals, quaint row-houses, and cobbled streets traversed by horse-drawn carriages, Old Montreal is an architectural treat. Old Montreal includes the Old Port, from which one can take a ferry to the Isle Sainte-Helene.
Isle Sainte-Helene is the former site of Expo 67, the World’s Fair of that year. Several structures from that event survive, such as the geodesic dome from the New York Pavilion and Moshe Safdie’s design for Habitat 67 – the apartment complex of the future.
McGill University is one of Canada’s oldest and most distinguished, regularly ranking among the 25 best universities in the world.
Sports and Recreation in Montreal
Refrigerated skating rinks
Beaver Lake skating rink in Mount Royal Park
514-843-8240, extension 0
The brand new refrigerated skating rink on top of Mount Royal, open as of last winter, is the city’s best kept secret. The rink, with an area of 2,500 square metres, offers a quality ice surface and a longer skating season to ice lovers.
Jardin botanique de Montréal
Montréal’s Botanical Garden ranks as one of the world’s largest and most spectacular botanical gardens.
Biodôme de Montréal
The Biodôme de Montréal recreates some of the most beautiful ecosystems of the Americas: the Tropical Forest, the Laurentian Forest, the St. Lawrence Marine Ecosystem, the Arctic and Antarctic.
Insectarium de Montréal
At the Insectarium, visitors can learn about the wonders of the insect world. Its computerized scientific collection contains more than 140,000 specimens.
Planétarium de Montréal
The Montréal Planetarium has been offering multimedia shows and exhibitions on astronomy for people of all ages for over 35 years.
Parc Olympique de Montréal
Information about the sports centre at the Parc Olympique, exhibits and shows as well as information for tourists.
The Quays of the Old Port
Its remarkable location and rich heritage rank the Quays as the top destination for both locals and tourists. Throughout summer, concerts and festivals, maritime activities and on-site entertainment abound by the River; come winter the spectacular TELUS Fire on Ice, the Winter Bar and the fantastic skating rink draw the crowds.
Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard
Young and old alike can enjoy playing their favourite sports at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard, solo or in teams. Work out, relax or compete in state-of-the-art facilities.
The Aréna Maurice-Richard is Québec’s only international-size rink (30 by 60 metres). The rink was renovated in 1994, and is ideal for events that require a large central space.
The Centre Pierre-Charbonneau offers many attractions, including a gymnasium that is fully equipped to host medium-sized events.
The Parc Angrignon, an idyllic portrait of a British park, offers a calm and peaceful world filled with a variety of distinctive charms.
Parc du Complexe environnemental de Saint-Michel
This site is the hub of environmental activities in Montréal. It was first a strip pit and then a landfill. Now, it’s a huge green space that is nearly as large as Mount Royal Park.
A variety of recreational sites and playing fields await you at the Parc Jarry.
The Parc Jean-Drapeau is the site of La Ronde, the Biosphere, the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve (F-1 Air Canada Grand Prix), the Mondial SAQ (international fireworks competition) and the Stewart Museum.
Parc La Fontaine
This vast green space has been part of the history of the Plateau for more than a century.
This park, near the Botanical Garden, the Insectarium and Olympic Stadium, hosts many large events.
Getting Around Montreal
Dorval International Airport (YUL) (975 blvd. René-Vachon, Dorval, 514/394-7377), 221/2 km (14 mi) west of the city, handles all scheduled foreign and domestic flights and some charter operations.
Mirabel International Airport (YMX) (12600 rue Aérogare, Mirabel, 514/394-7377), 541/2 km (34 mi) northwest of the city, serves most charter traffic. Passengers departing Montréal must pay a $15 airport-improvement fee before they can board their plane. Flying time to Montréal is 11/2 hours from New York, 2 hours from Chicago, 6 hours from Los Angeles, and 61/2 hours from London.
Transfers Between the Airport and Town
L’Aerobus ( 514/931-9002) offers shuttle service into town from Mirabel and Dorval. Shuttle service from Mirabel to the terminal next to the Gare Centrale (777 rue de la Gauchetière) is frequent.
Greyhound Canada ( 800/661-8747) has service from Toronto and points west in Canada.
All buses arrive at and depart from the city’s downtown bus terminal, the Station Central d’Autobus Montréal (505 blvd. de Maisonneuve Est, 514/842-2281), which connects with the Berri-UQAM Métro station.
Montréal is accessible from the rest of Canada via the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), which enters the city from the east and west via Routes 20 and 40. The New York State Thruway (I-87) becomes Route 15 at the Canadian border, and then it’s 47 km (29 mi) to the outskirts of Montréal. U.S. I-89, from New Hampshire and Vermont, becomes Route 133 at the border, eventually joining Route 10 to reach Montréal. I-91, from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, becomes Route 55 at the border and also joins up with Route10.
The Gare Centrale, on rue de la Gauchetière between rues University and Mansfield (behind Le Reine Elizabeth), is the rail terminus for all trains from the United States and from other Canadian provinces. It is connected underground to the Bonaventure Métro station.
Amtrak ( 800/872-7245) Adirondack leaves New York’s Penn Station every morning for the 101/2-hour trip through scenic upstate New York to Montréal. The Vermonter, which travels between Washington, D.C., and St. Alban’s, Vermont, is also connected with Montréal, via a through bus connection provided by Amtrak. VIA Rail ( 514/989-2626; 888/842-7245; 800/361-5390 in Québec) connects Montréal with all the major cities of Canada, including Québec City, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
Rental cars are readily available in Montreal.
Rules of the Road
Road signs are in French in Québec. The speed limit is posted in kilometers; on highways the limit is 100 kph (about 62 mph), and the use of radar-detection devices is prohibited : possession of such a device in a car, even if it is not in operation, is illegal in Québec. Québec law forbids you to turn right on a red light.
The Métro, or subway, is clean, quiet, and safe and it’s heated in winter and cooled in summer. The Métro is also connected to the 18 miles of the Underground City. Each of the 65 stops has been individually designed and decorated. Free maps may be obtained at Métro ticket booths.
Taxis in Montréal all run on the same rate.