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Bonsecours Market, Montreal
Bonsecours Market, (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / rabbit75can

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 to visit.



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).  The metro 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 Toronto.

Montreal city skyline

© Can Stock Photo / rabbit75can

Things to see and do in Montréal:

  • 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.  

St. Joseph's Oratory, Montreal

St. Joseph's Oratory, © Can Stock Photo Inc. / marcbruxelle

Olympic Stadium, Montreal

Olympic Stadium, © Can Stock Photo / JulienSirard

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montréal, © Can Stock Photo / rzocky2803

Things to see and do near Montréal:

Savor the Tastes of Montréal:

Old Port, Montreal

Old Port, Montréal, © Can Stock Photo / rabbit75can

Montréal Tours:

Hotels in Montréal:

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