Montreal Sightseeing

• A WorldWeb.com Travel Guide for Montreal, Quebec.
Montreal's metro is a quick and easy way to travel around the city. Consisting of 68 stations at present and spread out over four lines, the metro stops at or near major attractions, venues and services throughout the city and provides service for an estimated 700,000 commutes daily. Visitors can also use it to their advantage, hitting hot tourist spots while saving time and money.

TOURIST DESTINATIONS

Montreal's cityscape is composed of districts or neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct atmosphere and featured attractions. Reach many of these popular hangouts via the metro, and also find an assortment of shops, restaurants and museums central to Montreal's charm and allure.

Montreal's downtown is a fusion of old and new, with modern skyscrapers and historic churches setting the backdrop. The area is encompassed by Rue Sherbrooke to the north, Rene-Levesque Boulevard to the south, St-Laurent Boulevard to the east and Rue Drummond to the west. A hub of excitement, this cosmopolitan area features major museums, department stores, the city's main railroad station and many luxury hotels.

Retreat from cold winters and humid summers in the Underground City, a network of shops, restaurants, banks and cinemas located beneath Montreal's downtown streets and accessible by several metro stations. Above ground, visitors can explore the districts and neighbourhoods of Montreal's downtown area, including Chinatown, Quartier du Musee, Quartier des Spectacles and Quartier International de Montreal.


Chinatown
Metro Stop: Place-d'Armes
Montreal's Chinatown is a vibrant district, filled with restaurants and shops delivering Asian flavour and style. Its origins date back to the 1860s, when Chinese immigrants made their way to Montreal for work and new opportunities. The first Chinese laundry opened in 1877 on the corner of St-Antoine and Jeanne-Mance streets, followed by Sun Ling Lung, the first grocery store in the area. Built in 1826, the Wing Building is the oldest structure in Chinatown and today houses a fortune cookie manufacturing plant. Visitors to the district are greeted by two white stone lions gracing the entrance on Boulevard St-Laurent, and the pagodas of the Holiday Inn Select Montreal Centreville are examples of Chinese influence and style. Holidays and festivals are celebrated in the streets, with vendors hawking traditional crafts and exotic foods.

Quartier du Musee
Metro Stop: Guy Concordia/Peel
Art, fashion and culture reign supreme in the Quartier du Musee, or Museum Quarter, with a multitude of high-end boutiques, art galleries and fine-dining establishments located along its main streets of Crescent, de la Montagne and Sherbrooke. A central landmark is the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, showcasing contemporary Canadian talent as well as classic masterpieces from international artists. Go for a walk in the neighbourhood and enjoy viewing old Victorian-style buildings and structures influenced by Anglo-Saxon and Italian architecture.

Quartier des Spectacles
Metro stop: Place-des-Arts
Quartier des Spectacles is the quintessential spot for some of Montreal's most popular events, including the Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs. Bars, performance halls and cultural venues line the streets of this downtown sector, making for a lively and entertaining stop. Popular attractions include the Monument Nationale, the National Theatre School of Canada, the Metropolis, a trendy concert venue, and the Musee d'Art Contemporain de Montreal, exclusively dedicated to showcasing contemporary artworks.

Quartier International de Montreal
Metro Stops: Square-Victoria/Bonaventure/Place-d'Armes
Linking the city's business district with Old Montreal, the Quartier International de Montreal (QIM) is an urban area dedicated to architecture, design, arts and culture. Take a break in the newly restored Victoria Square and admire the water jets and rows of meticulously planted trees, or visit Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, a plaza named after the Quebec artist that designed its elaborate fountain La Joute, or the Joust. The Palais des Congres (convention centre) is a major international draw, hosting several events and meetings throughout the year. The modern design of the building and the use of light and colour achieves a dynamic atmosphere.

Old Montreal and Old Port
Metro Stop: Cote-Vertu
A walk around Old Montreal will leave visitors enchanted by the 18th- and 19th-century architecture lining its cobbled streets. Museums, boutiques, art galleries and sidewalk cafes are all found along its narrow pathways, including Rue St Paul, Montreal's oldest street. Many of the city's popular historic attractions are located here, including the breathtaking Notre Dame Basilica across from Place d'Armes, and favourite summer hangout Place Jacques Cartier, lined with street artists, outdoor cafes and kiosks. An obelisk marks where Montreal's first settlers landed in 1642 at what was then called Ville Marie, and at the Champs de Mars, remains of fortified walls are visible. Enjoy people-watching while strolling along the promenade Rue de la Commune, situated along the Old Port. The romance and charm of Old Montreal is best captured during the night, when buildings and monuments are illuminated, basking in their glorious past and present beauty.

Parc du Mont-Royal
Metro Stops: To reach St. Joseph's Oratory get off at Cote-des-Neiges and for the park get off at the Mont-Royal stop
Spanning an area of nearly 200 hectares (500 acres), Parc du Mont-Royal, affectionately known as the "mountain" by locals, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the architect of New York's Central Park. Three peaks make up the park, including Outremont, Westmount and Mont-Royal itself. Opened to the public in 1876, Parc du Mont-Royal continues to be a popular destination for tourists and Montrealers alike, with several activities available year-round. Beaver Lake on the hill is an attractive area for a picnic and a refreshing dip, and is equipped with changing rooms and snack bars. Main attractions flanking the hill include the towering St. Joseph's Oratory, historic cemeteries like Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery (Catholic) and Mont Royal Cemetery (non-denominational but mainly Protestant), and the University of Montreal's campus. Lookouts on the hill include an area called the Chalet, offering panoramic views of the city and the river.

Parc Jean-Drapeau
Metro Stop: Jean-Drapeau
Situated in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, Parc Jean-Drapeau consists of the islands of Sainte-Helene and the man-made Notre-Dame, both chosen for the location of Expo 67. Between 1963 and 1967, Sainte-Helene Island was expanded using 25,400,000 tonnes (28,000,000 tons) of backfill and Notre-Dame Island was entirely created from scratch, using earth and rocks removed during excavations from the metro construction. Main highlights include the Montreal Casino, housed in the former Quebec and French Expo Pavilions, and the amusement park La Ronde, also the site for the Montreal International Fireworks Competition held in the summer. Walk through the gardens, swim at the aquatic complex, relax on the beach or explore the trails scattered around the islands.

Little Italy
Metro Stop: Jean-Talon
Make a stop at Little Italy for a taste of Italian culture, fashion and food, all the while admiring the churches and architecture. Many Italian families settled in the Montreal area after the Second World War, continuing their traditions and upholding their roots. Walk down St-Laurent Boulevard, which features Italian designers, and then head for Rue Dante, lined with cafes, trattorias and shops serving authentic Italian cuisine and specialty coffees. The Jean-Talon Market, a major attraction in this area, explodes with freshness. Hundreds of stalls and gourmet shops sell fresh produce, meats, cheese, baked goods and other food products.

The Plateau
Metro Stop: Mont-Royal
This trendy neighbourhood is located northeast of Montreal's downtown area. During its start as a working class area, the Plateau was home to many foreigners that arrived to new beginnings. St-Laurent Boulevard became known as the Main, and was predominantly Jewish, although the Plateau as a whole was a mix of several different cultures and traditions. Today it continues to feature a multitude of tastes and trends with old warehouses and homes having been converted into shops, boutiques and restaurants. A favourite stop is on St-Laurent Boulevard at Schwartz's Deli, famous for its smoked meat sandwiches.

Pole des Rapides
Metro Stop: Angrignon
Native Montrealers and tourists flock to Pole des Rapides, located on the southwest part of the island by the St. Lawrence River and Lachine Canal. Visitors will find bicycle trails, picnic areas, and historic and cultural sites. Attractions include the Atwater and Lachine markets, Fleming Mill Historical Interpretive Centre and Angrignon Park. The Parc des Rapides offers views of the Lachine Rapids and opportunities for birdwatching. Water sports include rafting, kayaking and canoeing, and throughout the year festivals and activities abound in the surrounding boroughs of Lachine, LaSalle, Le Sud-Ouest and Verdun.

Quartier Latin
Metro Stop: Berri-UQAM
The Quartier Latin is a cultural and commercial centre, first settled by Montreal's Francophone middle class at the beginning of the 19th century. Today the area encompasses several theatres and cinemas, including the Quartier Latin Movie Theatre. Educational and cultural establishments are also found in the district, such as the Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Cegep of Old Montreal and the Bibliotheque Nationale du Quebec. A mixture of merchants and restaurants round out Quartier Latin's attractions making the area a featured spot for Montreal culture and experiences.

The Village
Metro Stops: Berri-UQAM/Beaudry
Montreal's Village is one of the largest gay and lesbian communities in North America. The atmosphere is vibrant and energetic, and a variety of cafes, boutiques, nightclubs and antique shops line the streets. A rainbow of colours marks the Beaudry metro station, serving as a symbol of diversity and acceptance in the community. Several festivals and annual events are held in the Village, including the Divers/Cite pride parade in August, which celebrates sexual diversity, and the Black and Blue Festival held in October, a non-stop circuit party. Montreal hosted the first World Outgames in 2006 and continues to welcome and support alternative lifestyles.

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