Nestled along the St. Lawrence River, the city of Montreal, which is actually an island, and was first a centre for the fur trade developed by the French. Over the years, Montreal has expanded to the second largest city in Canada, with a population of now over 3 million people. Often referred to as the Paris of North America, Montreal is one the oldest cities on the continent. It was discovered over 350 years ago by French Explorers, and has a wide range of historical attractions. Although it has a wide variety of historical attractions for those history buffs, it has a vibrant and exciting night life for those young at heart.
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Montreal is home to numerous, fascinating neighbourhoods. When visiting these neighbourhoods, you can browse designer shops, visit trend-setting galleries, or tour the underground pedestrian network. This underground pedestrian network links numerous hotels, restaurants, boutiques, office buildings, attractions and universities. Over 500,000 people go through this network on their way to and from work, to shop or to dine every day.
For those history buffs, visit the Museum Quarter or the Quartier International de Montreal! Here you can visit the peaceful streets of the old city, many cultural treasures, visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and much more! One of the most well-known landmarks of Montreal is the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal. This building is Gothic Revival architecture, built between 1824 and 1829. Daily tours of the basilica are offered and feature its paintings, sculptures, and stained-glass windows. Also available in the evening is a sound and light show. This displays the building’s cultural, architectural and spiritual heritage.
Love to shop? How about Sainte-Catherine Street? Here you can shop along the 15 kilometre-stretch of major department stores, shops and restaurants. With new office towers surrounding the street, the underground shopping mall and metro stations blend in within the street. Looking for a laugh? Why not try out Montreal’s own Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and Museum? Here you can check out a variety of shows or just view the museum.
Montreal’s International Jazz Festival is held every year in downtown Montreal, where the streets are closed to traffic and become pedestrian-only streets. The festival features 11 days of entertainment from noon until midnight in the month of July. Here you can experience a wide variety of music and culture, including Jazz, Blues, Latin-Jazz, Brazilian, Cuban, African, Reggae, and Contemporary. The jazz festival also features 3000 different artists from 30 different countries, for more than 650 concerts (450 outdoor), 10 free outdoor stages, and 10 concert halls. In 2004, this festival was awarded the record for the World’s Largest Jazz Festival by Guinness World Records. Past performers include B.B. King, Tony Bennett, and Diana Krall.
End your visit to Montreal with a trip to the Montreal Botanical Garden. The Montreal Botanical Garden has a variety of over 20,000 species of plants and cultivars, 10 exhibitions greenhouses and over 30 thematic gardens. The captivating colours and fragrances from around the world make this one of the world’s the largest and most beautiful botanical gardens.