Family Vacation in Montreal, Canada
Montreal, Canada, located in an area originally called New France, offers a perfect blend of the old European and the new progressive world. With 53% of the population speaking both French and English, it is the second largest French speaking city in the world, right behind Paris. Culturally, the city has much to offer, art museums, music, ballet and more. Annually it hosts an internationally renowned Jazz Festival and Just for laughs Festival. Under ground shopping malls, that seem to never end, ensure year around shopping pleasure. Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (PET), also known as Montreal Trudeau Airport, is about 13 miles west of downtown.
Skiing in Eastern North America got its start in the Laurentians, just north of Montreal. The first mechanical lift in North America was in Idaho, but not a year later one was installed near Morin Heights, just 45 minutes from downtown Montreal. From these early beginnings has developed an extensive network of ski hills that cater to all tastes.
Montreal, Canada - Fun Vacation for All!
Family Fun Things To Do in Montreal, Canada
Montreal Bell Amphitheatre- Indoor skating rink- Located at 1000 rue de la Gauchetiere- you can bring your skates at any time of year and skate away in a 5 million dollar skating rink. Surrounded by cafes and shops- the rink is especially pretty in winter since it is surrounded by a winter garden
MontRoyal and a trek up the mountain- This old volcano of year's past is now a hugely popular hill- some call it a mountain with extensive parkland and trails. Built by the famous Olmstead who also designed Central Park and Golden Gate park in San Francisco- you will find a playground for city dwellers and visitors. Great at any time of the year for walks, hikes, sunbathing, relaxing- you name it. At the top take a glimpse of the city- the view is exhilarating- During the summer- check out the Bongo Drum Park- a slew of talented and some not so talented individuals come and play the drums and add a flavorful beat to the locale. Great place to come and picnic with friends and just hang out.
Family Fun or Walks for Romantic Couples in Montreal
Old Montreal- Vieux Port This area has the most number of historic buildings of any city in North America. The whole area has been preserved and is definitely reminiscent of old world charm. Stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets- feast your eyes to the architecture around you. Place Jacques Cartier is the epicentre of this area- a grand public square- with the City Hall at on end and a row of shops- restaurants and tourist traps surrounding it. In the summer- street vendors and street artists contribute to the street life and to the vibrancy of the area.
While in Vieux Montreal, make sure to walk along rue Notre Dame, the oldest street in the city and view the Montreal courthouse built by the Britts in 1857. Chateau Ramezay is also located on this street (280 rue Notre Dame Est), the home of the "Companie des Indes" which has now become a museum. You have to view Place D'Armes, another beautiful square. At the north side is the headquarter building for the Bank of Montreal- Canada's oldest Bank (129 rue St. Jacques) and on the southern end of the square is the beautiful Montreal Notre Dame Cathedral (116 Notre Dame Ouest), that is well worth a tour inside. The interior is exquisite- the stained glass windows gleam as well as the beauty in the intricacies of the woodwork. This cathedral is also renowned for its bells- the largest in North America that lie within the Cathedral's two towers named Temperance and Perseverance.
Montreal Chinatown Montreal boasts a sizeable Chinatown- with plenty of specialized food stores and restaurants. Rue de la Gauchetierre is the main street in the heart of Chinatown and on many small streets surrounding (approximately 15 blocks). Its northern most point is Boul. Rene Levesques and Viger its southernmost point. Walk around on weekends and see all the boutiques with fresh produce and seafood. It is a great experience just strolling around. In the evening, walk around and you are bound to find a restaurant that will serve you a great meal.
Downtown Montreal The central core of the downtown is McGill Avenue, with Place Ville Marie at its end. On each side of this avenue are signs of business life, embodied in its skyscrapers. Place Ville Marie- built in the 60's is a 4-pronged building in the sign of a cross which is at the nucleus of business activity of the city. Other buildings worth noting are Place Bonaventure, Montreal Trust Building, and Banque BNP (with its eerie sculpture of apocalyptic people in the forefront)
McGill University Nestled in the Downtown Core- one of Canada's largest and most prestigious Universities is a great place to walk around and see a functional campus in use. The arts building is the focal point of the campus. It can be viewed in its majestic splendor from the Roddick gates entrance and is a good departure point to venture to the different corners of the University. Right near the Arts building is the Redpath Museum. It is free of charge and houses an interesting permanent collection of ethnology and natural history (514-398-4086).
Especially in the summertime walk, bike or rollerblade to the redeveloped Old Port. Some of the piers have been restored and it is a great place to spend an afternoon. A new Imax was built a couple of years ago and in the area from May until mid September you can browse and shop in the flea market. The Port can also be visited in the wintertime as it has an abundance of activities ranging from snowshoeing to ice skating. From Downtown- it is not a far walk or else take the subway and get off at the metro stop Champs de Mars or Place-d'Armes
Olympic Stadium built for the 1974 Olympic Games- this structure is still after so many years a site worth visiting- it is lit tremendously at night and highly compliments the highly angled leaning tower that emanates from the base of the stadium. You can take a ride up the tower and see some great views of Downtown.
Montreal Place des Arts Built in the 60's as a government subsidized artistic contribution to the city- this arts center boasts three theatres, a museum (Contemporary Art Museum) and takes up a whole city block. It is beautifully landscaped- fronted by a majestic fountain. You can come and see the Montreal Symphony orchestra (world renowned), the Opera de Montreal or any live musical show that is in town.
Shopping and Restaurants in Montreal
St Catherine Street. The main shopping artery of Montreal- St Catherine's is always bustling with people- rain or shine- sun or frost and the shops are constantly filled up with eager buyers. Running East to West, from the Faubourg (West) to St Laurent (East), the myriad of shops, clothing, specialty, jewelry and fast food chains- and lest we forget the infamous strip clubs abound in this area. You will also find the Eaton Centre and the Bay as well as the Ville Souteraine- the underground city- all the malls are intertwined and linked and create a massive web. In those below freezing days that are so representative of the long winters of the city- you thank God for these interior mazes.
St Denis St. The Plateau includes the northern part of rue St-Denis, a traditionally francophone enclave which offers some of the best restaurants and shopping in the city. On the first nice spring weekend, it seems that all of Montreal flocks to St-Denis to soak up the first rays of the season, while sipping on cafÈ au lait in a bowl. It is truly a sight to be seen as dogs and babies mix with senior citizens and club kids, all enjoying this annual spring renaissance. For some reason, St-Denis also offers a conglomeration of futon stores that attract many of Montreal's 150,000 post-secondary students who live in the McGill University student ghetto or live in student areas near the Universite de Montreal and Universite du Quebec a Montreal.
The Underground City Montreal is known for its vast network of underground malls- La Ville Souterraine- all are linked to one another and are a refuge during the harsh winters that Montreal is accustomed to. Great clothing stores, to food, to everything you want to find can be purchased within the stores of Les Cours Mont Royal (1550 Metcalfe); Les Promenades de la Cathedrale (corner of Rue St Catherine and University Ave); Place Montreal Trust (1660 McGill College at Rue Dt. Catherine).
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