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Montreal city guide


The island of Montreal, although officially discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1535, was inhabited by Native American tribes for centuries before the Europeans arrived. When Cartier landed on the island, he discovers the fortified village of Hochelaga inhabited by around 1500 Iroquois. The town was named after the name given to the mountain at the center of the island, Mons realis (Mount Royal) by Cartier.

Samuel de Champlain went to the island in 1603, then abandoned it because he can not defend against attacks from the Mohawk Indian tribe. French colonization of the island of Montreal really begins in 1642 with the installation of a summer missionary, Ville-Marie, formed to evangelize the Indians.

In 1754 began the Conquest war between the French and the British. It was in 1759, at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham that the British were victorious, wich announces the end of French rule in the territory.

After the British conquest, the vast majority of the population is french, but the wealthy are mostly English. In the nineteenth century, the rapid growth of the city accelerated the construction of the Lachine Canal and the rapid development of railways made Montreal the railway hub of Canada.

During the twentieth century, Montreal was modernized and developed a reputation as an "open city". It ensures its status as an international city thanks to the Universal Exhibition of 1967 and 1976 Olympics.

Discover Montreal

Montreal is the most populous city of the province of Quebec and Canada's second most populated with about 1700 000 inhabitants. The city's population is predominantly young with 44% of people aged under 35, and immigration is the main driver of population growth. The majority of Montrealers has French as the main language (approximately 70.8%), a significant portion (18.9%) is neo-Canadian and has neither English or French as their mother tongue and about 11.3 % are English speaking.

The city of Montreal occupies the greater part of the island of Montreal and extends over 360 km2. It is located in the lowlands of the Saint-Laurent, at the confluence of the Saint-Laurent River and Outaouais River. The main elevation of the island, Mount Royal, overlooking downtown with 234 meters high. Montreal has a significant amount of green space. Its 17 largest urban parks occupy 6% of the city, covering an area of approximately 20 km2. The five major and most famous parks are the Jean-Drapeau park, the Mont-Royal park, the Maisonneuve park, the La Fontaine Park and the Jarry Park.

The Montreal area has a humid continental climate. The hottest month is July with an average of 20.9 ° C and the coldest month is January with an average of -10.2 ° C. Summer temperatures are usually warm and humid. The appearance of the first snow is usually between 1 and 15 December and melting between 1 and April 15, for an average of five months of winter cover.


Chinatown, located between Viger, St-Urbain, René-Levesque and St. Lawrence, is the legacy of the Chinese settled here in 1860 following their contribution to the construction of the highway iron across Canada. Crossed by a pedestrian street, Chinatown is composed of several grocery stores and restaurants for the most specialized in food and Asian cuisine. Lined with 2 doors offered by China, this area is very busy and popular with tourists.

Old Montreal

Old Montreal is a historic area of the city, the great majority having been declared a historic district. This is the original site of the city of Montreal, then known as Ville-Marie. This is one of the most popular tourist areas of the city, but also in Quebec and Canada. In addition to the Old Port, there are many public places, many buildings from the French regime and heavily visited Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. One can also visit several museums including the Pointe-a-Calliere Museum, the Marguerite Bourgeois Museum, the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, etc.

Quartier Latin

The name of this district comes from the presence of a university in this area. In the early twentieth century, this neighborhood was one of the major intellectual centers of French America and it’s where were living the french intelligentsia of Montreal. Several small bars and cafes still give this district a bohemian atmosphere of the early twentieth century. The presence of St-Denis Theatre, the Great Library of Quebec, the cinematheque and the NFB (National Film Board) makes it a mecca of Montreal culture.

Gay village

The gay village, commonly known as "The Village", is, geographically, one of the largest neighborhoods gays in the world. The bars and clubs of the village are among the most trendy in the city. The St. Catherine Street, main street of this neighborhood, is exclusively pedestrian in summer

Quartier des spectacles

Le quartier des spectacles est un nouveau quartier montréalais où l’on retrouve, en plus de la Place des Arts, une trentaine de salles de spectacle. De nombreux festivals d’envergure internationale ont aussi lieu dans ce quartier : Festival international de jazz, Francofolies de Montréal, Festival Juste pour rire, etc.).

The plateau Mont-Royal

Commonly called "The Plateau", this trendy neighborhood attracts musicians, artists and intellectuals of all kinds. Its popularity is due to several factors. Firstly it has two of the largest parks in the city: Mont-Royal and Lafontaine, in addition to being located near the city center. It is also recognized as a leading art and culture scene in Canada, containing the largest concentration of artists in Canada with a concentration 10 times higher than the Canadian average. There are also a host of cultural institutions (theaters, concert halls, cultural centers, dance troupes, art galleries) and numerous specialty shops.


Every year, Montreal hosts more than 10 million visitors and tourists. Certain places or buildings are better known than others, this is where tourists make it a priority regardless of the duration of their stay.

The Old Port of Montreal

Located near the St. Lawrence River, the Old Port stretches over two km and includes several platforms connected by a promenade lined with a park. Society of the Old Port ensures the animation of the place and activities are offered in both summer and winter. There is also an IMAX theater and science center of Montreal. More than 6 million tourists are welcomed each year.

The Saint-Joseph Oratory

Inaugurated in 1904 at the initiative of Brother André, the work of the whole place ended in 1967. This is where the most important pilgrimage dedicated to St. Joseph throughout the world. Its dome 60 meters in height, internal diameter of 39 meters and the cross, culminating in Montreal, reaches 300 meters. In the gardens of the Oratory, you can follow a path of cross-scale sculpture representing the passion of Christ. The chapel attracts about 2 million visitors annually.

Montreal Botannical Garden

The garden covers 73 hectares is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world in terms of size and plant collection. With its 22,000 plant species, its 10 exhibition greenhouses and thirty thematic gardens, you will be dazzled by the scents and colors whatever the time of the year. Many animation activities embellish your visit, such as free-flying butterflies in the greenhouse along with classical music in the spring, magic lanterns and the large fall Pumpkin Ball to celebrate Halloween. The insectary is also on the area of the botanical garden.

Casino of Montreal

The casino is located on Notre-Dame island in Montreal. Canada's largest casino, it has 9 floors, 150 gaming tables, 4,800 slot machines and electronic games and one of the largest Keno games in America. It also houses four restaurants and a theater with 500 seats.

The Biodome

The Biodome is a living museum that combines zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. You can see the animals interact with their natural habitat has been recreated in the old velodrome for the 1976 Olympics. The Biodome has several thousands of animal and plant species from different latitudes in the Americas. It contains indeed four ecosystems: the rainforest, Laurentian forest, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and North and South Poles.

The Biosphere

This environment museum, housed in the former U.S. pavilion from Expo 67 on Sainte-Hélène island, present interactive activities and exhibitions on major environmental issues related to water, air, climate change and sustainable development. Nearly all of the Biosphere, you can visit the ecological solar house, which demonstrates that it is possible to build a house that respects the environment while meeting the needs of daily life, and a wetland that has for use in a natural way to treat wastewater from the Biosphere.

Notre-Dame Basilica

Notre-Dame is one of the most valuable buildings of the religious heritage of Québec. True gallery of religious art, the Basilica annually receives hundreds of thousands of visitors, attracted by its splendor Gothic carved wood, stained glass, paintings, sculptures ... You can visit the Basilica during a visit of twenty minutes or a guided tour of 2 hours.

Montreal’s Olympic Stadium

Montreal's Olympic Stadium was opened for the Summer Olympics of 1976. With a capacity of 65,000 seats and provided, according to original plans, a retractable roof, it is the largest stadium in Canada. The tower 175 meters high overlooking the stadium is the largest inclined tower in the world. Access is by funicular glass cabin which allows an impressive overview of the city and the top floor of the tower is an observatory with an unparalleled view can be worn on a clear day, 80 km to the round.