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COMPARE Montreal HOTELS

Montreal (French: Montréal) is the cultural capital of Quebec and the main entry point to the province. The second largest city in Canada, it is a city rich in culture and history, has an inordinate number of attractive, fashionably dressed people, and a well-deserved reputation as one of the liveliest cities in North America. Montreal is home to the second-largest population of native French speakers in the world, behind Paris.

Situated on an island in the St. Lawrence River at the historically highest navigable point, Montreal has been a strategic location since before the arrival of Europeans in Canada. A thriving Mohawk town called Hochelaga was on the site of present-day Montreal when explorer Jacques Cartier first visited in 1535. A hundred years later, in 1642, the tiny town of Ville-Marie was founded as a Sulpician mission by Paul Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve. It soon became a centre of the fur trade. After its capture by the English in 1762, Montreal remained (until the 1970s) the most important city in Canada and was briefly capital of the province in the 1840s.

Prohibition on sales of alcohol in the United States during the 1920s and '30s made Montreal a mecca for cross-border fun seekers from nearby New England and New York. The city built up a seedy, yet playful, industry in alcohol, burlesque, and other vices. In the 1960s, an urban renewal drive centered around Expo 67. The World's Fair in Montreal brought a subway system and a number of attractive urban parks and is considered to be one of the most successful World Fairs. Over 50 million visitors gathered to Montreal during this memorable summer. The 1976 Olympics left a strikingly idiosyncratic stadium and many other urban improvements.

The opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959, though much lauded as an economic boom, spelled the beginning of the end for Montreal's economic dominance in Canada. Once the transition point between western railroads and eastern sea carriers, Montreal watched helplessly as some of this business moved farther west, up the now navigable Seaway, to ports in Ontario and on Lake Superior. The Quebec Sovereignty movement, which began to pick up steam in the 1960s, further chilled the atmosphere for Canada-wide businesses, many of which moved their headquarters to Toronto.

Following an economic depression in the 1980s and 1990s, Montreal became more secure in its place in North America and the world. It remains a centre of culture, arts, computer technology, aerospace, the biotech industry, and media for all of Canada and for the French-speaking world.

Gay Montreal

Montreal is an extremely inviting destination for gay and lesbian tourists and it is arguably the most gay-friendly city in North America. Canada's contributions to gay rights have recently become widely known, but Quebec was the first province in Canada to pass a non-discrimination law for sexual orientation and to provide same-sex civil unions. Same-sex marriage is legal in Quebec (neither residency nor citizenship are required for a marriage license, but there is a three-week waiting period after you receive the licence). Canadian and Quebec immigration law allow residents to sponsor their same-sex partners or spouses.

Montreal itself is a very safe, open, and inviting city. It has the largest gay village in North America (rue Sainte-Catherine from rue Saint-Hubert (métro Berri-UQAM) to avenue Papineau (métro Papineau). The métro station halfway between the two, Beaudry, is marked with rainbow pillars. Montreal's pride celebration, Divers/Cité(last week of July, first week of August) is the second-largest in North America after Toronto's.

Districts

 

Central Montreal

  • Old Montreal — The historic and (dare we say it) quaint riverfront Old Town and Old Port.
  • Downtown — Sky scrapers, shopping, and museums.
  • Quartier Latin
  • The Plateau — Covering McGill Ghetto, upper St-Laurent, St-Denis, and Mont Royal Ave. Don't forget Mile-End.
  • Gay Village — Clubs, clothes, and culture in North America's largest gay district.
  • Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie — Little Italy and Jean-Talon market.
  • Westmount — Upscale anglophone neighborhood.
  • Hochelaga-Maisonneuve — Olympic Park, Botanical Gardens.
  • Cotes-des-Neiges — Multicultural neighborhood northwest of the mountain.
  • Outremont — Bagels and bistros.
  • Parc Jean-Drapeau — The islands of Ile Ste-Helene and Ile Notre Dame and the Montreal Casino.
  • South West — Including Lachine canal, Atwater Market, St. Henri, and the emerging culinary hot-spot, Petite-Bourgogne.

Elsewhere on the island

  • West Island
  • East Island
  • North Island

See

  • The dome of the Marché Bonsecours in Old MontrealOld City contains the vast majority of historical buildings, most dating from the 17th - 19th century, and many museums. At night several of the buildings are beautifully lit up. A Tourist Office brochure lays out a walking map. Consider following it once during the day, and again at night.
  • Le Plateau combines scenic residential streets with hip shopping and dining.
  • Downtown Skyscrapers, McGill campus, churches, and museums. Several blocks are connected by 30 Km of underground arcades and malls, allowing comfortable walking and shopping when the weather is foul.
  • Parc Jean-Drapeau, site of the 1967 World's Fair, now devoted to green spaces and a large outdoor concert venue. The Gilles Villeneuve racing circuit, home of the Montreal Formula 1 Grand Prix. An artificial beach, a huge outdoor pool complex, and the Montreal Casino are also located on or around the park.
  • A few kilometres Metro ride to the north, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve offers the Olympic Stadium, Insectarium, Jardin Botanique, and Biodôme. Allow four hours to see all four.

 

All List of Montreal Hotels

 


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