Montréal-- A City Worth its Reputation
Many images and ideas instantly spring to mind when speaking of Canada’s premiere French city and home of Quebecois. Montréal is not only the world’s second-largest French-speaking city but also a legendary cultural, art, and cuisine hub. There is an atmosphere in this vibrant city situated at the confluence of the St.Lawrence and Ottawa rivers amidst islands connected by waterways and bridges that everyone should experience. The eclectic vibe sizzles and is visible in this cosmopolitan city with a unique and embracing flair like no other. At first impression, one might think it’s quintessentially European, yet it is its own unique style that makes it French Canadian above all.
BonjourHi is becoming a popular greeting that speaks of an amalgamation of languages and cultures, though when visiting Montréal, culture dominates. Regardless of what ancestry is in one’s DNA, it’s impossible not to feel a strong connection with this city.
Only New York City has more restaurants per capita than Montréal in North America, and the menu is as international as its people and served with a French touch.
Montréal, founded in 1642, has bragging rights as being the first city in North America of the distinguished honor and earning a UNESCO City of Design award that speaks to its effort of being an economic and socially developed metropolis. First Nations are also deeply intertwined in Montréal’s history and are a significant factor in its heritage.
The city sprouted around Mont-Royal, the hill with three peaks, and its name is derived from this source. A splendid park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted of NYC Central Park fame, is like a slice of Eden amidst the surrounding blue waters. Restrictions that no building in the city can be taller than the cross located in Mont-Royal park ensure a pristine view. Within the city’s urban agglomeration, roughly 4 million inhabitants call Montréal home, while the inner core is home to about 1.7 million, of whom 71% speak French at home and 19% speak English.
Beneath the city is the underworld. A 20 mile stretch of interconnected tunnels houses 2000+ stores, seven metro stations, banks, hotels, business complexes, restaurants, museums, universities, offices, to name some, is as diverse as the above-ground city. The RESO or the true Downtown Montréal acts as a retreat from the summer heat and is a haven during the ‘typical’ Montréal winter.
Montréal also serves as headquarters for the world-famous Cirque du Soleil, numerous consulates, is home of the International Civil Aviation Organization, hosted Expo 67, which is still considered the most outstanding fair hosted in the 20th century. Also, in 2017 the Economist Intelligence Unit hailed Montréal as the 12th-best livable city. Another draw that makes this city succeed is its affordable university tuition in top-notch learning facilities.
But for the fun part, Montréal has a long list of entertainment venues to be proud of. None more so than its world-famous reputation for hosting the largest International Jazz Festival globally. The Just for Laugh Festival, Montréal Beer Fest, Reggae Fest, Film Fest, and the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 race also draw a crowd.
Top Attractions aside from simply walking, eating, dancing, and exploring this city at your leisure are:
Mont-Royal Park-the heart of the city
Old Montréal-17th century cobbled streets
Notre-Dame Basilica-a masterpiece of Gothic Revival Architecture
St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal-Canada’s largest church
Montréal Botanical Gardens-75 hectares of themed gardens
Musée des beaux-art de Montréal a home for fine art
Jean-Talon Market- farmer’s market in Little Italy district
Pointe-a Calliere-Archeology and History Museum
Old Port of Montréal-used by traders as early as 1611
Atwater Market-specially market for high quality and fresh products
Montréal Metro-best transportation to explore the city
Rue St. Paul- Montréal’s oldest street
La Grande Roue de Montréal-Ferris Wheel
Bell Centre is Habs territory. Fun fact: The H stands for Hockey not Habitants.
McGill University-founded in 1821
Plateau Mont Royal-quaint street with restaurants and shops
Grevin Montréal-Wax museum great for kids
St. Patrick’s Basilica-a historical monument
Chalet Du Mont Royal-rowboat rental and picnic park
Science Centre-a place for all ages
Regardless of what suits your fancy, Montréal is the city that caters to all forms of entertainment and life experiences. Only one question remains: When are you going?
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