Why visit Montreal? Consider these. Historically, it was the commercial capital of Canada, which comes with a wealth of historic buildings (50, more than any other city in the country). However, as you will see further in this post, is also home to contemporary-style architectural landmarks. Montreal has an entire Underground City, a Gay Village, Intertainment Neighborhood (which is the biggest performing art centre), Latin Quarter with its artsy people and, of course, an Old Town which will transform you back in time in a fairytale-like world, especially in winter.
MONTREAL ICE SKATING
Province of Quebec looks like a Christmas fairy tale in winter. Montreal has twenty ice skate rinks. Don’t you want to have a real Canadian experience, to mingle with hockey players and feel as a child again? Here is where to go ice skating in Montreal.
One of the greenest places in the city of Montreal is the Mount Royal, a small mountain that is a home of the park of the same name. There are several interesting things about this park but I like most the ‘Tam-Tam Jam’. In summer, every Sunday afternoon the east slope of the mountain becomes a scene of music and dances when visitors and locals play hand drums. It started in the 70s and now is a very popular weekend activity.
FOR CREEPY PLACES LOVERS
While a cemetery can look cheerful and full of joy, Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery seems creepy but (yes, I have to say) beautiful. I will be happy to walk around in sunlight but I not one of those who will dare visit at night. Would you? It looks so gorgeous in the dark too …
Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Canada. It houses war graves as well as magnificent mausoleums that are pieces of art. A good example is the ‘La Pietà Mausoleum’ with a reproduction of the Michelangelo’s sculpture in the Vatican City. Probably the most remarkable thing about this cemetery is that it is an allegory of the Canadian’s liberal approach to ethnicities and religion. Now the cemetery is open to any Christian and you can see many gravestones with ethnic motifs as there are Japanese, Orthodox Christians and Catholics are buried here.
MULTICULTURAL FOOD DESTINATION
From Chinatown to Little Italy, Montreal is a universe of cultures and … food. Try some of the street foods that you will find in the numerous food trucks or join a neighborhood food tour. And if you are in the city during some of these festivals, be sure to dive in their delicious microcosms.
I can say, I’m especially delighted to see that women chefs have an important role in Montreal’s food scene.
Do you like architecture? I adore it! Discovering quirky, exceptional or just historically-rich buildings is one of my favourite things about travels. Every construction, no matter residential or not, has stories to tell; the stories of the people who lived, worked, created things or took an important for the world decisions inside their premises (think Livadia Palace and the Yalta Conference).
Habitat 67 didn’t have such an important historical role. And still, it is a weird and yet lively housing complex that understandably became one of the landmarks of Montreal. It is also evidence of how rich men’s imagination is. The complex was a thesis project but later became one of the pavilions of the Expo 67.
EXPLORE MONTREAL WITH BIXI
Did anyone say that the world looks better from a bicycle seat? It is for sure a wonderful ways to explore the city of Montreal and decrease your transport expenses.
Bixi is Montreal’s bike-sharing system. From April 15 to November 15, you can take a bike on the go and leave it when you don’t need it anymore. It is easy to find a station and understand how it works and how much it costs. Bixi’s website is very comprehensive and gives the whole necessary information.
MONTREAL’S INDIE COFFEE SHOPS
As probably you already know, I’m a coffee junkie. Love coffee but not every coffee just the one with good aroma and taste, 0% Robusta content and if possible from independent roasters. That’s why Montreal looks just like paradise to me! Here’s the Monster Guide to Montreal Coffee Shops.
SHAKESPEARE FOR FREE
If you are reading this site, you probably like culture and art in all their forms that allow you to use all your senses. A great way to have a unique experience in Montreal is Shakespeare in the Park. It is a free theatrical program (donations happily accepted) that brings Shakespeare’s plays to all.
JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL
What do you think of when reading ‘hahaha’? Yes, it’s all about laugh and amusing entertainment. Another amazing cultural program in Montreal, open to all, is the Just for Laughs Festival. It’s a comedy festival with three components. There are indoor (paid) shows, free street theatre and a mini comedy film festival.
And what about Montreal’s nightlife, you will say? Of course, it is bubbling and multicultural like the city. But if you want to be treated like a lady, you might want to check Santos in the Old Montreal. Spanish tapas are the speciality.
Montreal’s Underground City, or RESO as its official name, is a pedestrian network that connects residential areas, shopping centres, hotels, office buildings and even universities. It is considered the largest underground complex in the world with its thirty kilometres stretch and reaches up to 10 metro stations. To learn more about this non-conventional structure from its beginning in the early 60s, you might want to join a guided tour.
Do you plan to visit Canada in the near future? What cities would you like to include in your itinerary?
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