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In all four corners of the Island of Montreal, you’ll find captivating treasures from its history and culture, a wide range of attractions and activities, all against a backdrop of a festive, multicultural neighbourhood life with lots to entice the gourmet. Montreal is a great place to live – and that can’t be said of many big cities!
With its French and American influences, the main stage for Quebec culture and a place that has welcomed people from every horizon, Montreal is a wonderful cultural crossroad with an international reputation. Determinedly open to the world and modern, it is engagingly original.
Its downtown, its Latin quarter, Chinatown and Little Italy, its gay village, Plateau Mont-Royal and delightful Old Montreal, reminiscent of Europe, are definitely areas you should explore. You’ll discover a metropolis with both French and English architectural styles right next to the very first skyscrapers built in Canada. Direct your eyes towards the tall, winding staircases, the decorative cornices, the balconies… and above all, be daring and turn off the main streets to explore the small lanes – that’s where you’ll really experience the joie de vivre of Montrealers.
Each season offers its own set of surprises, so it’s impossible to be bored on this island. You’ll have a ball both day and night, and on top of all that, there are the festivals. Montrealers love taking possession of their streets, for such prestigious events as the International Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival and the International Fireworks Competition. And shopping? You’re in for a treat – an incredible number of boutiques and stores are spread throughout Montreal’s underground city, all linked by the Metro lines!
Finally, if you need a breath of fresh air and some relaxation, you may be surprised to learn that this island has over 700 parks and green spaces! In short, you can choose your own itinerary according to what you want to do or see. A good enough reason to allow Montreal to win you over!
A rich blend of cultures!
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Flavours of the region
Montreal’s gastronomy has an international reputation, and makes use of all the flavours of Quebec. It is said that you’ll eat better in Montreal than anywhere else in North America. Its fine gourmet restaurants and bistros use Quebec’s terroir products brilliantly. And, more than anywhere else, Montreal is the place to sample food from just about every country in the world!
Certain eateries, with their typically Montreal atmosphere, are not to be missed. The famous Montreal smoked meat originated on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, and its reputation has now spread far beyond our borders.
Did you know?
When Jacques Cartier climbed Mount Royal in 1535, did he suspect that it would become an exceptional natural area for Montrealers in 1876? A proposal for creating a park here was made a priority under pressure from residents in the surrounding area, who were watching their favourite leisure spot being denuded of trees by various firewood merchants. In response to the scepticism of certain opponents of the project, who claimed the mountain was inaccessible, Colonel Stevenson made two ascents of Mount Royal with artillery equipment, and fired cannon shots from its summit! What style! This certainly proved its accessibility. The work and the expropriations cost $1 million, a huge sum in those days.
A little history
If you travel on foot or by bike along the banks of the Lachine canal (excavated more than a century ago to bypass the rapids and allow merchandise to be transported by boat), you’d never guess that this pleasant area was once the economic and industrial heart of Montreal and Canada. At the turn of the century, thousands of men, women and children worked in deplorable conditions, living in tiny, unhealthy apartments. In an attempt to control the spread of diseases and epidemics associated with this unrestrained urbanization, public baths, built in suitable structures, began to appear in underprivileged neighbourhoods.
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