Spotlight on Montreal

Palais des congrèsMontreal, the largest city in the province of Quebec, is located on the Island of Montreal and is surrounded by the waters of the Saint Lawrence River, Rivière des Prairies, Lac Saint-Louis and Lac des Deux-Montagnes. By road, it is just one-and-a-half hours from Ottawa, the Canadian capital, and two-and-a-half hours from Quebec City, the capital of the province of Quebec.

Montrealers are rightfully proud of their city’s unique skyline set against the backdrop of Mount Royal. Place Ville Marie anchors the skyline. This striking cruciform office tower, inaugurated in 1962 and known by locals as La Grande Dame de Montréal, houses offices, banks and over 80 boutiques and restaurants. And it is clad in aluminium!

Place Ville Marie was the first link in Montreal’s Underground City (RÉSO). This network of underground pedestrian passages links up many stores, restaurants, hotels, museums & theatres and many office buildings. It also provides indoor access to the Montreal metro system.

Bicycling is an integral part of Montreal, which boasts 550 kilometres of bike paths. Montreal is the starting point of the famous BIXI self-service bicycle sharing system. Entirely made in Quebec, and now known internationally, the BIXI bikes feature aluminium frames!

Montreal has a rich religious heritage, and its many churches and temples of various denominations earned it, in the 19th century, the nickname "city of one hundred steeples". The most important ones include Saint Joseph’s Oratory, the world’s largest church dedicated to Saint Joseph, Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, the first stone chapel in Montreal, and Notre-Dame Basilica, the second largest church in the Americas, located in the historic district of Old Montreals.

Montreal is a major centre of Quebec’s world-renowned effervescent culture. The city is home to many theatres, museums and concert halls. It is also a city of festivals, outdoor concerts and major cultural events. The Montreal Jazz Festival, which draws artists and visitors from around the world, and Les Francofolies are among its best known. Montreal has 12 maisons de la culture [cultural centres] that host events, shows and expositions, often with free admission.

Old Montreal boasts many historic sites, including Place Jacques-Cartier and Marché Bonsecours in addition to many fine restaurants, museums and boutiques. Its cobblestone streets and wandering street performers are sure to charm! Montreal’s Old Port stretches 2.5 km along the waterfront and offers sports activities for the whole family, guided tours, the Old Montreal Extravaganza festival, the Montreal Ghosts tour and much more.

Montreal’s Gay Village is North America’s largest gay quarter and among the world’s biggest. Montreal is one of a select group of gay capitals of the world. The Village is home to many excellent restaurants, cafés, bars, nightclubs, boutiques, bed and breakfasts and hotels.

Looking for a country getaway? Then head north of the city to the Laurentians or south to the Eastern Townships. These two tourism regions attract vacationers, skiers, snowboarders and cyclists all year round. And nature lovers never miss the fall colours from the third week of September to the second week of October.

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