The city of Montréal was founded in 1642. It is
located in the province of Quebec, which is
different than the city of Quebec. Montréal is named
after the hills in the city known as Mount Royal. The urban
population is around 4 million. French is the official language
and its use is strongly supported by the provincial government.
Less than 20% of those in Montréal speak English. Montréal was surpassed
by Toronto in the 1970s as the economic leader of Canada and is no
longer its most populated city. The St Lawrence River provides
freighter access to the Great Lakes and cruise ship access to the city
from the Atlantic. French Canadians pronounce the city name as "ma
n ray al" while English speaking
Canadians lean toward "mun tree all". Montréal hosted
the Summer Olympic Games in 1976 and the World Fair in 1967 (Expo 67).
Montréal experiences the temperature variations associated with a continental
climate in a northern latitude. Expect average highs of 80 F (25 C) and lows around 60 F (16 C) in the
summer months of June to August. In the winter months average
highs are below freezing and extremely cold temperatures of -30 are
possible at times. Precipitation is spread fairly evenly
throughout the year, although rainfall is slightly higher from July
through September. Fall colors make late August an attractive time
Montréal is serviced by Pierre Elliott Trudeau International
Airport (YUL). It is also known as Dorval Airport and it is the headquarters for Air
Canada. A cab ride between the airport and downtown will usually
take less than a half hour. A shuttle bus also operates between the airport and
the downtown bus terminal. The subway (metro) and buses in Montréal are operated by Société de transport de Montréal (STM).
has 4 lines and provides access to most tourist attractions in the
city. There is also a regional rail system. Via Rail connects passengers with Quebec and
Old Montréal (Vieux-Montréal) - Place d'Armes is a
great spot to start a walking tour of the Old Town. It has a
statue in tribute to Sieur de Masionneuve, the founder of Montréal.
On the square is Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique
Notre-Dame), which was constructed in the 1820s. Next to
Notre-Dame is the Sulpician Seminary, built in 1685 by the Roman
Catholic Sulpician Order. Around the corner from the Seminary
is the Centaur Theatre.
At the other end of the square from Notre-Dame is Canada's first bank - the Bank of Montréal.
From the bank, wander down Rue Saint-Jacques past the head offices in the business
district. From Rue Saint-Jacques, walk down Sainte Helene and Recollett Streets
to view the 1870s
architecture. There are a number of picturesque streets in
this area. By the St Lawrence River at the Old Port is an obelisk erected in 1893
that commemorates the
founding of the city. The Museum of Archaeology and
History (Pointe-à-Callière Museum)
is located here. In the Old Port, try the Amphi-Bus
and see the Montréal Science Center (Centre Des Sciences De Montréal).
Next walk north along the seafront on Rue de la
Commune or wander through the interesting buildings on Rue
Saint-Paul. Again there are many interesting side
streets. Back on Rue Notre-Dame a couple blocks north of the
basilica, brings you to the Court Houses, Nelson's Column, Place Jacques Cartier
and City Hall. Then finish off the tour by returning to the
river and Bonsecours Market, known for its high end shops.
There is a park and you can walk out on the quay to
visit the Clock Tower (Tour de l'horloge). At the outer edge
of the Old Port is Habitat 67, which is a housing project built for Expo
67. Try river surfing in the rapids nearby.
Royal (Parc du Mont-Royal) - more than 300 acres of park, designed by Frederick Law
Olmsted who also designed Central Park in New York. The park
was named by explorer Jacques Cartier in 1535 and there is a plaque
honoring him at the lookout. Overlooking the park is St. Joseph's Oratory (Oratoire Saint-Joseph).
There's no admission to this Roman Catholic church. View the heart of
Brother Andre, which is kept in a jar.
Underground City - more than 20 miles (30 km) of
pathways under the city. It is located roughly between Peel and Place-des-Arts metro stations on the Green Line and between Lucien-L'Allier and Place-d'Armes stations on the Orange Line.