Montréal: a City, a World!
Founded in 1642 on the banks of the St-Laurent River, Montréal is the 8th largest city in America and it’s biggest francophone metropolis. Montréal never fails to charm with its irresistibly unique blend of European chic, avant-garde attitude and North American urban effervescence. In this vibrant metropolis of culture and fine dining, skyscrapers soar next to craft shops, and visitors and locals alike enjoy the world-renowned international festivals as well as emerging independent events and it also harbors one of the world’s most thrilling nightlifes.
Montreal was named a UNESCO City of Design. Historically the commercial capital of Canada, it was surpassed in population and economic strength by Toronto in the 1970s. It remains an important centre of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, gaming, film and world affairs. In 2009, Montreal was named North America’s leading host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Montreal is the most bilingual city in Quebec and Canada with 56% of the population able to speak both English and French. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. Montreal hosted the 1967 International and Universal Exposition and the Summer Olympics in 1976. It is the annual host of the World Film Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival, the Montreal en lumière and Grand Prix F1 of Canada. The Hockey Club Montreal Canadiens have elected domicile since its creation in 1909. Its historic district, Old Montreal was declared a historic district in 1964.
What to do?
Explore the birthplace of a great metropolis in the Americas, founded in 1642.
Old Montreal is the perfect place for a trip back in time. The old cobbled streets, witnesses to the city’s origins, are today lined with art galleries, shops and elegant buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Old Port, meanwhile, is where skaters, cyclists, runners and families gather, in summer as well as winter.
With its sculpted wood interior, paintings, sculptures and stained glass windows, this church is a true jewel in Montreal’s religious-heritage crown.
A masterwork of Gothic Revival architecture, Notre-Dame Basilica was built between 1824 and 1829. Inside, a wealth of artworks illustrate the history of the parish and of Montreal society. Evenings, don’t miss the sound-and-light show that recounts the founding of Montreal and the Basilica.
On the very spot where the city was founded, this museum tells the archeological story of Montreal from the 14th century to today.
A national historic site, Pointe-à-Callière is a chance to discover such riches as Native artifacts, the city’s first Catholic cemetery, its first marketplace, while the multimedia show brings the city’s past to life in a whole new light.
Spread out beneath the downtown core are 33 km of connecting passageways, plazas and meeting places: Montreal’s underground city.
Some 500,000 people use this extensive pedestrian network every day. It is home to about 2,000 retail outlets and 200 restaurants. The network also connects to 10 major hotels, museums, concert halls, university campuses, eight métro stations as well as train and bus stations.
Your ticket to great entertainment with gaming tables, slot machines, and fine dining all under the same roof.
With nearly 100 game tables and some 3,000 slot machines, Montreal’s casino offers up one of the most varied gaming experiences in North America. It is home to bars with sleek modern design as well as four restaurants with stunning views of the city.
This splendid woodland is a haven for birds, crisscrossed by walking trails and featuring lookouts that offer superb views of Montreal.
Inaugurated in 1876, Mount Royal Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also gave the world New York’s Central Park. It is an ideal place to admire a wide variety of plants and birds, and for enjoying all kinds of outdoor activities
This majestic structure, with its impressive dome, attracts pilgrims from all over the world.of Montreal.
Perched on the slopes of Mount Royal, the sanctuary of Saint Joseph’s Oratory is one of the world’s most-visited pilgrimage sites. The imposing edifice, topped by a 97-metre dome, contrasts sharply with the slight stature of its founder, Saint André of Montreal (formerly Brother André), the humble doorkeeper who inspired its construction in 1904.
Four institutions form a place where nature and science are honored, and visitors can better understand, and learn to protect, our planet’s biodiversity.
Montreal Botanical Garden: A magnificent 75-hectare oasis where some 22,000 plant species and cultivars flourish in various themed gardens. Biodôme de Montréal: An impressively realistic life-size re-creation of five of the most picturesque ecosystems in the Americas. Montreal Insectarium: The fascinating world of insects is revealed in this collection of thousands of living and naturalized specimens. Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium: The cosmos is unveiled in all its splendor under the huge dome of the Théâtre des étoiles.
What to do in June?
June 8-10, 2018
“One of the most anticipated dates for a great number of racing fans, both in Canada and abroad, has now been revealed: June 8th-10th, 2018. The annual race at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal will be the seventh round of the Championship, two weeks after Monaco and two more weeks before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. For those who love the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada and the exceptional atmosphere in Montreal on race weekend, the most important bit of news is that they can already mark down the dates in their calendar. For three days, Montreal is decked out in the colors of the most celebrated F1 teams as enthusiastic crowds from across the globe cheer on the greatest drivers in the world. Witness who will reach the highest step of the podium in this stunning 70-lap competition covering 4361 meters of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.”
June 6-9, 2018
“A unique and friendly tasting event, it is considered a doorway to the brewing industry in Quebec and around the world. Over the years, it has become the most important international beer festival in America and its reputation extends worldwide.
From ale to hybrid, brown brew to white, once a year Montreal is graced with the largest beer festival in Canada, the Mondial de la Bière. Attracting around 85,000 people in 2007, every year draws in bigger crowds. The 2013 edition alone attracted 100,000 beer fans. And brews seem to get crazier with every passing year. Take these five favorites for example. In 2017, the Montreal Beer Festival is held from June 6 to June 9, 2018 and is expected to attract over 160,000 visitors primed to taste 500 different beers, ciders, meads, and other alcoholic beverages.”
June 28- July 7, 2018
“An event that for over 35 years has transformed the city into a gathering place for lovers of all music related to jazz: 1000 concerts at 15 indoor and some 10 outdoor venues..”
Named the largest jazz festival in the world in 2004 by the Guinness Book of World Records, Montreal Jazz Festival organizers claim the fest attracts roughly 2.5 million visitors to every edition, offering attendees the choice of hundreds of concerts spread out over 11 days.
The best part? Most of those shows are free of charge, roughly two-thirds of the fest’s programming. There are also special activities geared towards kids and the whole family, also generally free.
Covering the gamut of jazz genres since its debut edition in 1980, the fest also features related genres such as blues, Latin jazz, soul, Brazilian, Cuban, African, R’n’B, reggae and electronica.
June 7-16, 2018
“This annual festival celebrates Francophone and world music in the largest French-speaking city in the Americas.
Since 1989, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal has been the true reflection of a thriving French-speaking music world! Nearly 70 indoor shows and 180 free outdoor concerts attest to the effervescent quality, diversity and energy of a music-rich fun-filled program! Every year, Montrealers and tourists throng to the safe, festive FrancoFolies site for an entire 10 days in the downtown core, to savor the best musical talents of the French-speaking world.
June 5 and 6, 2018
“The legendary U2 will be stopping in Montreal for their eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour.
The iconic band will be performing at the Bell Centre.
Just as the new album Songs of Experience is a companion to 2014’s Songs of Innocence, the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour is a sequel to 2015’s iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour.
Montreal is U2’s only Canadian stop on the tour.”
May 29- June 7, 2018
“ The Voice 2018 edition of the CMIM is an elite-level international competition open to women and men of all nationalities, born January 1, 1983 or later, who are intending to pursue a professional singing career. There are two divisions in the competition : for voice and orchestra, or voice and piano.
Following a preliminary step (based on video recordings), the CMIM invites 24 of the most talented young musicians in the world to compete in Montreal. The Competition consists of three rounds: First, semifinal, and final. Recital rounds are held at Salle Bourgie while concert rounds with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal are held at Maison symphonique. The candidates go through a unique experience by taking part in the CMIM: they receive beneficial advice from an international jury made up of leading figures on the music scene, perform with an orchestra of the caliber of the OSM, they attend master classes, form friendships, discover Montreal and its welcoming ambience, and share over $100,000 in prizes and grants. ”
Eat and Drink in Montreal
There are many excellent places to get a drink in Montreal, all of which are openned until 3:00 AM everyday. This is not the exaustive list of pubs, bars, clubs and breweries (far from it), but some suggestions by the local organization committee. Do not hesitate to try a bar out of this list, chances are it will also be a nice place. After all, Montréal is yours to discover!
Great food (and poutine) and wide selection of great local and imported beers, scotch, whisky. It is the place where professors and grad students go out for a drink after a long day at the lab.
This is the bar where undergrads generally go. It serves pitchers of cheap or great microbrewery beer at good prices. It displays sports events, hosts beer pong games and karaoke.
Recently opened and renovated. This resto-pubs will give you a general overview of the typical pub you can find in Montreal. Nice food and nice beer!
Lively and warm. A gem in the university district. Menu typical of a Parisian Brasserie… Lobster Ravioli, Tartare, Steak Frites, Fish ‘n Chips. All you can eat mussels and fries every weekend and oysters are $1.00 each from 4pm or 7pm. A landmark for the media in Montreal where the jazz era of Saint-Germain-des-Pres nostalgia vibrates.
Don’t miss out on Quebec’s world-famous fast food delicacy : The Poutine. French fries, gravy and cheese, could you ask for something better? The best restaurant for the poutine is La banquise open 24/7. You can taste over 30 types of Poutines.
An excellent microbrewery favorite to many that serves a vast selection of fine beers at reasonnable prices (around 7$ for a pint).
Another excellent microbrewery where it would be totally within protocol to take that important collaborator for a drink.
This microbrewery serves locally made beer and over 500 imported and Quebec made beers. It is not the cheapest place to get a drink, but an excellent bar nevertheless.
Founded in 2005, La distillerie located in Quartier latin is the first established from the partnership between David Poulin and Philippe Haman.
It’s appreciated for its cozy atmosphere and proximity to local attractions. Like in all La Distillerie locations, you’ll find a wide array of cocktails, a self-serve filtered water station and a variety of board games.