Tourist Attractions in Montreal
With its varied history and cultural heritage, there are plenty of places to go and things to do for visitors to the region. Below are some of the more popular places of interest and sights to see in Montreal…
Montreal Old Port
The historic port of Montreal runs along the St. Lawrence River and with it's cobbled streets and European-style architecture, it could easily be mistaken for a European city. Due to this, parts of the Old Port are regularly used as film sets for movies set in a European city. The area remains largely unspoiled and streets such as St-Paul have changed little in the last 200 years. The streets are lined with boutiques, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes, as well as several boutique-style hotels. There are events and activities throughout the year, and visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as walking, roller blading and cruises along the river.
Visible from many miles around, Mount-Royal is suitably named, and is the clear reason why the city became better and then formally known as Montreal, rather than the original name of Ville-Marie. With its large park areas, many kilometers of pathways and panoramic views of the city, Mount-Royal attracts tourists and locals looking for wide open spaces without leaving the city. The Mount is also the location of the Mt-Royal and Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemeteries, which are two of Canada's largest. These are the final resting place of many notable characters from the history of Montreal.
The Park hosts a wide variety of organised activities and events throughout the year.
- Mount Royal Park
Tel: 514 843 8240
Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal
Started in 1904 as a small chapel, work on the basilica as it stands today was not completed until 1967. The basilica is dedicated to Saint Joseph, who Brother André credited with all his miracles. The building is supposed to have healing powers and many pilgrims have traveled to St-Joseph's to seek a cure for various disabilities and illnesses. One of the walls of the basilica is covered with crutches from those who have allegedly been healed after visiting. Guided tours of the building and site are available.
- Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal
At: 3800 Queen Mary Road, Montreal, H3V 1H6
Tel: 514 733 8211
Completed in 1829, the Notre-Dame Basilica, with its Gothic revival architecture and opulent wooden interior attracts many visitors each year. Along with the intricacies of the building itself, there are paintings, sculptures and stained glass windows illustrating biblical events and parish events from the city's history. A small charge is levied for tourist entry, but admission is free for Mass, prayer and meditation.
- Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
At: 110 Notre-Dame Street West, Montreal, H2Y 1T2
Tel: 514 842 2925
Open: Daily for prayer from 07:30; for visitors Monday to Friday 08:00-16:30, Saturday 08:00-16:00, Sunday 12:30-16:00
One of Montreal's most imposing buildings, the Marché Bonsecours was completed in 1847 and housed the city's main agricultural marketplace for over a hundred years. It was also the City Hall between 1852 and 1878. Today the building houses a modern marketplace with fashion boutiques, cafés and exhibitions. Some of the upper floors contain municipal offices, a large banqueting hall and conference rooms.
- Marché Bonsecours
At: 350 St-Paul Street East, Old Montreal, H2Y 1H2
Tel: 514 872 7730
Open: Daily from 10:00
Montreal's underground city or La Ville Souterraine is one of the largest complexes of its kind in the world. Connecting many of the Downtown buildings, shopping malls and universities, the complex has approximately 32 Km of tunnels and passages with shops, boutiques, cafés and food courts. The complex gives access to many of the hotels, offices, banks and condo facilities of the Downtown area, without the need to venture outside during the cold winter months.
- For a map of the Underground city: Click here
Montreal hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1976 and most of the infrastructure built for these games is still in use today. The largest facility is the Olympic Stadium (also known as the Big O), which has the tallest inclined tower in the world. A glass funicular takes passengers to the top of the tower to give them a spectacular view of the Montreal skyline.
Next to the Olympic stadium is the Biodome, which was the Olympic Velodrome. The Biodome is part of the Space for Life museum complex, built around the Olympic park, that gives visitors the opportunity to see various aspects of nature and science.
On the south side of the Olympic stadium is the Esplanade Financière Sun Life, which hosts a wide variety of events ranging from concerts to mass yoga sessions.
- For more information on the Olympic park, and the events and activities taking place there: Click here
- For more information on the Space for Life science and nature museums: Click here
Spread across two islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, Parc Jean-Drapeau has an extensive calendar of activities throughout the year. The larger of the islands is Ile Ste-Hélène, home to the La Ronde theme park. Another permanent feature is the swimming complex with three pools and various swimming events during the warmer months.
The Island also hosts many music festivals and events throughout the year such as Piknik Electronik and Ocheaga. During the winter months a snow village is built complete with hotel, spa, nightclub, restaurant and a chapel.
The second island, Ile Notre-Dame, is best known for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, home of the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Other highlights of the island include the casino, gardens and the lakeside beach on the south.
- For full details on events and activities available at Parc Jean-Drapeau: Click here