Discover Montréal: French history meets the 21st century.
Author: Yan Desjardins, Founder & Executive Director
The largest French-speaking city in North America.
With a population of 4.3 million, Montréal is Canada’s second-largest city, and it boasts a strong French colonial heritage. Once founded back in 1642, Montréal is now one of the most vibrant cities to travel to Canada.
Montreal is rich in culture and architecture. Canada was colonized by the French and the British, therefore leaving a significant heritage to the city. It is typical for old stone buildings from the French era to stand next to new glass high rises, making Montréal a unique city visually and architecturally. When you travel to Canada and visit Old Montréal, you will feel like you have just travelled back in time.
Most people in the province of Québec speak French as a first language and English as a second; therefore, if you’re unable to speak French, fear not, Montrealers will understand you if you address them in English.
Montréal: the festival capital of Canada.
If you travel to Canada during the summer, you can see Montréal turn into the festival capital of Canada! One after the other, Montréal’s festivals turn the city into a giant playground. Stages pop up all over the city, and the most famous artists come to play in Montréal. Each year, Montréal hosts some 100 festivals and other events. Here is a look at the 3 most notorious Montréal festivals.
Montréal International Jazz Festival is the largest event of its kind in the world! It even made the Guinness world records! More than 2 million visitors flock to the streets of Montréal each year to come to listen to the best of the best in the industry!
The Festival has hosted legends like Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, B.B King and Leonard Cohen, one of many Canadian greatest artists! When you travel to Canada, this is the music event of the summer that you won’t want to miss!
If laughter is the best medicine, then Montréal has a 15 days prescription for you! If you are a fan of comedy, then you’ll want to travel to Canada and come to the ‘Just For Laughs’ festival held in Montréal in July. It offers 15 days of celebrations that attract 1.5 million visitors annually.
Each year, the best comedians and comics from around the world travel to Canada to come to the festival to bring laughter to Montrealers. So while you’ll stroll the streets of downtown Montréal along with street and circus entertainers, don’t be surprised if you end up being part of one of the ‘Just For Laughs’ gags.
Osheaga is Montréal’s party-goer festival destination. Montréal is well-known for its glamorous and exciting nightlife. Osheaga is an extension of that reputation and is sure to please music lovers. So if you want to travel to Canada to experience our nightlife, Montréal is your top destination.
The festival runs for 3 days and is packed with headliners and the hottest artists. Their performances follow one another in a whirlwind of music styles on 6 different stages!
The festival is held at ‘Parc Jean Drapeau,’ a stone’s throw from downtown Montréal. So while you are dancing and singing, enjoy the stunning views of the city.
Montréal’s Jacques-Cartier Bridge
Montréal’s nightlife & food culture
Internationally famous for its nightlife, Montréal’s streets come alive even more at night! Thousands of people travel to Canada and to Montréal to experience the bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants all over the city.
The city has a food culture that is also very alive. From typical Canadian dishes to new world cuisine, you’ll be sure to find the taste you are looking for in Montréal. If you are a food festival lover, you might want to try First Fridays – The Montreal street food, when you travel to Canada. Food trucks from all over the city wheel up and meet at the Olympic Stadium, in the east end of Montréal.
The city is divided into many ‘Quartiers’ (districts), and each one has a different vibe. Montréal’s red-light district is in the city center on ‘Saint-Laurent’ boulevard, where you will find the hottest bars and dance clubs.
If you are looking for a more hipster and relaxed experience, visit Griffintown, where you can find trendy restaurants, art galleries, and eclectic shopping. The ‘Plateau Mont-Royal & Mile End’ is also another of the city’s most famous ‘Quartiers.’ You will find all of the entertainment you are looking for. Take a stroll down the different streets and enjoy Montréal’s unique architecture. The Plateau is one of the most scenic districts of the city.
Also, Montréal is known to many Canadians to be the fashion capital of Canada. So when you travel to Canada, leave some room in your bags because you’ll probably need it. Montréal’s St. Catherine Street is your shopping heaven right in the heart of the city!
For more information on what to do in Montréal, visit Montreal Centre-Ville.
Montréal: City of art and nature
Montreal is a very artistic city. The city counts many art centers and institutions, like the legendary ‘Place Des Arts’ or ‘Contemporary Art Museum.’ During the summer, outdoor exhibitions take place all around the city. You may notice that if you take the Métro (subway), each station has been designed to display original art pieces when it was built in the late 60s and 70s. When you travel to Canada and Montréal, check out who’s playing in town. There are often international artists playing in the different concert halls around the city!
Nature is also at the center of Montréal. Mount Royal is a small mountain right in the middle of Montréal island that has been preserved and protected. You can hike or take a bus or taxi up the mountain. There you can enjoy walking the different trails and getting breathtaking pictures of the city skyline from the top.
Last but not least, the Montreal Botanical Garden is an oasis of nature, flowers, plants and exhibitions that attract thousands of visitors each year and in all seasons. One of our favourite events at the Garden is the Lantern Festival held in the fall.
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