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Walk the elegant boulevards and take in the French and English influences that shaped the city. The city is home to the famous Notre-Dame Basilica, a testament to their European roots also seen throughout the city in their 18th century facades. Montreal’s Old World appeal is enhanced by its cosmopolitan facets that make it a lively city while still maintaining historical relevance. The city’s beauty and history become further evident in the eateries and unique festivals including the famous Mosaicultures Internationales. French is the official language and it perfectly sums up Montreal by saying it has a certain je ne se quois.
Take in the beauty of the city by cycling the banks of the Lachine Canal spanning nine miles and then stroll down the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal. Tour the Notre Dame Basilica, which was built in 1829 and houses a famous Casavant organ and the Gros Bourdon, allegedly the biggest bell in North America. Mount Royal Park is on the eponymous hill with three peaks that inspired the name of the city. Neighboring the park are the Alcan House, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Place Ville-Marie. The park is the largest greenspace in Montreal with a great view atop the peaks. From up top to down below, check out Underground City, one of the largest underground complexes in the world.
Things To Do
Though the Notre Dame Basilica is the most notable structure, there’s also the beautiful architecture of the Cathedral of Marie-Reine du Monde, St. Patrick’s Basilica, St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal and the McGill University. Shop to your heart’s content on St. Catherine Street with several high-end shops including Simon’s and Ogilvy’s; other complexes include The Eaton Center and the Montreal Trust. For opera aficionados, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal and for art lovers there’s the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The Botanical Garden is home to some of the most amazing landscape art sculptures and those interested in the environment can visit the Biosphère, a striking geodesic dome with its very own geothermal energy system and interactive displays. Families can visit the Biodome that includes walk through replicas of four ecosystems found in the Americans with over 4800 animals and 750 plant types. There’s also an Insectarium and the Granby Zoo and the Place des Arts’ Junior Theatre.
Food & Culture
Montreal has some of Canada’s premiere upscale restaurants featuring international cuisine with a French Canadian flair. Some notable eateries include the Fairmont Bagel, La Banquise for Canadian staple, poutine, and the Marche Jean-Talon located in Little Italy, the most diverse market in Montreal. Whatever you’re craving, you’re sure to find satisfactory cafes and restaurants along the market. There are tours of the food market available as well as the Ice Wine Tour in the winter, which takes you from Montreal to Quebec and delights your taste buds with the region’s renowned ice wine.
The Musee d’art Contemporain includes works from the 1940s onwards and is a more experimental foil to the works found at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Architecture buffs can check out the Canadian Centre for Architecture or the Lachine Museum, built in 1670, the former trading post is the oldest extant structure in the city. Why did the chicken cross the road? Tickle your funny bone at the Just For Laughs Museum, which includes comedy skits and one-of-a-kind exhibits meant to commemorate the role of humor in humanity.