Tag: Montreal Quebec

Montreal, Quebec

A- Overview:
Montréal is a modern and colorful city offering the perfect blend of historic buildings, modern structures, and skyscrapers. Below the ground, another city exists, where extremes of heat and cold are unknown. To the west and north of downtown are mainly English speaking commercial and residential neighborhoods, centered around Westmount. To the east and north are French speaking quartiers, notably Outremount and Plateau Mont-Royal. In between are the many dialects and cultures of residents and business people from around the globe.

Montréal, home to a third of the population of the province of Quebec, occupies about one-third (60 square miles) of the island of Montréal, which is part of the Hochelaga Archipelago. The island is situated in the St. Lawrence River near where it joins the Ottawa River. At the city’s center is a 764-foot hill called Mont-Royal, from which the city takes its name. Nearby rise more mountains: the Laurentides (the Laurentians), the oldest mountain range in the world. The foothills of the Appalachian mountains separate Québec from the United States and add to the province’s beauty.

Two cultural traditions live side by side throughout Québec and in the nine provinces of English Canada, but the blending occurs in a particularly intense fashion in Montréal. French speakers constitute 66% of the city’s population, while most of the remaining residents are speakers of many other languages, but predominately English and Spanish.

Montreal is experiencing phenomenal growth and success. Unemployment in Québec, has shrunk to under 7%, the lowest mark in more than 2 decades and below that of Toronto. Crime in Montréal, already one of the safest cities in North America, has hit a 20-year low.

Favorable currency exchange and the presence of skilled workers have made the city a favored site for Hollywood film and TV production. A billion-dollar building boom has filled vacant plots of land all over downtown. The old hockey arena has been converted to a dining and entertainment center called Forum Pepsi, and La Ronde, a popular amusement park, has been given an exciting new look by the Six Flags empire’s multi-million dollar renovation.

The subway system, (the Métro), is modern and rapid. Streets are clean and safe. Montréal’s restaurants are known for their fine and varied cuisine and their reasonable prices.

The city has fantastic parks and gardens. The huge Parc du Mont Royal offers year round recreational opportunities including walking, picnicking, jogging, horseback riding, bicycling, tobogganing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing.

The jazz and art scene immediately engage the visitor, and the nightlife is unrivaled in its zest and variety. Montreal is a city of culture, of tradition, of excitement and of promise. It is culturally diverse and always interesting. It is a place to visit as often as possible. There is always yet another delightful corner of this fascinating, fun city to discover.

B- City Information:
Population: 3.4 million

Area: 61 sq. miles

Time: Eastern Standard Time (When it is 12:00 Noon in New York City; it is 12:00 Noon in Montreal.

When to Go

Summer and fall are popular because of the mild weather and a number of festivals: the 10-day Festival International de Jazz in late June, the International Fireworks Competition in late June and July, and the World Film Festival and Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in August. For winter sports enthusiasts, December – March are the months of choice. Fierce weather is never a problem in Montreal – visitors can always retreat to the pleasant year-round climate of the Underground City! Montreal is beautiful at any time of the year.

The following are the average monthly temperature ranges for Montréal:

Month
High
Low

January
23F
9F

February
25F
12F

March
36F
23F

April
52F
36F

May
65F
48F

June
74F
58F

July
79F
63F

August
76F
61F

September
68F
53F

October
57F
43F

November
42F
32F

December
27F
16F

Holidays

New Year’s Day, (January 1)

Good Friday, Easter Monday,

Victoria Day (third Monday in May)

St. Jean Baptiste Day (June 24) is a provincial holiday.

Canada Day (July 1)

Labour Day (first Monday in September)

Thanksgiving (second Monday in October)

Remembrance Day (November 11)

Christmas, and Boxing Day (December 25, December 26)

Banks & Offices

Most banks in Canada are open Monday through Thursday 10-3 and Friday 10-5 or 6. Some banks are open longer hours and also on Saturday morning. All banks are closed on national holidays. Banks, shopping malls, many large hotels, and some gas stations have automated teller machines (ATMs) that are accessible around the clock.

Museums & Sights

Hours at museums vary, but most open at 10 or 11 and close in the evening. Some smaller museums close for lunch. Many museums are closed on Monday; some make up for it by staying open late on Wednesday, often waiving admission.

Churches are usually closed and locked (to prevent vandalism) except during scheduled religious services The Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal, however, is open daily, usually from 9-6.

Customs & Duties

Arriving in Canada

For information, contact: Revenue Canada (2265 St. Laurent Blvd. S, Ottawa, ON K1G 4K3, 204/983-3500; 800/461-9999 in Canada).

Emergencies

Ambulance, fire, police ( 911).

Hospital Emergency Rooms

Montréal General Hospital (1650 av. Cedar, 514/937-6011).

Late-Night Pharmacies

Many pharmacies are open until midnight, including Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix. Some are open around the clock, including the Pharmaprix on chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges.

Guided Tours

Boat Tours

From May through October, Amphi Tour ( 514/849-5181 or 514/386-1298) offers a unique one-hour tour of Vieux-Montréal and the Vieux-Port on both land and water in an amphibious bus.

Bateau-Mouche ( 514/849-9952) runs four harbor excursions and an evening supper cruise daily May through October. The boats are reminiscent of the ones that cruise the canals of the Netherlands : wide-beamed and low-slung, with a glassed-in passenger deck. Boats leave from the Jacques Cartier Pier at the foot of Place Jacques-Cartier in the Vieux-Port.

Bus Tours

Gray Line ( 514/934-1222) offers almost a dozen different tours of Montréal and environs from May through October, fewer the rest of the year. It has pickup service at the major hotels and at Info-Touriste (1001 Sq. Dorchester).

The double-decker buses of Imperial Tours ( 514/871-4733) follow a nine-stop circuit of the city. You can get off and on as often as you like and stay at each stop as long as you like. There’s pickup service at major hotels.

Language

Although Canada has two official languages : English and French : the province of Québec has only one. French is the language you hear most often on the streets in Québec; it is also the language of government, businesses, and schools. Most French Canadians speak English as well, but it is useful to learn a few French phrases before you go. Canadian French has many distinctive words and expressions.

Money

ATMs

ATMs are widely available.

Currency

The units of currency in Canada are the Canadian dollar and the cent, in almost the same denominations as U.S. currency ($5, $10, $20, 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, etc.). The $1 and $2 bill are no longer used; they have been replaced by $1 and $2 coins (known as a “loonie” because of the picture of a loon that appears on the coin, and a “toonie,” respectively).

Taxes

A goods and services tax (GST) of 7% applies on virtually every transaction in Canada except for the purchase of basic groceries.

A $15 airport tax (for capital improvements) is charged when you leave. You can pay cash or with a credit card.

You can get a refund of the GST paid on purchases taken out of the country and on short-term accommodations of less than one month, and more than two days.Rebate forms, are available from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (Visitor Rebate Program, Summerside Tax Centre, 275 Pope Rd., Suite 104, Summerside, PE C1N 6C6, 902/432-5608; 800/668-4748 in Canada, www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca). (Be sure to use the official government form. Private firms distribute “official looking” forms, obtain the refund from the government on your behalf, and charge a commission for the service. The government charges no fees. )

Always save the original receipts from stores and hotels (not just credit-card receipts), and be sure the name and address of the establishment is shown on the receipt. Original receipts are not returned. To be eligible for a refund, receipts must total at least $200, and each individual receipt must show a minimum purchase of $50.

Telephones

The country code for Canada is 1. The area code for Montréal is 514. You do not need to dial the three-digit area code when making a call from within the same code.

Arriving & Departing

By Air

Dorval International Airport (YUL) (975 blvd. René-Vachon, Dorval, 514/394-7377), 221⁄2 km (14 mi) west of the city, handles all scheduled foreign and domestic flights and some charter operations.

Mirabel International Airport (YMX) (12600 rue Aérogare, Mirabel, 514/394-7377), 541⁄2 km (34 mi) northwest of the city, serves most charter traffic.

Passengers departing Montréal must pay a $15 airport-improvement fee before they can board their plane.

Flying time to Montréal is 11⁄2 hours from New York, 2 hours from Chicago, 6 hours from Los Angeles, and 61⁄2 hours from London.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

By Bus

L’Aerobus ( 514/931-9002) offers shuttle service into town from Mirabel and Dorval. Shuttle service from Mirabel to the terminal next to the Gare Centrale (777 rue de la Gauchetière) is frequent

By Bus

Greyhound Canada ( 800/661-8747) has service from Toronto and points west in Canada.

All buses arrive at and depart from the city’s downtown bus terminal, the Station Central d’Autobus Montréal (505 blvd. de Maisonneuve Est, 514/842-2281), which connects with the Berri-UQAM Métro station.

By Car

Montréal is accessible from the rest of Canada via the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1), which enters the city from the east and west via Routes 20 and 40. The New York State Thruway (I-87) becomes Route 15 at the Canadian border, and then it’s 47 km (29 mi) to the outskirts of Montréal. U.S. I-89, from New Hampshire and Vermont, becomes Route 133 at the border, eventually joining Route 10 to reach Montréal. I-91, from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, becomes Route 55 at the border and also joins up with Route10.

By Train

The Gare Centrale, on rue de la Gauchetière between rues University and Mansfield (behind Le Reine Elizabeth), is the rail terminus for all trains from the United States and from other Canadian provinces. It is connected underground to the Bonaventure Métro station.

Amtrak ( 800/872-7245) Adirondack leaves New York’s Penn Station every morning for the 101⁄2-hour trip through scenic upstate New York to Montréal. The Vermonter, which travels between Washington, D.C., and St. Alban’s, Vermont, is also connected with Montréal, via a through bus connection provided by Amtrak.

VIA Rail ( 514/989-2626; 888/842-7245; 800/361-5390 in Québec) connects Montréal with all the major cities of Canada, including Québec City, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

By Bus

Société de Transport de Montréal ( 514/288-6287), (STM), administers the buses as well as the Métro, so the same tickets and transfers (free) are valid on either service.

By Car

Car Rentals

Rental cars are readily available in Montreal.

Insurance.

For insurance information, contact Insurance Bureau of Canada ( 416/362-9528; 800/387-2880 in Canada, www.ibc.ca).

Gasoline

Gasoline is always sold in liters (a gallon=3.8 liters). Lead-free is called sans plomb.

Rules of the Road

Road signs are in French in Québec. The speed limit is posted in kilometers; on highways the limit is 100 kph (about 62 mph), and the use of radar-detection devices is prohibited : possession of such a device in a car, even if it is not in operation, is illegal in Québec.

Québec law forbids you to turn right on a red light.

By Subway

The Métro, or subway, is clean, quiet, and safe and it’s heated in winter and cooled in summer. The Métro is also connected to the 18 miles of the Underground City. Each of the 65 stops has been individually designed and decorated. Free maps may be obtained at Métro ticket booths.

By Taxi

Taxis in Montréal all run on the same rate.

Neighborhoods

Montreal is laid out in a grid pattern and defined by neighborhoods and districts.

Downtown: This area displays the most striking elements of the dramatic Montréal skyline and contains the main railroad station, as well as most of the city’s luxury and first-class hotels, principal museums, corporate headquarters, and largest department stores .It is loosely bounded by rue Sherbrooke to the north, boulevard René-Lévesque to the south, boulevard St-Laurent to the east, and rue Drummond to the west,

Downtown Montréal incorporates the neighborhood formerly known as “The Golden Square Mile,” which once held dozens of mansions erected by the wealthy Scottish and English merchants and industrialists who dominated the city’s politics and social life well into the 20th century. Many were torn down and replaced by skyscrapers after World War II. At the northern edge of the downtown area is the urban campus of prestigious McGill University.

Rue Crescent

One of Montréal’s major dining and nightlife districts lies just west of western shadow of the downtown skyscrapers. It holds hundreds of restaurants, bars, and clubs of all styles between Sherbrooke and René-Lévesque, The party atmosphere is ongoing every evening, especially in warm weather, as the sidewalk cafes and balconies fill with revelers.

St.-Denis

Rue St-Denis, from rue Ste-Catherine Est to avenue du Mont-Royal, from the Latin Quarter downtown and continuing north into the Plateau Mont-Royal district is the entertainment center. Cafes, bistros, offbeat shops, and lively nightspots make this area what boulevard St-Germain is to Paris.

Boulevard St-Laurent

Métro St-Laurent and up Blvd. St-Laurent,

In the 1880s the first of many waves of Jewish immigrants escaping pogroms in Eastern Europe arrived. They called the street the Main, as in “Main Street.” The Jews were followed by Greeks, Eastern Europeans, Portuguese, and Latin Americans. The 10 blocks north of rue Sherbrooke are filled with boutiques, restaurants, and galleries.

Chinatown

The Chinese first came to Montréal in large numbers after the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1880. They settled in an 18-block area between boulevard René-Lévesque and avenue Viger to the north and south, and near rues Hôtel de Ville and de Bleury on the west and east, an area now full of mainly Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants and shops.

Quartier Latin

The Université de Montréal was established here in 1893, and the students and academics called it the Latin Quarter. The university later moved to a larger campus. The area declined, but revived in the 1970s, after the opening of the Université du Québec à Montréal and the start of the Annual International Jazz Festival.

Vieux-Montréal

Home to the first European settlers, for almost three centuries this was the financial and political heart of the city. Government buildings, office buildings and warehouses, the largest church, the stock exchange, and the port were here. Vieux-Montréal (Old Montréal), was revitalized over the past 40 years.

Today it is a center of cultural life and municipal government. Most of the summer activities revolve around Place Jacques-Cartier, which becomes a pedestrian mall with street performers and outdoor cafés, and the Vieux-Port, one of the city’s most popular recreation spots.

Place Jacques-Cartier

This two-block-long square at the heart of Vieux-Montréal opened in 1804 as a municipal market; during the summer it becomes a flower market. Rue St. Amable, a one-block lane southwest of Place Jacques-Cartier, is a marketplace for artists and craftspeople. The fashionable Rue St-Paul runs north-south through Place Jacques-Cartier.

The Underground City

During Montréal’s long winters, life slows on the streets of downtown. People move down escalators and stairways into la ville souterraine. In the controlled climate, there is no worry of disruption of activities by the outdoor elements, It is possible to arrive at the railroad station, check into a hotel, go out for lunch at any of hundreds of fast-food counters and full-service restaurants, see a movie, attend a concert, conduct business, go shopping, and even take a swim-all without a thought for the weather!

There are now more than 1,600 shops, 40 banks, 200 restaurants, 10 Métro stations, and about 30 cinemas within easy reach of one another, and with no traffic snarls.

The Village

The city’s gay and lesbian enclave, one of North America’s largest, runs east along rue Ste-Catherine from rue St-Hubert to rue Papineau. This small but vibrant district, is filled with clothing stores, antique shops, bars, dance clubs, cafés, and the Gay and Lesbian Community Centre, at 1301 rue Ste-Catherine Est. A rainbow marks the Beaudry Métro station, in the heart of the neighborhood. Two major annual celebrations are the Diver/Cité in August and the Black & Blue Party in October.

Ile Ste-Helene

St. Helen’s Island in the St. Lawrence River was altered extensively to become the site of Expo ’67, Montréal’s very successful world’s fair. In the 4 years before the Expo opened, construction crews reshaped the island and doubled its surface area with landfill, then went on to create beside it an island that hadn’t existed before, Ile Notre-Dame. The city built bridges and 83 pavilions. When Expo closed, the city government preserved the site and a few of the exhibition buildings. Parts were used for the 1976 Olympics, and today the island is home to Montréal’s popular casino and an amusement park, La Ronde.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Attractions

McGill University

845 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Square Mile, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/398-4455

Admission free. Museum: Sept.-May, Mon.-Thurs. 9-5; June-Aug., weekdays 9-5

James McGill, a wealthy Scottish fur trader and merchant, gave the money and the land for this English-language institution, which opened in 1828. A tree-lined road leads from the Greek-Revival-style Roddick Gates to the neoclassical Arts Building at the northern end of the campus. The templelike building to the west of it houses the Redpath Museum of Natural History, which includes a collection of dinosaur bones, old coins, African art, and shrunken heads.

Jardin Botanique

4101 rue Sherbrooke Est, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/872-1400

May-Oct., daily 9-7, Nov.-Apr., daily 9-5

This botanical garden has 181 acres of plantings in summer and 10 exhibition greenhouses open all year. Founded in 1931, the garden contains more than 26,000 species of plants. Traditional tea ceremonies are held in the Japanese Garden.

Other highlights are the:

(1) Insectarium : which houses more than 250,000 specimens

(2) Montréal-Shanghai Lac de Rêve, the largest Ming-style Chinese garden outside Asia.

Château Dufresne

2929 rue Jeanne-d’Arc, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/256-4636

Tues.-Fri. 9:30-noon and 1:30-4:30, weekends 10-5.

The ground floors of this Beaux-Arts palace are open to the public and provide a glimpse into the lives of the Montréal bourgeoisie in the early 20th century. The lavish decor includes oak staircases with gilded rails, marble-tile floors, stained-glass windows, and coffered ceilings. Many of the walls are decorated with murals by the artist Guido Nincheri, who also decorated many of the city’s most beautiful churches.

Le Centre Canadien D’architecture

1920 rue Baile, Shaughnessy Village, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/939-7000

Oct.-May, Wed.-Sun. 11-6, Thurs. until 8; June-Sept. Tues.-Sun. 11-5, Thurs. until 9.

Phyllis Lambert, heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune and an architect, designed the Canadian Center for Architecture. The ultramodern U-shaped structure of gray limestone is filled with her collection of drawings, photographs, plans, books, documents, and models. The center’s six exhibition rooms house visiting exhibits.

Musée D’archéologie Pointe-À-Callière

350 Pl. Royale

514/872-9150

July-Aug., weekdays 10-6, weekends 11-5; Sept.-June, Tues.-Fri. 10-5, weekends 11-5. An audio-visual show gives an overview of the area’s history from the time of Jacques Cartier. Visitors then go down to the bank of the Rivière St-Pierre that once flowed past the site and was where the first settlers built their homes and traded with the local natives. Archaeologists have unearthed the city’s first Catholic cemetery, with some tombstones still intact. There also remain the stone foundations of an 18th-century tavern and a 19th-century insurance building.

Musée D’art Contemporain

185 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest

514/847-6226

free after 6 PM Wed. Tues. and Thurs.-Sun. 11-6, Wed. 11-9.

The museum’s permanent collection of more than 5,000 works of modern art contains works by Québécois, Canadian, and international artists, but focuses on the works of Québec artists. It has, for example, 72 paintings, 32 works on paper, and a sculpture by Paul-Émile Borduas (1905-60), one of Canada’s most important artists. The museum has weekend programs, with many child-oriented activities, and almost all are free.

Musée Des Beaux-Arts De Montréal

1380 rue Sherbrooke Ouest

514/285-2000

Permanent collection free, special exhibitions admission fee. Tues.-Sun. 11-6 (special exhibitions stay open until 9 PM Wed.)

The art collection at the Museum of Fine Arts is housed in the older Benaiah-Gibb Pavilion on the north side of rue Sherbrooke and the glittering glass-fronted Pavilion Jean-Noël-Desmarais across the street. The collection includes European and North American fine and decorative art; ancient treasures from Europe, the Near East, Asia, Africa, and America; Canadian art; and Native American and Inuit artifacts.

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Montréal is attached to the building.

Musée Du Château Ramezay

280 rue Notre-Dame Est, Vieux-Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/861-3708

June-Sept. daily 10-6; Oct.-May, Tues.-Sun. 10-4:30.

This colonial building, built in 1702, resembles a Norman castle with its thick stone walls, steeply pitched roof, and stone towers.. The everyday lives of the city’s early European settlers are vividly depicted in a series of tableaux in the basement.

Musée Juste Pour Rire (Just for Laughs Museum)

2111 blvd. St-Laurent

514/845-4000

Weekends (year-round) 10-5; June-Sept. Tues.-Fri. 9-5; Sept.-June, Thurs.-Fri. 9-3.

This is one of the few museums in the world dedicated to laughter. Its multimedia exhibits celebrate humor. Some visiting exhibits have a serious side, too. There is a large collection of humor videos, a cabaret where neophytes can test their material, and a restaurant where you can watch old videos (in French) while you eat

Parc Du Mont-Royal

Off voie Camillien Houde,

Parc du Mont-Royal

Take Métro’s Orange Line to the Mont-Royal station and transfer to Bus 11 (take a transfer from a machine before you board the Métro), and get off at the Obsérvatoire de l’Est. Daily 9-5.

Frederick Law Olmsted, the co-designer of New York’s Central Park, designed these 494 acres of forest and paths in the heart of the city. Horse-drawn transport is popular year-round: sleigh rides in winter and calèche (horse drawn carriage)rides in summer.

Parc Lafontaine

3933 av. Parc Lafontaine, Plateau Mont-Royal, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/872-9800

Daily: 9AM -10 PM.

Montréal’s two main cultures are reflected in the layout of this popular park: The eastern half is French, with paths, gardens, and lawns laid out in geometric shapes; the western half is English, with meandering paths and irregularly shaped ponds that follow the natural contours of the land. In summer there are bowling greens, tennis courts, an open-air theater with free arts events, and two artificial lakes with paddleboats. In winter the two lakes are used for ice skating.

Vieux-Port-De-Montréal

Rue de la Commune, Montréal, Québec, Canada

800/971-7678 or 514/496-7678

www.oldportofmontreal.com

Montréal has been a major North American port since the earliest days of European settlement. The city was built just below the Lachine Rapids, which marked the westernmost limit for oceangoing ships sailing up the St. Lawrence River. Now this waterfront park is one of the most popular recreational spots in Montréal. You can take a ferry or raft ride, or a harbor cruise, and bicycles and in-line skates are for rent along rue de la Commune. In winter, visitors can skate on a huge outdoor rink.

Basilique Notre-Dame-De-Montréal

116 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Vieux-Montréal

514/849-1070 basilica; 514/842-2925 museum

guided tour. 8-5 daily; 20-min tours in French and English every hr July-Sept. every 2 hrs (or by prior arrangement) Oct.-June.

(Notre-Dame Basilica). This neo-Gothic structure, opened in 1829, is one of the most beautiful churches in North America. The twin towers are 228 ft high, and the western one holds one of North America’s largest bells. The interior is neo-Romanesque, with stained-glass windows, pine and walnut carvings, and a blue vaulted ceiling studded with thousands of 24-karat gold stars. With more than 7,000 pipes, the Cassavant pipe organ is one of the largest on the continent. Plan your visit around the daily 12:15 PM mass in the chapel or the 5 PM mass in the main church.

Chapelle Notre-Dame-De-Lourdes

430 rue Ste-Catherine Est, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Daily 8-5.

This tiny Roman Catholic chapel is one of the most ornate pieces of religious architecture in the city. It was built in 1876 and decorated with brightly colored murals by the artist Napoléon Bourassa. The chapel is a mixture of Roman and Byzantine styles, and has a beautifully restored interior.

Église De La Visitation De La Bienheureuse Vierge Marie

1847 blvd. Gouin Est,

514/388-4050

Daily 10-11:30 and 2-4.

Far to the north on the banks of Rivière des Prairies (a 15-minute walk from the Henri Bourassa Métro station) is the oldest church on the island of Montréal, the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its stone walls were raised in the 1750s, and the beautifully proportioned Palladian front was added in 1850. The altar and the pulpit are ornate. In the church can be seen a rendering of the Visitation, is by Pierre Mignard, a 17th-century painter. Parkland surrounds the church.

Oratoire St-Joseph

3800 chemin Queen Mary, Côte-des-Neiges

514/733-8211

Admission free. Mid-Sept.-mid-May, daily 7-5:30; mid-May-mid-Sept. daily 7 AM-9 PM.

St. Joseph’s Oratory, a huge domed church sits high on a ridge of Mont-Royal, and is dedicated to St. Joseph, Canada’s patron saint. The octagonal copper dome is one of the biggest in the world and the church has a magnificent mountainside setting with sweeping views. From early December through February, the oratory has a display of crèches (nativity scenes) from all over the world. Concerts are held during the summer. To visit the church, climb the more than 300 steps to the front door or take the shuttle bus from the front gate.

St. Patrick’s Basilica

460 blvd. René-Lévesque Ouest

514/866-7379

Daily 8:30-6.

An outstanding example of church architecture rarely visited by tourists, this 1847 church is an example of the Gothic Revival style in Canada. The church’s colors are soft, and the vaulted ceiling glows with green and gold mosaics. The old pulpit has panels depicting the apostles, and a huge lamp decorated with six 6-ft angels hangs over the main altar. The tall, slender columns that support the roof are actually pine logs lashed together and decorated to look like marble. The church is three blocks west of Place Ville-Marie

Parc Olympique

Avenue 4141 Pierre-de-Coubertin

514/252-8687

reach the park via the Pie-IX or Viau Métro station (the latter is nearer the stadium entrance). A free shuttle links the Biodôme, Parc Olympique, nearby Jardin Botanique, and the Viau Métro station.

The Olympic Park, in the city’s east end, was built for the 1976 Olympics. Dominating the eastern skyline are the giant Stade Olympique, home to the National League Expos, and the Tour Olympique, the leaning tower with an observatory that supports the stadium’s roof. The Biodôme, formerly the Olympic bicycle-racing stadium, is a natural-history exhibit with four ecosystems.

Chalet Du Mont-Royal

Off voie Camillien Houde,

Parc du Mont-Royal

Métro’s Orange Line to the Mont-Royal station and transfer to Bus 11 (take a transfer, or correspondence, from a machine before you board the Métro), get off at the Obsérvatoire de l’Est, climb the staircase at the end of the parking lot and follow the trails to the chalet.

Daily 9-5.

After enjoying the spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, be sure to look inside the chalet, especially at the murals depicting scenes from Canadian history.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Vieux-Port-De-Montréal

Rue de la Commune, Montréal, Québec, Canada

800/971-7678 or 514/496-7678

Montréal has been a major North American port since the earliest days of European settlement. The city was built just below the Lachine Rapids, which marked the westernmost limit for oceangoing ships sailing up the St. Lawrence River. Now this waterfront park is one of the most popular recreational spots in Montréal. You can take a ferry or raft ride, or a harbor cruise, and bicycles and in-line skates are for rent along rue de la Commune. In winter, visitors can skate on a huge outdoor rink.

La Ronde Amusement Park

Last week in May, Sat., Sun. only; June-Aug and Labour Day weekend daily 10am-9pm

Parc des Iles, Ile Ste-Hélène

Transportation: Métro: Papineau and bus no. 169, or Parc Jean-Drapeau and bus no. 167

Telephone: 800/797-4537, 514/872-4537

Unlimited all-day passes and special rates for those 12 and over, under 12, and seniors. Grounds admission only. Seniors are free Mon-Thurs, but pay adult rates on weekends

Montréal’s amusement park was run for most of its 35 years by the city. A few years ago it was sold to the American-owned Six Flags theme park empire, which has recently invested over $7 million in a major renovation program..

Seven new rides recently debuted:

1. The Manitou (Hanging from a giant 24 passenger six-sided circular gondola, riders experience rapid fire spinning while swinging back and forth);

2. The Vertigo, (swoops guests to heights of 60 feet in a continuous looping motion.).

3. The Flying Carousel Swing, Tour de Ville. (Up to 48 riders at a time will enjoy the wonder and fantasy of this classic family attraction.)

4. Tasses Magiques (Magical Tea Cups)(consists of 12 giant rotating cups. Each cup will accommodate up to five riders. The double motion of the platform is combined with rider-controlled spinning of the tea cups)

5. The Toboggan Nordique roller coaster joins the more daring roller coaster rides in the park(individual four passenger cars will go through a course full of hairpin turns and moderate drops. Perfect for the not-so-daring thrill seeker).

6. Autos Tamponneuses (bumper cars) ride. (features the latest innovations in bumper car design.

7. The Grand Carousel, (beautifully designed: traditional and romantic)

The park fills the northern area of the Ile Ste-Hélène with a sailing lagoon, an Enchanted Forest with costumed storytellers, and a Western town with saloon, as well as ferris wheels, carousels, roller coasters, carnival booths, and places to eat and drink.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

February

La Fête des Neiges (Snow Festival), Montréal: features outdoor events such as harness racing, barrel jumping, racing beds on ice, canoe races, snowshoeing, snow sculptures, skating, and cross-country skiing. The event, the first 2 weeks of February, takes place mostly on Ile Notre-Dame, in the Port and Vieux-Montréal, and in Parc Maisonneuve. 514/872-4537 for details.

Three weekends in February.

Festival Montréal en Lumière

Filling a hole in the yearly schedule, the self-dubbed City of Festivals has created this “High Lights” celebration. It brings together a somewhat disparate collection of creative and performing events, from culinary competitions and special museum exhibitions to multimedia light shows and classical and pop concerts by international musical greats. Call tel. 888/515-0515 for information.

May/June

Late May to early June.

Festival de Théâtre des Amériques, Montréal: Two weeks of contemporary theater works from artists throughout the Americas, many on the cutting edge of creativity. Screenings are held at theaters throughout the city. 514/842-0704 for details.

First Sunday in June.

Montréal Bike Fest: Early in June, more than 45,000 cyclists arrive in Montréal to participate in a variety of cycling competitions, including a nocturnal bike ride, a 16-mile outing for up to 10,000 children, and the grueling Tour de l’Ile, a day-long 66-kilometer race around the rim of the island before more than 120,000 spectators. The Tour de l’Ile, which began in 1984, attracts 30,000 participants, almost as many of them women as men. Call tel. 514/521-8356 for details.

Second weekend in June.

Grand Prix Air Canada, Montréal: international drivers compete for 70 laps around the Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack on Ile Notre-Dame. It’s the only Formula I race in the country and is complete with celebrities and models visiting the pits. 514/457-5754 for details.

10 days starting in mid-June.

Montréal Fringe Festival: In performance spaces clustered along or near bd. St-Laurent, about 60 theater groups perform 514/849-3378

June

Festival Mondial de la Bière, Montréal: This is a 10-day festival celebrating beer. From world brands to boutique microbreweries, over 250 companies showcase their wares at the Old Port, employing workshops, cooking demos, musical performances, and pub food and tastings. 514/722-9640.

Late June to early October.

Mosaïcultures Internationales Montréal: A major horticultural event in which gardeners and floral designers create three-dimensional sculptures and carpets from up to 50 countries and cities in prize competitions in several categories. The Vieux-Port (Old Port) is the venue. 514/868-4000

June 24.

Jean-Baptiste Day: Honoring Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of French Canadians, this fête nationale is marked by many festivities and much enthusiasm throughout Québec province. The parade is held along the streets of Vieux-Montréal the night before, June 23. 418/849-2560 for details.

June- July.

International Competition d’Art Pyrotechnique (International Fireworks Competition), Montréal: The open-air theater in La Ronde amusement park on Ile Ste-Hélène is the best place to view the fireworks extravaganzas, although they can be enjoyed from almost any point overlooking the river. Tickets to the show also provide entrance to the amusement park. The 90-minute shows are staged by companies from several countries. Because parking is limited, it’s best to use the Métro. 514/872-4537 for details.

June-July

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal

514/871-1881; 888/515-0515; to charge tickets by phone: 514/790-1245; 800/678-5440; 800/361-4595 in Canada

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, the world’s biggest jazz festival, runs for 11 days, from the end of June to the beginning of July.

July

10 days in mid-July.

Festival d’Eté International (International Summer Festival), Québec City: The largest cultural event in the French-speaking world, this festival has attracted artists from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America since it began in 1967. There are more than 250 events showcasing theater, music, and dance, with 600 performers from 20 countries. One million people come to watch and listen. Jazz and folk combos perform free in an open-air theater next to City Hall; visiting dance and folklore troupes put on shows; and concerts, theatrical productions, and related events fill the days and evenings. 418/532-4540.

10 days in mid-July.

Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, Montréal: This musical event showcases nearly 300 musicians from the Caribbean, the Americas, and Africa. Performances take place in Club Soda, Club Balattou, and Place Berri. 514/499-9239

Last 2 weeks of July.

Festival Juste pour Rire (Just for Laughs Festival), Montréal: Comics perform in many venues, some free, some for a fee. Both Francophone and Anglophone comics from many countries participate. It’s held along rue St-Denis and elsewhere in the Latin Quarter. 514/790-4242 for details.

August

Late August to early September.

Festival des Films du Monde (World Film Festival), Montréal: An international film event since 1976. Some 500 screenings take place over 12 days, including 200 feature films from more than 50 countries.Various movie theaters host the event. 514/848-3883

September

Mid- to late September.

Fall Foliage: The maple trees blaze with color and a walk in the parks and squares of Montréal is a popular pastime.

October

Early October.

Festival International de la Nouvelle Danse, Montréal: This 12-day showcase, held every 2 years (on odd years), invites troupes and choreographers from Canada, the United States, and Europe to various performance spaces. 514/287-1423.

10 days in mid-October.

Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Montréal: Screenings of new and experimental films along with forums on the latest trends in film and video at halls and cinemas throughout the city. 514/843-4725 for details.

Arts and Entertainment

Casino De Montréal

1 av. du Casino, Île Notre-Dame, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/392-2746 or 800/665-2274

The Casino de Montréal, on Ile Notre-Dame in the St. Lawrence River, is one of the world’s 10 biggest. Take a cab ride from downtown or take the Métro to the Ile Ste-Hélène station and transfer to Bus 167 Daily: 9-5.

Cirque Du Soleil

Montréal, Québec, Canada

800/361-4595

The Cirque du Soleil is one of Montréal’s most popular venues. The company revolutionized the art of the circus when, in 1984, it began commingling dance, acrobatics, and dramatic presentation in a single show. Now it’s an internationally known and packs theaters worldwide. (There are no animals featured in this circus. All of the spectacular dance and acrobatic arrangements are performed by people. ) Every second summer (in odd-numbered years), the circus performs in Montréal.

L’opéra De Montréal

260 blvd. de Maisonneuve Ouest

514/985-2258

L’Opéra de Montréal stages four productions a year at Place des Arts.

Centaur Theatre

453 rue St-François-Xavier, Vieux-Montréal

514/288-3161

The Centaur Theatre, the best-known English theatrical company, stages everything from musical revues to Eugène Ionesco works in the former stock-exchange building in Vieux-Montréal.

Place des Artes

Touring Broadway productions are staged at the Place des Arts.

Saidye Bronfman Centre

5170 chemin de la Côte Ste-Catherine, Côte-des-Neiges,

514/739-2301 or 514/739-7944

English-language plays can be seen at the Saidye Bronfman Centre. The center is home to the Yiddish Theatre Group.

Théâtre De Quat’sous

100 av. des Pins Est

514/845-7277

Théâtre de Quat’Sous performs experimental plays.

Théâtre Denise Pelletier

4353 rue Ste-Catherine Est, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

514/253-8974

The Théâtre Denise Pelletier stages productions in a beautifully restored hall.

Théâtre Du Nouveau Monde

84 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Downtown

514/866-8667

Théâtre du Nouveau Monde is the North American temple of French classics.

Théâtre Du Rideau Vert

Théâtre du Rideau Vert specializes in modern French repertoire.

Théâtre Jean Duceppe

260 blvd. de Maisonneuve Ouest

514/842-2112

Named for one of Québec’s best loved actors, the Théâtre Jean Duceppe stages major productions in Place des Arts.

Théâtre St-Denis

1594 rue St-Denis, Quartier Latin

514/849-4211

The 2,500-seat Théâtre St-Denis stages pop-music concerts.

Francofolies

514/876-8989

The annual FrancoFolies festival celebrates the art of French songwriting. In all, more than 1,000 musicians perform in dozens of different styles, including rock, hip-hop, funk, and Latin.

I Musici De Montréal

934 rue Sainte-Catherine Est,

514/982-6037

I Musici de Montréal is one of the best chamber orchestras in Canada.

Orchestre Métropolitain De Montréal

514/598-0870

The Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal stars at Place des Arts most weeks during the October-April season.

Orchestre Symphonique De Montréal

260 blvd. de Maisonneuve Ouest

514/842-9951

The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal has gained recognition under the baton of Charles Dutoit. Its regular venue is the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at the Place des Arts.

Pollack Concert Hall

514/398-4535

McGill University’s Pollack Concert Hall presents concerts, notably by the McGill Chamber Orchestra.

Spectrum

318 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest, Downtown, Montréal, Québec, Canada

514/861-5851

The most popular performance venue for rock bands is Spectrum.

Stade Olympique

Olympic Park, 4141 av. Pierre-de-Coubertin, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

514/252-8687

Stade Olympique hosts rock and pop concerts.

Théâtre St-Denis

1594 rue St-Denis, Quartier Latin

514/849-4211

The 2,500-seat Théâtre St-Denis stages pop-music concerts.

Sports

Montréal Alouettes

McGill University’s Molson Stadium

514/790-1245

Canadian professional football returned to Montréal after an experimental 3-year league with U.S. teams. The team that was briefly the Baltimore Colts is now The Montreal Alouettes (Larks) and has enjoyed considerable success since its return, frequently appearing in the Grey Cup, the CFL’s Super Bowl. They play on a schedule that runs from June into October.

NHL Montréal Canadiens

1260 rue de la Gauchetière

Ticket and schedule information

514/932-2582

Métro: Bonaventure.

The Canadiens play at the new Centre Molson, which opened in 1996. replacing the beloved old Forum. The team has won 24 Stanley Cup championships since 1929. The season runs from October into April, with playoffs continuing to mid-June.

Blue Bonnets Racetrack (Hippodrome de Montréal)

7440 bd. Décarie, in Jean-Talon

514/739-2741

Métro: Namur, and then take the shuttle bus.

This is the host facility for international harness-racing events, including the Coupe des Elevers (Breeders Cup).

Restaurants, bars, a snack bar, and pari-mutuel betting can make for a satisfying evening or Sunday-afternoon outing. There are no races on Tuesday and Thursday. General admission is free. Races begin at 7:30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; on Sunday at 1:30pm.