Exploring Montreal

Montreal is the second largest city in Canada. The pious 17th-century French founders of this vibrant island metropolis might be a little surprised to have produced a place that revels so much in its differences from the old country, especially when celebrating its European-ness. Montreal may not be quite Quebec – but it knows it. Learn about the sights in Montreal city and see the attractions you might be interested in!

The founders of the city of Montreal were originally French. The people who lived in the area had a strong religious background when it was founded. Although not as many church buildings remain, some can still be seen on the skyline.

Montreal is at the convergence of three major rivers, making it a hub for trade and commerce. It was founded as a Christian community and port in 1642 by a group of French Catholics. However, much of its economic power has now shifted west to Toronto. Montreal’s cultural blend of French and European influences makes it unique and interesting today. In Canada, about two-thirds of its 3 million residents have French descent, and another 15% have British origins. The rest represent nearly every major ethnic group, the most dominant being English. You’ll find anglophones on the western end of the island, francophones on the east, and other ethnic communities all around. English speakers and Francophones have their neighborhoods but visit each other often. The most interesting neighborhoods are on a hill called Mont-Royal in the city’s south. Montreal’s fancy, modern attractions are the Olympic Park stadium and the Musée d’Art Conteminor, which recently opened. Vieux-Montréal is a network of narrow, cobblestone streets that the waterfront can find. The Underground City is a maze beneath Montreal that connects more homes, stores, and leisure venues.

Montreal Google Maps


Montreal is relatively compact on a 50-kilometer (30 miles) island at the confluence of St Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The old city Vieux Montreal is near the river banks, and downtown Montreal is between it and Mont-Royal. Streets follow a fairly consistent grid pattern.

Getting Around Montreal

Getting around Montreal involves a tunnel and 15 bridges, as well as taking the Ville-Marie Expressway, which sends you right into the city’s heart. Montreal’s métro and bus systems can easily take you to all areas.

Sights in Montreal

Looking for things to do in Montreal? Check out this 27-list of must-see sights in the city! From historic landmarks to natural wonders, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Vieux-Port

The old port of Montreal used to be a bustling harbor until it fell out of use in the 20th century.

The Vieux-Port is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montreal. Located in the Old Port area, the Vieux-Port offers various activities and attractions for visitors. Visitors can stroll along the boardwalk, ride on the Ferris wheel, or visit one of the area’s many museums and art galleries. The Vieux-Port is also home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it the perfect place to spend a day exploring all that Montreal has to offer.

Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montréal

In the center of Place d’Armes is the Basilica, Montreal’s grandest Catholic church. Originally built in the 17th century, a new building was commissioned in 1829. American architect James O’Donnell created a vast vaulted cavern that combined elements of Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic design, providing 3,000 seats in the nave and two tiers of balconies. Splendidly redecorated in the 1870s by Canadian craftsman Victor Bourgeau, intricate woodcarving lines the walls of this massive church.

Château Ramezay

The Château Ramezay is a must-see sight in Montreal. The Château Ramezay is a reminder of the French regime in Montreal. Claude de Ramezay was the 11th governor of Montreal and sold it as an attempt to replicate his life in Normandy. However, many governors would then live at the château. This is one of the most impressive remnants. It has been restored to its original style and contains important pieces, such as a carriage from Montreal’s first motorist and 18th-century architecture by Germain Boffrand, reflecting that period’s leading figures.

Sir George-Etienne Cartier National Historic Site

The Sir George-Etienne Cartier National Historic Site commemorates the life and accomplishments of one of Canada’s Fathers of Confederation. Visitors to the site can explore the restored Victorian-era home where Cartier lived with his family and learn about his many contributions to the country. The site also features a museum with exhibits on Cartier’s life and work and a research center.

Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin

Marc-Aurèle Fortin transformed landscape painting in Canada. He was born in 1888 when European styles dominated North American art. Fortin loved the light of his native province, and used many unusual techniques to capture the “warm light of Quebec.”

The Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin is a must-see sight in Montreal! This museum is dedicated to the work of Canadian artist Marc-Aurèle Fortin and features an extensive collection of his paintings, drawings, and sketches. The museum also has a beautiful garden that is perfect for a stroll on a summer day.

Centre d’Histoire de Montréal

Montreal is home to the Centre d’Histoire de Montreal, a museum dedicated to the city’s history. The museum is located in the heart of Old Montreal and is housed in a restored 19th-century building. The Centre d’Histoire de Montreal offers a variety of exhibits and programs that explore the city’s past. Visitors can learn about the founding of Montreal, the city’s development over the years, and its many cultural communities. The Centre d’Histoire de Montreal is a great place to learn about the history of this vibrant city.

Chinatown

Montreal’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and largest in North America. It is located in the city’s downtown area and is home to many Chinese businesses and organizations. The area is also popular with tourists who experience the Chinese culture and cuisine. A small garden dedicated to the charismatic leader Sun Yat-sen is also present, as well as two giant arches span de la Gauchetière Street and authentic pagodas on the modern Holiday Inn hotel roof.

Plateau Mont-Royal

The Plateau district of Montreal is where its locals feel most at home. They are a mix of students, friendly French speakers, young professionals and children from Euro-Latin backgrounds. They share their space in the Parc Lafontaine or ‘the Balconville,’ which is situated just off the scenic Rue Saint Denis and Rue Saint Denis in the neighbourhood’s heart.

The Plateau Mont-Royal is a borough of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The borough is bordered to the north and west by the city of Montreal, to the east by Mont-Royal, and to the south by Sherbrooke Street. It is home to many of Montreal’s hipsters and artists and is known for its vibrant nightlife and bohemian atmosphere. The Plateau is also a popular tourist destination with cobblestone streets, cafes, and boutiques.

Place des Arts

Place des Arts are the perfect spot to enjoy some of Montreal’s best sights. The area is home to several theaters, museums, and other cultural attractions. Visitors can also enjoy the many shops and restaurants in the area. Place des Arts are the perfect place to spend a day exploring all Montreal offers.

Musée d’Art Contemporain

The Museum of Contemporary Art is the only institution in Canada dedicated exclusively to modern art. The Museum is located in Montreal and exhibits work from 1939 onwards, with the majority of work being from Quebec artists.

The Musée d’Art Contemporain is one of the most famous sights in Montreal. This museum is dedicated to contemporary art and features permanent and temporary exhibitions. The museum also has a cafe, gift shop, and library.

Christ Church Cathedral

It is the seat of the diocese of Montreal and is the mother church of the Anglican Church of Canada.

The church is recognized for its Gothic style, with a tall, slender spire and exterior walls decorated with gargoyles. The church walls were too heavy for the land, and an aluminum spire was installed in 1940. Many people find respite at noon concerts due to a delicious cool interior, pointed arch naves, and magnificent stained-glass windows. The cathedral is located at 635 Ste-Catherine Street West, at the corner of Bleury Street, in downtown Montreal.

McCord Museum of Canadian History

McCord donated his collection of Canadian artifacts to McGill University, which now houses over 120,000 pieces. The museum holds exceptional folk art and one of the finest collections of Indian and Inuit items in the world.

The McCord Museum of Canadian History is one of the top sights in Montreal. The museum has various exhibits and collections highlighting aspects of Canadian history. It even features a vast collection of 19th-century photographs.

McGill University

The campus is stunning, and the buildings are impressive. The students are also very friendly and have a great sense of community.

Though it was originally founded in 1821, Canada’s oldest university is still being built with expansion and renovation projects due to the constantly changing landscape. Behind the Classical Roddick Gates is an avenue that leads to the domed Neoclassical Arts Building with a range of other historical places. Redpath Museum of Natural History has one of the most eclectic and eccentric collections, including fossils and a dinosaur skeleton.

Musée des Beaux-Arts

The oldest art collection in Quebec can be found in the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. In the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion, you can find Canadian artifacts from early settlers, as well as paintings from the 18th century to the 1960s. The Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion focuses on European art primarily of the Renaissance period but includes a gallery that celebrates other cultures.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts is one of Montreal’s most popular tourist attractions. Located in the city’s heart, the museum is home to a wide variety of art, from paintings and sculptures to photography and installations. Visitors can also participate in many activities, such as tours, workshops, and talks.

Underground City

Montreal’s Underground City is an expansive network of tunnels, walkways, and plazas that link the city’s subway system, office buildings, residences, and shops. This underground labyrinth is a true feat of engineering, and it’s a great way to escape the cold during winter!

Square Dorchester and Place du Canada

These two open squares create a green oasis in downtown Montreal.

Montreal is home to some of Canada’s most beautiful and historical sights. Square Dorchester and Place du Canada are two of the most popular tourist attractions. Square Dorchester is a beautiful park perfect for a picnic or a stroll. The park is situated in downtown Montreal’s heart and surrounded by some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Place du Canada is another great spot for taking in the sights of Montreal. The square is home to a number of monuments and statues, as well as a stunning fountain.

Cathédrale Marie- Reine-du-Monde

The magnificent church, modeled after the Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, is one of the largest churches in North America.

Montreal’s first Catholic cathedral burned down in 1852. Canadian Bishop Ignace Bourget decided to demonstrate the importance of the church by building a new one. He modeled his new church on St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome with dimensions that were a quarter the size. Statues on the roof represent patron saints of all the parishes that made up the Montreal diocese in 1890. There is a magnificent canopy commemorating Bernini’s canopy for St. Peter’s. In Bourget’s commitment to Rome, another reminder is found- a marble plaque listing Montrealers who served with Papal armies during the 1850s Italian war of independence.

Centre Canadien d’Architecture

The Centre was built in 1974 for the Canadian Pacific Railway President, Sir Thomas Shaughnessy. It houses a collection of 215,000 books on the world’s most important buildings; plan drawings, models, and photos.

The Centre Canadien d’Architecture (CCA) is a must-see for anyone interested in architecture and design. The CCA is home to a world-renowned collection of architectural drawings, models, photographs, and documents. The CCA also has an extensive program of exhibitions, public lectures, and symposia.

Rue Sherbrooke

In the latter half of the 19th century, Montreal was one of Canada’s most influential cities. The city boasted several wealthy residents, and they made sure to spend their wealth on incredible neighborhoods like the Golden Mile. Rue Sherbrooke was their Main Street, and its many shops were considered the most elegant in Canada. More modern buildings couldn’t ruin these beautiful stone structures, which still stand today. Holt Renfrew, an upscale department store, continues to stand. So does The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and two beautiful churches, St. Andrew and St. Paul and Erskine American United, at the corner of avenue du Musée, which has stained glass windows from Tiffany’s. Boutiques, bookstores, and galleries fill many row homes made by millionaires who also wanted to live in this fancy area just below their level of wealth. If you head west down Grande Seminaire, Montreal’s Catholic archdiocese still trains its priests in what is now a recreational center where tourists can go for a tour or attend mass as well.

Oratoire Saint- Joseph

The Oratoire Saint-Joseph is a beautiful church located in Montreal. It is the world’s most significant Saint Joseph shrine and is worth visiting.

On the way to this church, pilgrims climb 300 steps on their knees. Their devotion would please the man responsible for building this shrine, Brother Andre. He started by erecting a chapel to St. Joseph in his spare time, and Montreal’s sick and disabled joined him in prayer. This led him to draw many visitors, so he built a bigger church to accommodate them. He is buried here and was beatified in 1982. The church has an octagonal copper dome with a height of 44.5 meters (146 feet) and a width of 38 meters (125 feet). The interior is starkly modern; the elongated wooden statues of the apostles in the transepts are done by Henri Charlier, while Marius Plamondon does the main altar and crucifix. The stained-glass windows are made by Marius Plamondon as well, who also made the votive chapel ablaze with hundreds of flickering candles lit by hopeful pilgrims.

The church is open daily for mass and offers tours and other services.

Parc Mont-Royal

Montrealers admire the view from atop Mont-Royal and have called it Montreal’s crown jewel. The 234 m (767 ft) mountain was given its name by Jacques Cartier, for which the city was also named. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the park in 1876, aiming to make it natural.

Parc Mont-Royal is one of the most famous sights in Montreal. This large park is home to many attractions, including the Montreal Botanical Gardens, the Biodome, and the Insectarium. Visitors can also take a cable car up to the top of the park for an incredible view of the city.

Olympic Park

The stadium, seating 56,000, is used today for concerts by international stars, as well as for big exhibitions, and as a modern attraction in a historic city.

Olympic Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montreal. The park was built for the 1976 Summer Olympics and is now home to the Montreal Canadiens hockey team and the Montreal Expos baseball team. The park also has a large outdoor swimming pool, a waterpark, an amphitheater, and some restaurants and cafes. Olympic Park is a great place to spend a day with family or friends.

Jardin Botanique de Montréal

The Jardin Botanique de Montréal is a must-see for plant and flower lovers. This world-renowned garden features over 22,000 different species of plants, making it one of the largest collections in the world. In addition to the beautiful flowers and plants, the garden has an arboretum, a greenhouse, and a water garden. Visitors can also participate in guided tours, workshops, and other educational activities.

Ile-Sainte-Hélène

Ile-Sainte- Helene was originally the site of Expo ’67, which brought millions to Montreal. Highlights include the La Ronde amusement park and the dome that served as the United States Pavilion.

There’s plenty to see and do on Ile-Sainte-Hélène, an island in the St. Lawrence River just east of downtown Montreal. The island is home to several parks, including Parc Jean-Drapeau, which hosts several events throughout the year, and the Montreal Biosphere, a museum dedicated to the environment. There are also many restaurants and cafes on the island, making it the perfect place to spend a day outdoors.

Ile-Notre-Dame

The island of Montreal was born in 1967 with excavated rock from the Montreal metro system. Today it is home to the Casino de Montréal, which is never closed, and a 126-meter-long rowing basin for the 1976 Olympics, along with other attractions for locals.

Ile-Notre-Dame is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Montreal. Located in the St. Lawrence River, this small island is home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Notre-Dame Basilica, the Montreal Botanical Garden, and the Biosphere. Visitors can take a stroll around the island, taking in the stunning views of the river and skyline, or rent a bike and explore at their own pace. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants on the island, making it the perfect place to spend a day or evening. The island also hosts NASCAR races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named after Canadian champion Gilles Villeneuve.

Maison Saint- Gabriel

This isolated little fragment of New France, a farm centuries ago, is now among working-class apartments. Protected by the formidable Marguerite Bourgeoys, Montreal’s first schoolteacher and now a canonized saint, it was bought in 1668 as her residence for the religious order she founded in 1655. Her house is an excellent example of 17th-century architecture with thick stone walls and a steeply pitched roof that uses heavy wooden timbers.

The site includes a museum, gardens, and an event space. The gardens are beautiful and well-maintained, and the event space is perfect for weddings or other special occasions.

Lachine

Lachine is a suburb of southwest Montreal, including Lachine Island west of the Lachine rapids, where the St. Lawrence River widens to form Lac-Saint- Louis. Lachine has a long and exciting history, with old homes, restaurants, bistros, and historical museums to explore.

Conclusion

Montreal is a truly unique city that has something to offer everyone. Whether you’re interested in its rich history, vibrant culture, or simply its delicious food, there’s something for everyone in Montreal. Check out the city’s many sights and attractions during your next visit!