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The best things to do in Montreal

The best things to do in Montreal

Montréal landmarks
High-rises aren’t all that makes Montreal stand out. Canada’s second largest city offers a number of notable attractions.

Most people associate Canada with endless wilderness and breathtaking nature. In addition, the North American country also attracts with interesting cities such as Montreal in the French-speaking province of Quebec.

You could occasionally run into problems in Montreal with just a knowledge of English. French is the official language in Canada’s second largest city after Toronto. Less than 20 percent of the 1.6 million inhabitants mainly speak English, almost 60 percent French. This makes Montreal in Canada the second largest francophone city in the world – after Paris.

Montreal is located on an island in the Saint Lawrence River on the edge of the French-speaking province of Quebec in eastern Canada. It is 556 kilometers from Toronto.

Montreal – from a mission station to a cosmopolitan city

The history of Montreal began with the French officer Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve and the lay sister Jeanne Mance. The two founded a Catholic mission station, which later became the settlement of Montreal, which was named after the nearby mountain Mont Royal (Royal Mountain). Today, Montreal has grown into a cosmopolitan city, hosting the 1967 World’s Fair and the 1976 Summer Olympics. Actually, the Winter Games could also take place here, because the winters in Montreal are cold and snowy, while the summers are short but comparatively warm with an average of 26 degrees.

Montréal Winter
Snowy and cold: Montreal in winter

The best things to do in Montreal

old town

Montreal has 49 important sites. Tourists are mainly drawn to Vieux-Montréal, the old town on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. The oldest building there is the seminary of the Supizian order from 1687. The town hall and the huge market hall Marché Bonsecours, which was built from 1844, are impressive. The neoclassical building is 163 meters long and is crowned by an eye-catching dome. Inside there are boutiques, cafes and restaurants.

Bonsecours Market, Montreal
Bonsecours Market in Old Montreal

Downtown

Downtown, on the other hand, high-rise buildings dominate. But sometimes life also takes place underground: The Ville Intérieure (underground city) is a network of tunnels and underground shopping arcades with a total area of ​​twelve square kilometers – just right for going shopping in icy winters without cold feet.

Underground Montréal
Shopping arcade in the underground city of Montreal

Churches and other sights

There is much to see in Montreal, a city that alone has 600 churches: Among them the St. Joseph’s Oratory, the tallest church in Canada at 97 meters, and the Notre-Dame de Montréal. Also worth seeing are Chinatown, the Olympic Stadium and the residential complex Habitat 67, which consists of 354 concrete blocks. Not pretty, but impressive.

St. Joseph's Oratory, Montreal
97 meters high: St. Joseph’s Oratory
Habitat 67 condominium complex, Montreal

Pure concrete: the residential complex Habitat 67 

parks

Green is also plentiful in Montreal. For example the Parc du Mont-Royal on the mountain of the same name. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstedt, the planner of Central Park in New York. The botanical garden is also attractive, attracting visitors with 22,000 plant species and 30 themed gardens.

Important note : Information on entry requirements and the current corona situation in Canada can be found on the website of the Federal Foreign Office .

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