Montreal

Montreal is the second-most populous city in Canada and the most populous in Quebec. It was established as a Catholic mission, and the city translates to “City of Mary.” The city centers on Mount Royal, which took its name from Notre Dame; French Catholicism still influences its name. Montreal thrived as long as many extractive economic activities happened nearby, but this changed following the discovery of iron ore near Quebec, and people began moving to Montmorency Falls.

Montreal, Canada

As of 2021, the city has a population of 1.8 million with a metropolitan population of 4.3 million, making it the second-largest in Canada and one of the most bilingual cities. Most people in Montreal speak French, while 18% speak English and 9% practice another language at home.

Montreal was once the commercial capital of Canada but has since been surpassed by Toronto. Montreal is still an important place for tourism, pharmaceuticals, and finance. It has the second-most consulates in North America and is ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world.

Montreal was ranked as a global city in 2018. The city is home to the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the most prominent jazz festival globally. It also has the Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One since 1978 and Les Francos de Montréal, the most significant event devoted exclusively to French-language music.

Google maps Montreal


Montreal is closer to the Atlantic coast of Europe than Vancouver on the Pacific Ocean, even though the latter is also in Canada. Montreal is hundreds of kilometers from Europe, but crossing a vast expanse of sometimes inhospitable wilderness is the only way to reach Vancouver. Even so, Montreal remains a European city at its roots. After Paris, it is the largest city in the francophone world, even though only one-third of its 1.8 million inhabitants are of French origin.

During the 1960s, the capital of the province of Quebec was the center of violent separatist activity promoted by the French-speaking majority. This slowed the city’s economic development and caused a loss of prestige for Toronto, which has since become the country’s driving force. Now that the tensions have subsided, Montreal has become the country’s cultural center, with its many museums, theatres, art centers, and cultural venues such as McGill University, one of the most prestigious universities in North America.

Every corner of Montreal bears witness to the city’s European history, which began in 1535 when explorer Jacques Cartier arrived on the island at the mouth of St Lawrence and Ottawa rivers. A little more than a century later, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve founded Vilié Marie “to the glory of God, to bring salvation to the Indians” on the orders of Louis XIV. The French aristocrat named the town’s only mountain Mont-Royal in homage to the king. Although only 225 meters high, it is known locally with deep respect as ‘la Montagne’ (‘the Mountain’) and is the name from which Montreal takes its name. In 1875, the city commissioned Frederick Law Olmsted – who designed New York’s Central Park – to turn it into a park. Mount Royal’s green space is second in size only to London’s Kew Gardens.

This rural setting serves as a counterpoint to the prestigious historic buildings, most of which are located in the charming Vieux Montréal (“Old Montreal”) district on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The district’s cobbled streets and squares are adorned with gems such as the neo-Gothic Basilique Notre-Dame,- the Château Ramezay, one of the oldest buildings in North America (1756), once the residence of French governors,- the Hôtel de Ville (1870) and the Marché Bonsecours, the former office center of the provincial administration, now home to boutiques and exhibitions. Behind the Vieux Montreal is the Quartier Latin, with the bohemian atmosphere befitting its Parisian namesake and the quayside area of the Vieux Port, currently under redevelopment. With its many high-rises, even the modern area has a sophisticated atmosphere – it is home to the Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde, a late 19th-century replica of St Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.

Although in the 19th century, the city was characterized by the feverish construction of religious buildings – Mark Twain said that you couldn’t throw a stone without breaking a church window – the 20th century saw the rise of influential public buildings. These include the “underground city”, with some thirty kilometers of footpaths running under the city, lined with shops, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres, the sensational exhibition space of the Centre Canadien architecture, and, above all, the stadiums built for the 1976 Olympics. To justify the enormous construction costs, these stadiums have become not only the venue for sporting events but also for all kinds of tourist attractions. One of them, the Biodome, was built initially as a cycling track and is now home to the Environmental Museum. If Montreal’s richness is its history, the land surrounding the city – Canada’s vast and largely untouched wilderness – is an equally precious treasure.

Geography

Montreal is a city situated on an island in southern Quebec at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa rivers. One of Montreal’s defining features is Mount Royal, a three-headed hill topped at 232m above sea level.

Montreal sits in the center of the Montreal Metropolitan Community. Laval borders it to the north, Longueuil, Saint-Lambert, Brossard, and other municipalities to the south, Repentigny to the east, and West Island metropolitan municipality to the west. Westmount, Montreal West, Hampstead, Côte Saint-Luc, Town of Mount Royal, and Francophone enclave Montreal East are all surrounded by Montreal.

Climate

Montreal has its climate classified as warm-summer humid continental. The summer months have high temperatures and humidity, with daily max averages in July of 26 to 27 °C (79 to 81 °F). The winter can be windy and drier, with the maximum average being 0 to 20 °C (32 to 68 °F).

In January, cold weather ranges from -10.5 to -9 °C (13.1 to 15.8 °F). But some days are warmer, allowing for the rain on average 4 days in January and February each. Usually, snow will last for about 2 months, frustrating some people because it is pretty annoying to remove snow quickly.[86] The temperature can feel below -30 °C (-22 °F), as wind chill often makes it seem low without an actual outside temperature of -30 °C (-22 °F).

Montreal has pleasant temperatures during spring and fall, but these can be changeable. Montreal is even more prone to drastic temperature changes in the spring. Indian summers and late-season heat waves usually occur in Montreal from November to March, occasionally even early to mid-October.

Montreal has an average of 1,000 mm (39 in) per year of precipitation. The city averages 210 cm (83 in) of snow and experiences thunderstorms from May to September that can be heavy with rain. The city averages 2,050 hours of sunshine annually.

Did you know?

Montreal is the second-most-populous city in Canada and the principal metropolis of the province of Quebec. The city occupies 141 square miles (365 square km), or 3/4s of Montreal Island.

  • The name Montréal is probably derived from Mont-Royal, which means royal mountain.
  • Montreal is a city where you can find many French colonial buildings dating back to the 16th century.
  • Montreal, or Montréal, is the largest city in Quebec and the second-largest city in Canada. Situated at the heart of the Island of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River, it is an international center for commerce and trade with a diversified economy.
  • Before Europeans, the Iroquois people resided in the region and can be traced through Pointe-à-Callière. It’s a national archaeological and historic site that invites you to explore the local culture.
  • Montreal was the largest city in Canada for some time. It’s smaller than Toronto now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a ton to see and do.
  • Montreal, the four-season city, bristles with energy, from concert halls to chefs’ tables to arenas, without forgetting the streets.
  • Montréal is a UNESCO city of design. See beautiful architecture around the city- especially in Old Montreal and the Old Port.
  • Montreal is one of Canada’s most culturally diverse cities and one of the most bilingual cities in North America.
  • With over 1.6 million people, it has seen rapid growth since 1996, ranking as one of the fastest-growing cities in North America.
  • Montreal hosted the 1967 World’s Fair and the 1976 Summer Olympics.
  • The famous song “Give Peace A Chance” was recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in 1969.
  • Central Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Mount Royal Park in Canada. Make sure to stop and take in the view from the lookout.
  • Montréal is full of sinful places for Americans who wanted to drink during Prohibition. The cocktails are delicious, and there are speakeasies too that you can still visit.
  • Canada’s largest church is Saint Joseph’s Oratory. It was built in 1904 and is now a National Historic Site. Beautiful, history-rich, and perfect for the picture-perfect dome.

Further readings: Montreal Wikipedia, Canada driving directions.