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Overview of Montreal,  Quebec

"Some information from Wikipedia"

Montreal Quebec Overview


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Montreal, or Montréal in French,is the second largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of Quebec. It is also the second largest Francophone city in the world after Paris. Sometimes called The City Of Saints, many of its street names begin with "Saint" and reflect its Roman Catholic origins and history. At the 2001 Canadian Census, 1,584,590 people lived on the current territory of the city of Montreal proper (new 2006 demerged territory). The population of the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (also known as Greater Montreal Area) is estimated at 3,640,000 in 2005. Montreal is ranked as the 15th-largest metropolitan area in Northern America and 77th in the world. In 2006, both Traveler's Digest and ranked Montreal as the number one city in the world to live in for its culture, architecture, history and ambience.

Montreal is situated in the southwest of the province of Quebec, approximately 270 kilometres (168 miles) southwest of Quebec City, the provincial capital, and 190 kilometres (118 mi) east of Ottawa, the federal capital, 539 kilometres (335 mi) northeast of Toronto, 610 kilometres (380 mi) north of New York City.

The city is located on the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The port of Montreal lies at one end of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which is the river gateway that stretches from the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean. Montreal is bordered by the St. Lawrence river on its south side, and by the Riviere des Prairies on the north.

French rule

Huron, Algonquin, and Iroquois have inhabited the Montreal area for some eight thousand years. The first European to reach the area was Jacques Cartier, when he entered the village of Hochelega on the Island of Montreal on October 2, 1535.

Seventy years later, Samuel de Champlain arrived on the island but the village of Hochelaga no longer existed. In 1611 he established La Place Royale, a fur trading post on the Island of Montreal, but the local Iroquois successfully defended their land. The first permanent European settlement on the Island of Montreal was created in 1639 by a French tax collector named Jérôme Le Royer. Missionaries Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, Jeanne Mance and a few French colonists founded the Ville Marie Catholic mission on May 17, 1642.

Ville Marie became a centre for the fur trade and a base for further exploration into New France. The Iroquois continued their attacks on the settlement until a peace treaty was signed in 1701. The town remained French until 1760, when Pierre François de Rigaud, Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal surrendered it to the British army under Jeffrey Amherst. Fire destroyed one quarter of the town on May 18, 1765.

British rule

The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended the Seven Years' War and ceded New France to the Kingdom of Great Britain. American Revolutionists briefly held the city in 1775 but soon left. By this time, now named Montreal, the city started to grow from British immigration. The golden era of fur trading began in the city with the advent of the locally owned North West Company, the main rival to the primarily British Hudson's Bay Company.

Montreal was incorporated as a city in 1832. The city's growth was spurred by the opening of the Lachine Canal, which permitted ships to bypass the unnavigable Lachine Rapids south of the island. Montreal was the capital of the United Province of Canada from 1844 to 1849, which attracted more English-speakers (or Anglophones) to the city, making the two linguistic groups roughly equal in size. The resulting increased Anglophone community built one of Canada's first universities, McGill, and the wealthy merchant classes began building large mansions at the foot of Mont Royal.

After Confederation - 1867

n 1852 Montreal had 58,000 inhabitants; by 1860 it was the largest city in British North America and the undisputed economic and cultural centre of Canada. The Canadian Pacific Railway made its headquarters there in 1880 until 1995 when it moved to Calgary, and the Canadian National Railway in 1919. Saint Jacques Street in what is now Old Montreal, then better known as Saint James Street, became the centre of the Canadian financial industry in the late 19th century. The name "Saint James Street" signified Canadian high finance as much as "Bay Street" is used in Toronto or Wall Street is used in the United States today. With the annexation of neighbouring towns between 1883 and 1918, Montreal became a mostly Francophone city again. The tradition to alternate between a Francophone and an Anglophone mayor began and lasted until 1914.


Montreal lies at the confluence of several climactic regions and thus the climate in Montreal varies greatly.

Precipitation is abundant with an average snowfall of 2.14 metres (84 in) per year in the winter. It snows on average more in Montreal, than Moscow, Russia. Regular rainfall throughout the year averages 897 millimetres (35.3 in). Each year the city government spends more than C$50 million on snow removal. Summer is the wettest season statistically, but it is also the sunniest.

The coldest month of the year is January, which has a daily average temperature of ?10.4 C (13 F) - averaging a daily low of ?14.9 C (5.2 F). Due to wind chill, the perceived temperature can be much lower than the actual temperature and wind chill factor is often included in Montreal weather forecasts. The warmest month is July which has a daily average temperature of 20.9 C (69.6 F) - averaging a daily high of 26.3 C (79.3 F). The lowest temperature ever recorded was ?37.8 C (?36.0 F) on 15 January 1957 and the highest temperature ever was 37.6 C (99.7 F) on 1 August 1975. Moderate to high humidity is common in the summer. In spring and autumn, rainfall averages between 55 and 94 millimetres (2.2 and 3.7 in) a month. Some snow in spring and autumn is normal. Similarly, late heat waves as well as "Indian summers" are a regular feature of the climate.

Despite its widely varying climate, the Montreal region supports a diverse array of plants and wildlife. The maple is one of the most common trees and the sugar maple in particular is an enduring symbol of Montreal and Quebec, thanks to the production of maple syrup.

Museums and cultural centres

Montreal is the centre of Quebec culture and a major centre of Canadian culture in general. It has many specialized museums such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), the Musée d'art contemporain (MAC), the Redpath Museum, the Stewart Museum, the McCord Museum of Canadian History, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The Place des Arts cultural complex houses the MAC and several theatres, and is the seat of the Montreal Opera and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, although the latter is slated to receive a new concert hall adjacent to Place des Arts.

Underground city

Montreal's Underground City (French: La ville souterraine) is the set of underground city complexes in and around downtown. It is also known as the indoor city (ville intérieure), as not all of it is underground. With over 32 kilometres (20 mi) of tunnels spread over an area of twelve square kilometres (4.6 sq mi), the 60 residential and commercial complexes comprise 3.6 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi) of floor space, including 80 percent of all office space and 35 percent of all commercial space in downtown Montreal. Services include shopping malls, hotels, banks, offices, museums, universities, seven metro stations, two commuter train stations, a bus terminal and the Bell Centre hockey arena. There are more than 120 exterior access points to the underground city. Some 500,000 people use the underground city every day, especially to escape the traffic and/or Montreal's harsh winter. Because of the Underground City, Montreal is often referred to as "Two Cities in One."

Night life

During the period of Prohibition in the United States, Montreal became well-known as one of North America's "sin cities" with unparalleled nightlife, a reputation it still holds today. In part, its bustling nightlife is attributed to its relatively late "last call" (3 a.m.), and its many restaurants and afterhours clubs that stay open well on into the morning.

Crescent Crescent Street is "party central" for Montreal's Anglophone population, lying at the edge of the Concordia University campus. Throughout the summer, it features street fairs and festivals. The Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix unofficially starts off Montreal's non-stop festival season in the summer. Crescent Street also features many clubs and bars. The clientele of Crescent nightclubs and bars are mostly students, tourists and in general a younger crowd looking for exhilaration and excitement. Most venues will play Top 40, rap and hip hop music. The nearest subway stops are Peel and Guy-Concordia.

Saint-Denis Saint Denis Street is the heart of the Latin Quarter of Montreal (Quartier latin), just south of the Plateau, and filled with clubs, bars, and street festivals. The principal east-west axes of this district are Saint Catherine Street and Boulevard de Maisonneuve, with Saint Denis Street as its north-south axis. The mood is bohemian, and the language is mainly French.

The Main Boulevard Saint-Laurent (Saint Laurent Boulevard, known locally as "The Main") is one of the best places to find nightlife, with many bars and nightclubs and a wide range of restaurants. Saint-Laurent street night spots are often less mainstream than those on Crescent street, with a great variety; from Top 40 and urban music to electronica and techno, from underground and alternative rock to live bands. South of Prince Arthur Street, towards Sherbrooke Street, one is likely to encounter a "posher" clientele. From Prince Arthur Street north (to Mount Royal avenue & beyond), one should expect to rub shoulders with an "edgier" crowd. The nearest subway stop is Saint-Laurent.

Sainte-Catherine Another notable night life spot is Ste-Catherine Street between St-Hubert and Papineau, where many gay nightclubs are concentrated.

Afterhour clubs Montreal nightlife is also rated fourth in the world at for its after-hours (3 to 11 a.m.). One can often see world-famous deejays such as Tiësto, Deep Dish and Armin van Buuren featured in Montreal's clubs and after-hours.

Strip-clubs Montreal is known in some circles as the strip club capital of Canada. The city has over 30 male and female strip clubs in the downtown area alone. Strip clubs in Montreal are unique in that the majority offer full-contact lap dances. Full-contact lap dances have been legal in the province of Quebec as of 2001. Strip clubs in Montreal are either categorized as full-contact or non-contact.

Strip clubs in Montreal operate differently from U.S. strip clubs. In Montreal exotic dancers are mostly independent workers, not house dancers. Dancers are thus free to work at a variety of strip clubs, and often do. Unlike U.S. exotic dancers, those working in Montreal retain all of the revenues from their performances; gratuity is not expected.
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