Much of the country's tourism is centered around Canada's four largest cities, Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, and Ottawa, well known for their culture, diversity, as well as the many national parks and historic sites.
Local tourist offices provide information about the city, maps, hotel and hostel bookings, information about getting around on public transport, tours, and how to find the best deals. The official tourism site for Canada is http://caen.canada.travel/ and for Montréal it is http://www.tourisme-montreal.org/.
Ministère du Tourisme Québec
Mailing Address: P.O Box 979, Montréal (Québec) H3C 2W3 Canada
Tel (Montréal area): 514 873-2015
Toll free, from Canada and U.S.A.: 1 877 BONJOUR (266-5687)
Address: 1255 Peel Street, Suite 100 (corner of Sainte-Catherine Street West)
Tourist Welcome Office in Old Montréal
Address: 174 Notre-Dame Street East, Champ-de-Mars, Montréal, Québec
Canada is a wealth of majestic sights both of nature and man-made. Montréal is the crowning city of Québec with a truly European character and flair. Attractions can be found in every corner of the city, throughout the year.
Metro: Square-Victoria, Champ-de-Mars, and Place-d'Armes
Vieux-Montréal is more than just an area, this is an attraction in itself. This is the site of the majority of historical buildings from the 17th - 19th century along cobble stoned streets. The area is beautifully lit in the evening, and many events and activities tale place here. During the summer, Place Jacques-Cartier is packed with street performers and tourists. It includes:
Vieux-Port (Old Port) - South of rue Saint-Antoine between rue McGill and rue Berri (metro Champ-de-Mars or Place-d'Armes), the Old Port is a large waterfront green space. It includes attractions of Cirque du Soleil, the Montréal Science Center, the Labyrinth, the Clock Tower, and a large outdoor audio-visual stage.
Place Jacques-Cartier - Pedestrian street filled with street artists and musicians. There are numerous fine restaurants and private art galleries nearby.
Bonsecours Market (Marché Bonsecours) - (350 rue Saint-Paul est; metro Champ-de-Mars) One of Canada's ten finest heritage buildings. Headquarters of the Conseil des métiers d'art du Québec (Québec Crafts Council), the Marché houses 15 boutiques featuring top-quality “made in Québec” creations and restaurants.
Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame) - (116 rue Notre-Dame ouest; metro Place-d'Armes) One of the city's most spectacular church. A beautiful example of Victorian Gothic, entrance is free for worship, but donations are suggested.
Place-D'armes - This square is framed by some of the finest buildings in Old Montréal, including its oldest bank, first skyscraper and Basilique Notre-Dame. The square's name references the bloody battles that took place here as religious settlers and First Nations tribes thrashed out control of what would become Montréal. At its center stands the Monument Maisonneuve, dedicated to city founder Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve. The red sandstone building on the east side of the square is the New York Life Insurance Building, Montréal's first skyscraper (1888).
Rue St-Jacques - Known as the Wall Street of Canada into the 1930s, Rue St-Jacques is lined with the head offices of insurance companies and banks. A testament to capitalism, is features the 1902 Guardian Insurance Building with helmeted women guarding the entrance while lions and mermaids watch over on the 2nd floor. The Molson Bank Building appears like a royal residence with heads of founder William and his two sons grace the doorway. Most eye-catching is the glamorous Royal Bank Building which was once the city's tallest building at 22 stories.
Montréal Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanique de Montréal)
Address: 4101 Sherbrooke St. E. | Montréal, Québec H1X 2B2
Tel.: 514 872-1400
Admission: $17.75 adult (low rate of $15.75 from April 30 to May 14; from November 5 to December 13
Hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (summer); Tuesday through Sunday 9:00 to 17:00 (winter)
The 185-acre Botanical Gardens with 10 themed greenhouses. There are over 26,000 species of flora including a Japanese Zen garden, Chinese Garden, rose garden, alpine garden, and popular poisonous plant garden. Entry costs depend on the season -- a list of prices can be found at the Montréal Botanical Gardens website.
Address: 2929 Ave Jeanne-d'Arc, Montréal, Québec
Tel.: 514 259.9201
Admission: $7 adult / $3.50 child
Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 Wed-Sun
This beautiful beaux-arts mansion was commissioned by brothers Oscar and Marius Dufresne in 1916. Modeled after the Versailles Palace in France, it still features beautiful interiors. Italian artist Guido Nincheri was in charge of interior decoration and painted many murals within the mansion.
Address: 2146 Pl Dublin, Montréal, Québec
Tel.: 514 935 8136
Hours: 13:00 - 17:00 Tue-Sun, early Jan-mid-Jun & early Sep-mid Dec
A magnificent farmhouse in Pointe St-Charles, this is an examples of traditional Québec architecture. Originally bought in 1668 by Marguerite Bourgeoys to house a religious order, it also housed young women, called the Filles du Roy, who were sent from Paris to Montréal to find husbands. Note the 17th-century roof of the two-story building and intricate beam work.
Address: 2345 Rue Jarry Est & Rue d'Iberville, Montréal, Québec
Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 Monday-Friday
Located in working-class St-Michel district, this innovative complex is an arena designed as the Cirque du Soleil's international headquarters and artists' residence and the National Circus School. TOHU (which comes from the French expression tohu-bohu, for hustle and bustle) was built on the sight of North America's second largest waste dump. It is now powered completely by methane gas from the landfill garbage beneath it. There is an audio tour or a guided 90-minute tour.
La Ronde Amusement Park
Address: Île Ste-Hélène, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montréal, Québec
Metro: Jean-Drapeau, then bus 167
Tel.: 514 397 2000
Admission: $39 adult /$26 child
Hours: 11:00 - 20:00 Jun-Aug (open on various weekends and times throughout the rest of the year)
This is Québec's largest amusement park. There is an impressive selection of rides, including Le Monstre, the world's highest wooden roller coaster; and Le Vampire, a corkscrew roller coaster. Concerts and shows are held throughout the summer, and fireworks explode overhead on weekend evenings.
Olympic Stadium (Parc Olympique)
Address: 4549 Rue Pierre De Coubertin Montréal, QC H1V 3N7, Canada
Tel.: (514) 252-4737
Parc Olympique is a controversial attraction. It was built for the 1976 Olympic Games, but remained unfinished until the 1980s, despite a cost of $1.4 billion. Even then, the retractable roof over the stadium has never full worked. Visitors can explore the exhibitions, sights and activities or a guided tour. There is also an enthralling view of the region.
Mount Royal Park Parc du Mont-Royal
Address: 1260 Remembrance Road, Montréal H3H 1A2
Tel.: 514 843-8240
Mont-Royal dominates the geographical landscape of Montréal. It was named by Jacques Cartier in 1535 and is a protected district of more than 343 acres. Activities depend on the time of year, include skating, cycling, paddle-boating, tobogganing and snow shoeing.
Montréal Biodome (Biodome de Montréal)
Address: 4777 avenue Pierre-De Coubertin, Montréal, Québec, H1V 1B3
Metro: Green Line's Station Viau metro station
Tel.: (514) 868-3000
Admission: $17.75 for adults
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (open until 18:00 in summer)
Housed in the former Olympic bicycle-racing stadium, the Montréal Biodome holds four distinct ecosystems:
There is a range of tours with different focuses, price points, and modes of transportation. Many inexpensive tours start at the larger hostels, and most accommodations will have pamphlets. Day Tours are available to visit specific attractions or just as a day guide. Guides organize trips to specific sites, or day trips to outlying areas.
Estimate the Pros & Cons of a tour:
Montréal is the center of many festivals and happenings throughout the year.
Friday Nocturnes - The Nocturnes series occurs the first Friday of every month. It features exhibitions, live music, and more.
Snow Village (January - March) - The Snow Village offers a picturesque white wonderland of ice hotel, heated spas, snow igloos, ice restaurant, ice chapel, snow labyrinth, and replicas of familiar Montréal buildings and lighted snow tunnels.
Igloofest (January weekends) - An igloo kingdom with performances from the best artists of the electronic scene.
Salon de l'Auto (mid-January) - Car show
Rendez-vous du cinéma Québécois (mid-February) - Cinema festival
New Music International Festival (mid-February) - Music festival with themes like voice and percussion. The program will include concerts, after-hour gatherings, sound installations, and youth activities at different venues around the city.
International Children's Film Festival (early March) - Honors children's film with showings and awards.
Saint Patrick's Day parade (centered around March 17th) - Irish heritage is celebrated and everything is decorated in green and shamrock.
Vue Sur La Relève (mid-April) - Festival geared towards showcasing the works of emerging artists aged 35 and under. Covers theater, dance, music and spoken word.
St-Jean-sur-Richelieu Hot Air Balloon Festival (mid-April) - Balloons of all sizes are featured with large scale celebrations.
Festival Mondiale de la bière (early June) - Five days of tasting beers, ciders, and other beverages from all over Québec, Canada.
Québec's National Holiday (June 24th) - (La Fête nationale du Québec) This holiday remembers the landing on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River on the evening of June 23, 1636. It celebrates with frieworks, concerts, and festivals.
Montréal International Fireworks Competition (mid-June - late July) - Located in La Ronde amusement park, this festival features full-length fireworks displays, accompanied by orchestral music, by national teams from about a dozen countries around the world.
Montréal International Jazz Festival (late June - early July) - Ranked as the world's largest jazz festival by Guinness World Records. Also known as the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, this is a 10 day celebration.
Canada Day (June 21 to July 1) - (Fête du Canada) Commemorates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867 enactment of the British North America Act. This united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. Celebration includes individual parties, and national festivals.
Divers/Cité (late July- August) - A LGBT multi disciplinary arts and music festival. Programming includes dance, DJing, films, photo exhibitions, jazz, pop, Latin, rock, house, R&B and electronic concerts.
Just For Laughs Festival (mid-July) - Comedy festival with three main components: indoor paid shows, free street theater/comedy, and a mini film festival called Comedia.
Shakespeare-in-the-Park (July-August) - During the summer Repercussion Theatre puts on outdoor performances of Shakespeare in parks around Montréal. Performances are free of charge.
Osheaga (1st weekend in August) - Close to 100 musical acts take the stage in a three day festival.
Les escales improbables de Montréal (first weeks of september) - This festival explores the "unexpected" side of visual arts, music, and more.
Black & Blue Festival (early October) - The Black & Blue Festival features about 60 activities for the gay community.
CINEMANIA French Film Festival (mid-November) - Shows French-language films subtitled in English.
Parade de Noël Anjou (mid-November) - The east end neighborhood of Anjou features the annual Friday evening Christmas parade to kick off the winter festivities.
Festival du Monde Arabe (mid-November) - Annual festival celebrating the music and culture of the Arab world takes place in Montréal. Many Arab performers, traditional and modern, take the stage.
Old Montréal's Extravaganza (mid-end December) - Winter activities take place at 20 indoor and outdoor enchanting sites.
There are several passes that offer visitors to Canada and the city of Montréal substantial savings.
Accès Montréal Card offers Montréal residents the chance to get discounts on museum exhibits, opera tickets, Botanical Garden visits, and more. The card only costs $7 and can provide significant discounts. Call 311 or (514) 872-0311 for information.
Montréal Museum Pass
Offers entry to 38 of Montréal's museums. There are choices of how long you can purchase the pas, and with or without transportation. There are aso hotel packages. Can be purchased online or at Tourist Information Centres.
Montréal Museums Pass (with public transit) ($ 65) - Valid for 3 consecutive days starting with the first paid visit
Montréal Museums Pass (without public transit) ($60) - Valid for 3 days of your choice within a 21-day period
Montréal Museums Prestige Pass ($200) - 2 visits per museum for 1 year.
Smart Canucks provides offers of discounts and coupons across Canada.