Montréal, Canada

The vibrant City of Montréal is known for its fashion sense, historical quarters and exceptional cuisine. Old Montréal ‘Vieux-Montréal’ is the main tourist hub with its many picturesque old buildings that date back to the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries. A highlight is a visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica, strolling down Rue Saint-Paul, wandering around Bonsecours Market and enjoying the open-air space of Place Jacques-Cartier. In a corner of Place Royale in Vieux-Montréal is the Pointe-à-Callière, now marked by a striking modern building housing a Museum of Archaeology and History.

As you stroll around Old Montréal, you will end up in the vibrant area situated along the Saint Lawrence River known as the Old Port ‘Vieux-Port’. There are plenty of things to do here including the Giant Ferris Wheel, La Grande Rou de Montréal, the Clock Tower, the Montreal Science Centre and even a Zipline that descends from great heights over the water.

The views from Mont-Royal, sits at 233 metres above the city and is the green heart close to the city centre. A stroll through this lovely park enables the visitor to see monuments to Jacques Cartier and King George VI. Be sure to spend some time by Lac-aux-Castors. At the top you will have superb panoramic views over the Île de Montréal and St. Lawrence River.

Montréal's oldest Church, Notre-Dame Basilica was founded in 1656 along with the twin towers of the Neo-Gothic façade face Place d'Armes. The highlight of the Basilica are the magnificent carved pulpit, the 7,000 pipe organ and the stained glass windows portraying scenes from the founding of Montréal. There is an admission charge to see the Basilica however, this includes a 20 minute tour.

Located close to the Sherbrooke Metro Station, you will find the Square Saint-Louis, one of Montréal's prettiest old squares set in a turn of the Century French-Canadian residential quarter with attractive Victorian houses. Sitting along the square’s eastern side, Rue St. Denis is one of the hippest shopping, arts and dining streets in Montréal. At one end, St. Denis starts in the student area of the Quartier Latin neighbourhood and moves west into the trendy Plateau area with its independent designers and upscale restaurants.

The Musée des Beaux Arts is the oldest Museum in Canada. Its outstanding collections of World Cultures and Mediterranean Archaeology total nearly 10,000 objects. The Museum houses more than 1,400 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints include masterpieces by El Greco, Pieter Bruegel the Younger, Canaletto, Gainsborough, Goya, Mantegna, Cézanne, Dali, Poussin and Rembrandt to name just a few.

The Atwater Market and Jean-Talon Market are Montréal's busiest public markets and well worth visiting for their atmosphere and local food specialties and products. Located in warehouse style buildings, the markets feature vendors selling fruits and vegetables, flowers, meats, fish, cheese, baked goods and specialty items. The markets are a favourite stop for locals on Saturday mornings for a boule of coffee and a flaky croissant. You will definitely be able to pick up a local souvenir to take home while here.

Parc Maisonneuve ‘Pie IX Metro’ is the site of Montréal’s visionary Jardin Botanique. The diverse plants are grown in 30 themed Gardens and 10 exhibition Greenhouses. Outdoor Gardens include the beautiful Japanese and Chinese Gardens, as well as those devoted to alpine, aquatic, medicinal, shade, useful, and even toxic plants. The Rose displays are superb and there is an interesting garden devoted to plants that are grown or used by First Nations peoples.

Montréal's Chinatown is centered on Rue de la Gauchetière with Chinese Gates marking the heart of the Quarter. This colourful neighbourhood dates back to the 1860’s, when many of the Chinese labourers, who originally came to work in the mines and build the railroad, moved into the cities in search of a much better life.

Some of the other places to visit while in Montréal include the Oratoire Saint-Joseph, near the western exit from Mont-Royal Park and is dedicated to Canada's Patron Saint. It is a mecca for pilgrims, with its huge Renaissance style domed Basilica that dates back to 1924.

The Montréal Biodome is a must-see attraction when visiting, especially if you have children. This gigantic complex is home to four different indoor ecosystems: the Tropical Rainforest, the Sub-Antarctic Islands, the Laurentian Maple Forest and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The McCord Museum has an exceptional collection of exhibits on Canada's social history, especially native peoples. Housing collections of costumes, clothing, accessories, quilts and other handmade textiles that total more than 20,000 objects and include works by local Montréal fashion designers.

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