Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest in Canada and the 8th-largest in North America. The city covers most of the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The port of Montreal lies at one end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the river gateway that stretches from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic.
Montréal is as romantically traditional as it is cutting-edge innovative, as cosmopolitan dynamic as it is small-town friendly. Yet despite this diversity, an underlying similarity exists in this vibrant population who collectively and confidently “live and let live”.
French is the city’s official language and is the language spoken at home; as Québécois French, by over 60% of the population of the city, followed by English and other languages.
A visit to the eastern Canadian city of Montreal is not complete without experiencing its fascinating art, culture, food and architecture.
Montréal is a slice of old Europe in a pie of contemporary design. A day’s wander might take in the photogenic 18th-century facades of Old Montréal before a cycling tour of the lovely Canal de Lachine, or take in the glittering shops and restaurants of downtown and ending at the inviting terraced cafes of Plateau Mont-Royal. The architectural sweep of the city takes in a wealth of heritage churches such as the breathtaking Basilique Notre-Dame, as well as 20th-century icons like the Stade Olympique and Habitat 67.
Discover Old Montreal On one hand, the Old Montréal is vibrant, artistic and trendy, while on the other hand, it reflects the city’s rich patrimonial heritage. Many centuries-old heritage buildings have been transformed into luxurious loft apartments, while the area’s cobblestone streets are lined with a multitude of art galleries, restaurants and chic boutiques; furthermore, the site of the first colony is now also home to the Cité du multimedia, a hotspot for hip young business and advertising professionals.
Outdoor Activities As an island city, Montréal is a fabulous outdoor destination. With 500 kilometres of bike trails, abundant green spaces, and water lapping up on our shore, Montréal has it all to get out there and get moving! Montréal is also elite on the international cycling scene. Our extensive network of cycling paths make us the envy of many a metropolis. Of course there’s the BIXI bike rental system, likely Montréal’s most enjoyable export that is now rolling across major cities around the world. It’s not surprising that Montréal was ranked as the 5th best bike city in North America by Outside Magazine in 2012.
Montreal by Night Experiencing Montréal by night is when you’ll really get to see what the city is all about – contagious and inclusive joie-de-vivre! Montréal’s nightlife scene is as varied as it is engaging, with something for everyone. Montréal’s nightlife adapts to the seasons: summer is all about outdoor festivals and patios, while winter features crowd-pleasing performances and shows. When you consider that we host some 108 festivals throughout the year alone, it’s pretty safe to say that no matter the language or the interest, when it comes to finding something to do in the evening, Montréal has something for everyone.
Explore the neighbourhoods The city is composed of 19 large boroughs, subdivided into neighbourhoods. The borough with the most neighbourhoods is Ville-Marie, which includes downtown, the historical district of Old Montreal, Chinatown, the Gay Village, the Latin Quarter, the recently gentrified Quartier international and Cité Multimédia as well as the Quartier des Spectacles which is currently under development.
Arts & Culture Culture in a myriad of forms runs rampant across Montréal. It’s not surprising, considering that the city’s Entertainment District alone is a 1 Sq. Km – hotbed of bustling cultural and entertainment action where the best and the brightest come to play. La Vitrine culturelle, a central box office for tickets, information and promotions on all the city’s events, makes it easy to get in on the action. In short, art is everywhere in this city where exciting events happen all year long – you just need to get out there and experience it!
Shopping Cracking the top 50 on the list of world fashion capitals according to the Global Language Monitor, Montréal is a city full of flair, style and innate fashion sense. Montrealers effortlessly combine original, vintage and trendy elements for a look all their own. From haute couture to ready-to-wear fashion, from antiques to art galleries, Montréal is a huge and eclectic shopping mecca. Start your spree on Sainte Catherine Street, one of North America’s longest and most dynamic shopping arteries. Its 15-kilometre length yields as many one-of-a-kind shops as big-name brand stores. From there, escape the heat (or cold!) via the underground pedestrian network, home to more than 1,700 shops and several department stores.
Dining As the city with the largest number of restaurants per capita in North America, chances are that you’re going to find just the region or type of food you crave in Montréal – and it’s going to be delicious! Ingenuity is the main ingredient in a unique cuisine that deftly mixes invention with tradition. The result? An inspired blend of local influences, daring world flavours and European heritage. What’s more, Montréal chefs work hand in hand with local purveyors and can often be found exploring the public markets for the inspiration and base of their next great creation. And if you don’t catch them at the market, chances are you’ll find them chatting up the patrons at their restaurant; Montréal’s culinary scene is also appetizingly accessible!
Toronto may be Canada’s economic capital, but Montréal remains the country’s cultural juggernaut, with some 250 theater and dance companies, over 90 festivals and a fascinating medley of neighborhoods where artists, writers and musicians have helped cement the city’s reputation as a great arts center.
The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is the headline event, followed by parties dedicated to world cinema, comedy and gay pride. There’s truly something for everyone at all times of the year. No matter the season, time or weather, we Montrealers flock to festivals like moths to a flame.
Igloofest: January Every winter thousands of electronic music lovers dance under the stars at the Quays of the Old Port of Montréal. With its icy décor blanketing steel structures, its striking architectural volumes, its programming drawing from the best local and international DJs, its igloo village, and its renowned “one piece” contest, Igloofest offers the hottest winter evenings in Montréal!
Montreal En Lumiere: Late February Revel in an atmosphere of light and warmth in the middle of winter. Hundreds of exceptional gastronomic and wine tasting activities, shows (music, dance, theater, circus…) and a free outdoor illuminated site in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles.
Montreal Grand Prix: Early June It’s not just about the race. It’s about a whole city coming alive with excitement! People arriving to Montreal from every part of the globe with one common objective – to get the most out of their 72 hours! Grand Prix Week with the Jet Set in Montreal is where it all begins.
Montreal International Jazz Festival: Late June – Early July Ranked as the world’s largest jazz festival by Guinness World Records, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has been synonymous with a passion for music for over three decades. Every year, North America’s French-speaking metropolis welcomes global music fans to 10 days of jazz centric celebration, where fans of all types of jazz-related music rub shoulders with aficionados of the genre in its purest form.
International Circus Arts Festival: Early July Enter the world of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE. This dazzling spectacle presents more than 100 circus artists from Canada, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and Wales. Indoor and outdoor performances instantly transport you to places you might have never known existed before.
Montreal International Comedy Festival: Mid July Just for Laughs is a comedy festival held each July in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Founded in 1983, it is the largest international comedy festival in the world. Just for Laughs has also been a launch-pad for many US network television and sitcom careers, and is frequently featured as a foreign on-location highlight of late-night US network talk shows.
Fashion & Design Festival: Mid August The Montréal Fashion and Design Festival will once again take over the city’s renowned and prestigious McGill College Avenue with its rich and diversified program. This highly glamorous event serves up a varied program that brings together the leading international fashion labels, a host of renowned national designers, exciting musical performances, design in real time, and countless special events, all in a decidedly unique ambiance. The Festival is a unique platform introducing to the biggest trends in fashion, design, music and shopping, a one of a kind event you don’t want to miss.
Montreal World film Festival: Last August Ranked among the most prestigious festivals in the world, the Montréal World Film Festival is open to cinema trends from around the world. Every year, films from more than 70 countries are presented. All theatres of the Festival are within walking distance of the Festival’s headquarters, not to mention numerous hotels and restaurants.
Christmas in the Park: December The Christmas in the Park festival welcomes Montrealers to experience the magic of Christmas village. Visitors will find free entertainment in the form of live music, poetry, bonfires, and many surprises. The festive spirit will charm youngsters, and adults will relive the magic of childhood.
Summers in Montreal during the day range from warm to hot (with high humidity) with a daily average of 21 to 22 °C (70 to 72 °F) in July; temperatures in excess of 30 °C (86 °F) occur often. Conversely, cool fronts can bring crisp, less humid and windy weather in the early and later parts of summer.
Winter usually brings cold, snowy, windy, and at times icy weather. With a daily average ranging from −9 to −10 °C (16 to 14 °F) in January. Spring and fall are pleasantly mild but prone to drastic temperature changes.