Montreal, QC, Canada

Montreal is Canada’s second largest city with nearly two million residents. The area was first explored by Frenchman Jacques Cartier in 1535. Then, navigator Samuel de Champlain (founder of Québec City) created a fur trading post here in 1611. Three decades passed before the settlement of Ville-Marie was established in 1642. Now is your opportunity to explore this exciting bilingual city on the Island of Montreal.

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1 Maisonneuve Monument at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

An excellent place to start your walking tour is at Place d’Armes. This main square in the heart of Old Montreal dates back to 1693. In the center is the Maisonneuve Monument. The ensemble of bronze sculptures was created by Louis-Philippe Hébert in 1895. Holding the flag is Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve. In 1642, Maisonneuve established Fort Ville-Marie (City of Mary). The French fortress, settlement and missionary evolved into today’s Montreal.

512 Place d'Armes, Montreal, QC H2Y 2W2, Canada

2 Notre-Dame Basilica at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal is the focal point of Place d’Armes and the architectural pinnacle of the city. The first Catholic church dedicated to Mary was built here in 1672. In 1824, architect James O’Donnell was hired to create its replacement. He designed an elegant Gothic Revival façade. The consecration ceremony was held on July 1, 1829. The west tower (La Persévérance or The Perseverance) was added in 1841. The other (La Tempérance or The Temperance) was finished two years later. Their 200 foot height, together with the building’s 259 foot length, qualified Notre-Dame Basilica as the largest church in North America for nearly five decades.

110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H2Y 2V5, Canada

3 Inside Notre-Dame Basilica at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

Over 11 million people annually visit Notre-Dame Basilica. You can always expect a long line of tourists eager to go in. Is it worth the wait? Absolutely! The interior is among the most spectacular in the world. The ribbed canopy features stars against a blue-green field. The ceiling is pierced by huge Gothic arches. Bold painted columns define two levels of balconies. An abundance of wooden sculptures and stained-glass windows accent the nave and sanctuary. The intricate pulpit (left) with a spiral staircase stands an impressive 46 feet. The altarpiece features the Crucifixion plus four Old Testament scenes. In short, you will be awed. For a special treat, attend an evening performance of Aura. The 45 minute music and light show by Moment Factory is phenomenal.

110 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, QC H2Y 2V5, Canada

4 Aldred Building at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

Place d’Armes is encircled by many other Montreal landmarks. Let’s take a few minutes to admire a few of them starting with the Aldred Building. One look at the handsome, Indiana limestone exterior suggests Édifice Aldred was built in the early 1930s when Art Deco was at the peak of popularity across the globe. Montreal’s first skyscraper at 316 feet was designed by Ernest Isbell Barott for the Aldred & Company of New York.

507 Place d'Armes, Montreal, QC H2Y 2W8, Canada

5 New York Life Building at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

There is a sharp contrast between the Aldred Building and the neighboring New York Life Building constructed in 1887. The eight-story façade is covered with red sandstone from Scotland and has a Richardsonian Romanesque design. In 1909, the life insurance company moved out and the Bank of Quebec moved in. Consequently, the office building is often referred to as the Quebec Banking Building.

511 Place d'Armes, Montreal, QC H2Y 1L3, Canada

6 Bank of Montreal Building at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

Bank of Montreal was established in 1817, qualifying as Canada’s oldest financial institution. In 1847, their head office moved into this Neoclassical building facing Place d’Armes. Notice the high reliefs in the pediment. They were created by Sir John Steel. He is famous for many noteworthy sculptures in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, BMO ranks fourth among the country’s Big Five banks. Technically, this remains their headquarters (although most functions moved to Toronto in 1977). Inside you will find a free museum about the Bank of Montreal’s history.

129 St Jacques St, Montreal, QC H2Y 1L6, Canada

7 Two Snobs Sculptures at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

At 435 feet, the tallest structure at Place d’Armes is 500 Place D’Armes. Don’t strain your neck looking up. The most interesting features are at eye level. This is The French Poodle. It is one of two bronze sculptures created in 2013 by Marc Andre J. Fortier named The Two Snobs. The other statue – placed about 200 feet away – shows a man with his nose in the air while holding an English pug dog. The pair playfully represents the snooty English and French aristocrats in Canada and their self-perceived superiority over the other.

500 Place D'Armes, Montreal, QC H2Y 2W2, Canada

8 Saint Sulpice Seminary at Place d’Armes in Montreal, Canada

Adjacent to Notre-Dame Basilica at Place d’Armes is the second oldest building in Montreal. The austere, stone structure was constructed in 1687 by the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice. The French Catholic order was invited to New France in 1657 with the mission to convert Indigenous people. They trained young men at Saint Sulpice Seminary to become priests in order to expand their territorial reach. Their future was at risk when Great Britain acquired Canada from France in 1763. Surprisingly, in 1840, the English Crown decided to allow the Canadian Sulpicians to continue operating. Perhaps more surprising, Saint Sulpice Seminary remains an active school for priesthood to this day.

116 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, QC H2Y 1T2

9 Ernest Cormier Building on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal, Canada

From Saint Sulpice Seminary, walk by Notre-Dame Basilica and continue exploring Old Montreal along Rue Notre-Dame. This historic street was created in 1672. You will soon encounter Édifice Ernest-Cormier. You can’t miss it. Just watch for the 14 impressive Doric columns. This former Palace of Justice was renamed in 1980 to honor the building’s designer Ernest Cormier. He was a prominent architect of Canadian schools, churches and government buildings. This Neoclassical structure now houses the Quebec Court of Appeal.

100 Notre-Dame Street East, Montreal, QC H2Y 4B6, Canada

10 Lucien Saulnier Building on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal, Canada

Across the street is the Lucien Saulnier Building. Nicknamed the Old Palace, the Neoclassical building opened in 1856 as a courthouse. The façade features six fluted columns with Ionic capitals. Free tours are available. Édifice Lucien-Saulnier temporarily serves as Montreal’s City Hall while the neighboring Hôtel de Ville is being renovated. Interestingly, architect Henri-Maurice Perrault designed both structures.

155 Notre-Dame St. East, Montreal, QC H2Y 1B5, Canada

11 Montreal City Hall on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal, Canada

The Napoleon III style (also called French Second Empire) of Montreal’s City Hall is splendid. This National Historic Site of Canada opened in 1878. Much of the original building was gutted by fire in 1922. Afterwards, architect Louis Parant is credited with the four-year restoration. This is the first city hall in Canada built only for municipal purposes. Hôtel de Ville de Montréal occupies the north end of Place Jacques-Cartier, a public square you will walk through in just a minute.

275 Notre-Dame St. East, Montreal, QC H2Y 1C6, Canada

12 Château Ramezay on Notre-Dame Street in Montreal, Canada

Soon after Claude de Ramezay became governor of Montreal (a position he held from 1704 until 1724), he commissioned Pierre Couturier to design a grand residence along Notre-Dame Street. Several notable occupants were here during the 18th and 19th centuries. They included a fur-trading company, headquarters for Canada’s Continental Army, the residence of British governors and a university’s medical school. In 1895, this National Historic Site of Canada reopened as a history and art museum. The Château Ramezay collection consists of over 30,000 items.

280 Notre-Dame St. East, Montreal, QC H2Y 1C5, Canada

13 Place Jacques-Cartier in Montreal, Canada

Place Jacques-Cartier is a large public square connecting Notre-Dame Street with the Old Port of Montreal. This space was originally a garden for the massive Château Vaudreuil. The private residence for the Governor-General of New France was built in 1726 and destroyed by fire in 1803. The vacant lot was then transformed into New Market Place. In 1847, the square was renamed to honor Jacques Cartier. Cartier was the first European to explore the Saint Lawrence River during the first half of the 16th century. He called the new territory The Country of Canadas and claimed it for France. Flanking the four-blocks of Jacques Cartier Square are quaint restaurants like Jardin Nelson on the right. The summer-only, English eatery operates in the former Maison Cartier. The historic house was built in 1813.

407 Place Jacques-Cartier, Montreal, QC H2Y 3B1, Canada

14 Saint Paul Street in Montreal, Canada

Branching off of Jacques Cartier Square and running North-South one block from the waterfront is Montreal’s oldest street: Rue Saint-Paul. This began as a dirt path around a fort. In 1672, it was paved and named after the city’s founder Maisonneuve because he had his home here in the mid-17th century. Today, the shops and restaurants of this cobblestone street cater mainly to tourists. You will visit two major landmarks on Saint Paul Street after exploring the Old Port.

140 St. Paul St E, Montreal, QC H2Y 1G6, Canada

15 Scena inside Pavillon Jacques-Cartier at Old Port in Montreal, Canada

As you enter the Old Port of Montreal, imagine seeing a French fur trader paddling along the Saint Lawrence River and into the fledgling settlement during the early 17th century. Montreal’s main port officially opened in 1830 and operated until 1976. The facilities lay dormant and decaying until a massive effort was initiated in the 1990s to convert the 1.2 mile waterfront into an entertainment center. An example of the revitalization is Scena. The special event venue is located in Pavillon Jacques-Cartier.

Pavillon Jacques-Cartier, Montreal, QC H2Y 4B2, Canada

16 Montreal Science Centre at Old Port in Montreal, Canada

Since the Montreal Science Center was established at the Old Port in 2000, their interactive displays have been delighting the city’s residents and visitors, especially children. The science museum has five permanent exhibits. They include human evolution, Water in the Universe and the science of motion, air and light. These are complimented with frequent traveling exhibitions to assure a unique experience during each visit. The facility on King Edward Pier also hosts an IMAX Theatre.

2 de la Commune St W, Montreal, QC H2Y 4B2, Canada

17 Ferris Wheel at Old Port in Montreal, Canada

Bonsecours Basin Island at the Old Port offers plenty of fun regardless of the season. During the summer, you can rent paddle boats or remote-controlled sailboats for exploring the Natrel Basin. Ziplining is also popular. The favorite attraction is La Grande Roue de Montréal. This 200 foot high Ferris wheel is Canada’s tallest. The views of the city and the Saint Lawrence River are spectacular. In the winter, hearty Montrealers bundle up to enjoy the outdoor skating rink (Patinoire du Vieux Port) accompanied by lively music.

362 Rue de la Commune E, Montreal, QC H2Y 0B4, Canada

18 Clock Tower at Old Port in Montreal, Canada

Montreal’s equivalent of Big Ben is the Clock Tower located at the end of Victoria Pier. This elegant beauty was designed by Paul Leclaire. Tour de l’Horloge has served several purposes since 1922. The 148 foot tower is a lighthouse marking the entrance to the Old Port. Generations of sailors have relied on the clock’s legendary accuracy. This is a monument to sailors killed during WWI. And, the window at the top of 192 stairs is a wonderful observation platform.

1 Clock Tower Quay St, Montreal, QC H2L 5C1, Canada

19 Clock Tower Beach at Old Port in Montreal, Canada

Summers seem too short in Montreal. So, when the temperatures reach the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit from June through August, the locals are eager to bask in the sunshine. The only urban choice for sun worshipers is Clock Tower Beach at the Old Port. This strip of manmade sand runs parallel to a small boat harbor. An attached bar keeps everyone in a lively mood. Misting stations keep everyone cool. There are ten other beaches but most require transportation from Old Montreal. A few favorites are Oka Beach (featuring family and clothes-optional sides), Jean-Doré Beach, Plage Doré and Parc Jean-Drapeau. The brown building in the center of this photo is Molson Brewery. North America’s oldest brewery was founded here in 1786 by 21 year old John Molson.

1 Rue Quai de l’Horloge, Montreal, QC H2L 5C1, Canada

20 Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum on Saint Paul Street in Montreal, Canada

Soon after the French nun Marguerite Bourgeoys arrived at Fort Ville-Marie (today’s Montreal) in 1653, she established a convent for educating girls and Indigenous people. She called her non-cloistered religious community the Congrégation de Notre Dame. In 1998, a museum was established to herald her life and contributions to colonial Montreal. It is located inside of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. Bourgeoys built the first chapel in 1678. After a devasting fire in 1754, the current Our Lady of Good Help was finished in 1771. The saint’s remains are interred in the sanctuary. On top of the chapel are two angels flanking the Star of the Sea with outstretched hands. This image of the Virgin Mary protected sailors as they left the port for their voyages.

400 St Paul St E, Montreal, QC H2Y 1H4, Canada

21 Bonsecours Market on Saint Paul Street in Montreal, Canada

Architect William Footner was inspired by the Palladian style of The Custom House in Dublin when he designed Bonsecours Market. Beneath the silver dome was Old Montreal’s main farmers’ market from 1847 until 1963. Marché Bonsecours also had the distinction of hosting the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1849 and serving as city hall from 1852 until 1878. Today, this National Historic Site of Canada is a quaint mall with cafes, restaurants and specialty shops.

350 St Paul St E, Montreal, QC H2Y 1H2, Canada

22 Montreal History Center in Montreal, Canada

Beginning in 1904, this was Montreal’s main fire station. Operations ceased in 1972. After an extensive refurbishment, it reopened as the Montreal History Center. The museum’s collection of over 4,000 items tell the city’s history from 1534 – when Europeans made first contact with the St. Lawrence Iroquoians – until the present. Definitely make time to visit Centre d’histoire de Montréal in the borough of Ville-Marie.

335 Place d'Youville, Montreal, QC H2Y 3T1, Canada

23 Victoria Monument in Montreal, Canada

Queen Victoria had a 63 year reign over the United Kingdom from 1837 until 1901. In 1872, on the occasion of her son Prince Arthur’s visit to Montreal, this bronze by Marshall Wood was unveiled. The sculpture portrays Victoria at 18 when she ascended the throne in June, 1837. She holds a laurel crown and a royal scepter. Monument De La Reine Victoria is the centerpiece of Victoria Square.

Rue du Square-Victoria & Saint-Antoine St W, Montreal, QC H3C 1E8, Canada

24 Montreal Convention Centre in Montreal, Canada

The city’s most colorful building is Palais des Congrès de Montréal. The Convention Centre opened in 1983. After an expansion in 2002, the facility has 200,000 square feet of exhibition space. Since 2012, the most exciting annual event held at Palais des Congrès is the Montreal Comiccon. The three-day program in July draws nearly 60,000 attendants. Le Comiccon de Montréal always features famous names from the comic book industry plus heroes from TV shows, movies and video games. It is fun watching avid fans dressed as their favorite characters as they stroll the streets of Montreal.

1001 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Montreal, QC H2Z 1H5, Canada

25 Bagpiper at St. Patrick’s Basilica Montreal, Canada

St. Patrick’s Basilica was built in 1847. The minor basilica is as much Roman Catholic as it is Irish. The church was constructed to accommodate a flood of immigrants from Ireland during the early 19th century. Inside you will find lots of columns, stained glass and Irish shamrocks. This bagpiper was patiently waiting for a wedding party to emerge through the Gothic archway. He was thankful to be wearing a kilt on the hot summer afternoon.

460 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montreal, QC H2Z 1A7, Canada

26 Place Ville Marie in Montreal, Canada

Soaring 617 feet, Place Ville Marie was Canada’s tallest when it opened in 1962. The cruciform skyscraper still has plenty to boast about. The five-building complex has 3.4 million square feet of space. PVM is the official head office for The Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest bank. This was the origin of The Underground City. The network has evolved into 1,600 stores, 20 miles of passenger tunnels and a web of metro stations serving a half million people each day. On the 46th floor is Observatoire Place Ville Marie. The glass observation deck provides stunning, 360° views of the city.

01 Place Ville Marie, Montreal, QC H3B 4S6, Canada

27 Dome Ceiling in Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal, Canada

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral (originally called St. James Cathedral) was patterned after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome yet is one-fourth the size. The Roman Catholic minor basilica was finished in 1894 and reconstructed in 2005. The interior is richly adorned and gorgeous. The cupola above the altar is the crowning achievement. The transepts are decorated with paintings depicting key events in Montreal’s history. Admission is free.

1085 Rue de la Cathédrale, Montreal, QC H3B 5J8, Canada

28 1000 de la Gauchetière in Montreal, Canada

The 51 floors of 1000 de la Gauchetière reach a height of 673 feet. This qualifies as Montreal’s tallest skyscraper when measured by the top of the pyramid-shaped roof. At the base of the office building is the Atrium Le 1000 skating rink, numerous stores and over a dozen restaurants.

1000 Rue de la Gauchetière O, Montreal, QC H3B 4W5, Canada

29 Sun Life Building in Montreal, Canada

In 1865, Irish immigrant Matthew Gault founded Sun Life Financial in Montreal. The life insurance company constructed this headquarters building at Dorchester Square from 1913 until 1931. When the 24 floor, Beaux-Arts structure was finished, Édifice Sun Life had more square footage than any office building in the British Empire. Sun Life’s main office is now in Toronto. The financial giant is among Canada’s 20 largest public companies with operations across the United States, China, India and other countries.

1155 Metcalfe St, Montreal, QC H3B 2V6, Canada

30 Leonard Cohen Mural in Montreal, Canada

Native son Leonard Cohen was one of Canada’s most famous and influential singers and song writers. He received countless recognitions for his nearly 50 year career including induction in three hall of fames (Canada Music, Canada Songwriters and Rock and Roll). In 2017, on the first anniversary of his death, this 21 story mural was finished on Crescent Street. The project leads for Tower of Songs were Gene Pendon and El Mac. Yet, 15 artists collaborated to create this tribute to Cohen.

1420 Crescent St, Montreal, QC H3G 2B7, Canada

31 Crescent Street in Montreal, Canada

Crescent Street is less than a half mile long yet packed with places to please you. Shoppers are tempted by the high-end boutiques and art galleries. Night owls flock to the nightclubs and taverns. Foodies sample the cuisine at a range of restaurants. During the summer, they dine on terraces overlooking the action. All of these activities are housed in marvelous Victorian structures. If you want to mingle with the locals, Rue Crescent is the place to be day or night.

1455 Crescent St, Montreal, QC H3G 2B2, Canada

32 Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal, Canada

The Presbyterian congregation of St. Andrew’s was established in 1803. St. Paul’s Church was founded in 1832 under the banner of the Canadian Church of Scotland. Both parishes built several churches in Montreal before merging in 1918. Then, they hired architect H. Ross Wiggs to design this Gothic Revival edifice as the combined Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul. On the first Sunday of May, members of The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) conduct their annual march wearing kilts and playing bagpipes. This solemn event is a tribute to those who died in defense of Canada.

3415 Redpath St, Montreal, QC H3G 2G2, Canada

33 Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, Canada

The Art Association of Montreal was founded in 1860. The fledgling initiative evolved into the spectacular Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Canada’s largest art museum is housed in five pavilions with a total display space of 140,000 square feet. The massive collection of 43,000 works includes paintings, sculptures and graphic arts ranging from before the Middle Ages to today. This is the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, built in 1991. Inside is predominately international contemporary art plus visiting exhibitions. Come see why over one million people visit MMFA each year.

1380 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3G 1J5, Canada

34 Bourgie Concert Hall in Montreal, Canada

This was the Erskine and American Church when construction was completed in 1894. The limestone and sandstone façade has a Romanesque Revival design. After being acquired by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2008, they transformed the National Historic Site into Salle Bourgie Hall. The 462 capacity concert hall opened in 2011. They sponsor over 100 performances each year. You will be impressed by the acoustics and the surrounding 81 stained-glass windows. Many of them were created by Tiffany Studios.

1339 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3G 1G2, Canada

35 The Eye outside of Bourgie Hall in Montreal, Canada

Outside of Bourgie Concert Hall is an unusual sculpture. The 13 foot winged man has four arms, intertwined fingers in lieu of a face and a giant hole in the chest. The name is equally abstract: The Eye. The project was sponsored by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and created by Montreal-born artist David Altmejd. If you are a fan of public artwork, you will not want to miss the Sculpture Garden around the corner on Avenue du Musée. It features 22 sculptures by various artists.

1339 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3G 1G2, Canada

36 Morrice Hall at McGill University in Montreal, Canada

Scotland-born James McGill was one of the wealthiest men in Montreal when he died in 1813. In his will, he bequeathed his 47 acre estate and substantial money to establish McGill College. Eight years later, a royal charter from King George IV converted the school into McGill University. The university now educates over 40,000 students a year. McGill’s main downtown campus spreads across 80 acres. This is Morrice Hall. Built in 1882, it is home to McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies.

3485 McTavish St, Montreal, QC H3A 1Y1, Canada

37 Redpath Museum at McGill University in Montreal, Canada

McGill University’s Redpath Museum displays a diverse collection of fossils and skeletons from plants and animals uncovered from around the world. Equally impressive are the 16,000 geological items and 17,000 archeological artifacts. Especially popular are the dinosaurs and mummies. The natural history museum was founded in 1880 after a generous donation by wealthy philanthropist Peter Redpath. This 1882 Greek Revival building at McGill University is Canada’s oldest building designed as a museum.

859 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 0C4, Canada

38 Arts Building at McGill University in Montreal, Canada

Classes at McGill were initially taught in Burnside Place, the former estate of benefactor and founder James McGill. In 1833, the university’s first degree was awarded by the Faculty of Medicine. Ten years later, the Faculty of Arts was added when this Arts Building opened. The grand Palladian-style structure designed by John Ostell marked the coming-of-age for McGill University.

853 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 2A7, Canada

39 Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal, Canada

Three arched portals, lancet windows and an intricate rose window filled with stained glass are three of the Gothic Revival design features of Christ Church Cathedral. This National Historic Site of Canada was built in 1859 and consecrated in 1867. This is the seat for the Anglican Diocese of Montreal. In sharp contrast is the KPMG Tower looming 479 feet in the background. Even more surprising is what lies below the cathedral. Promenades Cathédrale is a huge underground shopping mall consisting of over 60 retailers.

635 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3A 2B8, Canada

40 La Baie Department Store in Montreal, Canada

The Hudson’s Bay Company is the great grandfather of retailers. Founded in 1670, it is the oldest company in North America. HBC’s first department store opened in Winnipeg in 1881. The chain now comprises 90 department stores mostly across Canada. In 1960, they purchased Morgan’s, a prominent Montreal department store established in 1845. This was their flagship store built in 1891. Most loyal shoppers call the red sandstone building La Baie (The Bay). The formal name for the high-end store at Phillips Square is La Baie d’Hudson.

585 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3B 3Y5, Canada

41 King Edward VII Monument at Phillips Square in Montreal, Canada

At the center of Phillips Square is the King Edward VII Monument. The eldest son of Queen Victoria reigned over the United Kingdom from 1901 until 1910. This 14 foot bronze sculpture by Louis-Philippe Hébert was erected in his memory in 1914. The statue of the woman raising an olive branch represents Peace. The other three allegories at the base of the monument are Abundance, Liberty and the Four Nations of Montreal (France, Scotland, Ireland and England).

Rue Square Phillips & Rue Cathcart, Montreal, QC H3B 1K9, Canada

42 St. James United Church in Montreal, Canada

When Saint James Church opened in 1889, its 1,200 seat capacity qualified as the country’s largest Methodist church. In 1925, the denomination changed to the United Church of Canada. The Gothic Revival design of this National Historic Site of Canada was created by architect Alexander Dunlop.

463 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H3B 1B1, Canada

43 Church of the Gesù in Montreal, Canada

The original Church of the Gesù was built in Rome in 1580. That mother church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) was the inspiration for the naming and design of the Church of the Gesù in Montreal. The 47,000 square foot, Baroque Revival design by architect Patrick Keely was finished in 1865. In the lower level is the Gesù Creativity Center. The 425 seat auditorium and smaller performing halls host a rich schedule of concerts and plays.

1200 Rue de Bleury, Montreal, QC H3B 3J3, Canada

44 Place des Arts in Montreal, Canada

The hub of Quartier des Spectacles – Montreal’s arts and entertainment district – is Place des Arts. The complex was initiated in 1963. It has grown into an impressive network of six halls. These are home base for the city’s symphony orchestra, ballet company, opera and contemporary art museum. Place des Arts is Canada’s largest cultural center.

175 Saint-Catherine St, Montreal, QC H2X 1Y9, Canada

45 Contemporary Art Museum at Place des Arts in Montreal, Canada

Since 1992, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has been part of the Place des Arts complex. The museum’s collection of over 7,500 contemporary works are exhibited within this 163,000 foot structure. The majority of the artists are from Quebec plus other Canadian provinces. Across Jeanne Mance Street from MACM is Place des Festivals. The large square for public events features interactive fountains with 235 water jets.

185 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H2X 3X5, Canada

46 Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts in Montreal, Canada

A cornerstone of Place des Arts is Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier. The facilities house Opéra de Montréal and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. The 1963 theater has a seating capacity for almost 3,000 people. The hall’s namesake is Wilfrid Pelletier. He was co-founder of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra in 1935 and its first director. In subsequent years, Pelletier was director of the Conservatory of Music and later the director for Orchestre symphonique de Québec.

175 Saint-Catherine St, Montreal, QC H2X 1Y9, Canada

47 Montreal Symphony House at Place des Arts in Montreal, Canada

Another performing arts venue at Place des Arts is Maison symphonique de Montréal. The primary tenants are the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Metropolitan Orchestra. The 1,900 capacity Montreal Symphony House is also the main location for concerts during the annual, ten-day International Jazz Festival of Montreal.

1600 St Urbain St, Montreal, QC H2X 0S1, Canada

48 Complexe Desjardins in Montreal, Canada

Desjardins Group is a massive financial cooperative specializing in credit unions and insurance. In 1970, they spearheaded one of Montreal’s largest real estate development projects. Over 12,000 workers spent nearly six years building Complexe Desjardins. The result was almost four million square feet of office space in three connected high-rises. The South Tower is the tallest at 499 feet. At the base is a shopping mall with more than 100 retailers plus restaurants and a food court.

150 Saint-Catherine St W, Montreal, QC H2X 3Y2, Canada

49 Elderly Exercising at Chinatown in Montreal, Canada

The first Chinese immigrants came to Montreal in 1877. The community grew rapidly around De La Gauchetière Street and was designated as Chinatown in 1902. The pedestrian-only walkway through the neighborhood is filled with ethnic restaurants and businesses. They cater to the Chinese plus tourists seeking a cultural experience and cuisine. These elderly women are engaging in traditional Chinese mind and body exercises. This centuries-old activity improves motor movements while offering social interaction. They are standing at Place Sun Yat-sen. The small event venue is named after the first president of the Republic of China. A bust of the Father of the Nation is seen on the right.

Clark St & Rue de la Gauchetière O, Montreal, QC H2Z 1K3, Canada

50 Downtown Skyline from Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada

The best panoramic view of downtown Montreal is from atop Mount Royal. The extinct volcanic hill was formed about 125 million years ago. In 1535, French explorer Jacques Cartier was the first European to climb the mount. He called it Mont Réal. This evolved into the city name of Montreal. This observation point is located at Colline de la Croix, the highest of three peaks at 764 feet. It is part of Mount Royal Park.

1196 Voie Camillien-Houde, Montreal, QC H3H 1A1, Canada

51 Mount Royal Chalet on Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada

Directly behind the observation deck overlooking downtown is Mount Royal Chalet. The special event venue was created during the height of the Great Depression to generate work for the unemployed. The architect for the one-story, French Beaux Arts structure was Aristide Beaugrand-Champagne. Chalet du Mont-Royal is a prominent feature of Mount Royal Park. The 692 acre greenspace was established in 1876. Parc du Mont-Royal was designed by the most famous landscape architect in America: Frederick Law Olmsted. Among his other project credits were Central Park in New York City and the grounds encircling the United States Capitol building.

1196 Voie Camillien-Houde, Montreal, QC H3H 1A1, Canada

52 Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada

Since 1967, Saint Joseph’s Oratory has been Canada’s largest church. The impressive green dome has an exterior diameter of 128 feet and reaches a height of 318 feet. It seems much taller perched on Mount Royal’s Westmount Summit. Brother André built the first chapel here in the early 20th century. His road to sainthood is a fascinating story. As a young orphan in 1872, André Bessette was sent to Collège Notre-Dame in Montreal. He soon began healing the sick and crippled by anointing them with oil in the name of Saint Joseph. The number of people he cured by the time he died at 91 in 1937 is countless. His remains are interred inside of this Catholic minor basilica. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI declared him a saint.

3800 Queen Mary Rd, Montreal, QC H3V 1H6, Canada

53 Cityscape from Westmount Summit of Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada

Saint Joseph’s Oratory is built on the west side of Mount Royal at the edge of Summit Woods, a 57 acre bird sanctuary. At 659 feet, Westmount Summit is the shortest of Mount Royal’s three peaks. Yet the view from the lower terrace of the minor basilica is spectacular. You will enjoy the vista of Westmount. This suburb of Montreal has about 20,000 residents. The community is the second wealthiest in Canada. The average household net worth exceeds $3.5 million CAD. Their per capita income is among the highest in North America.

3800 Queen Mary Rd, Montreal, QC H3V 1H6, Canada

54 Lantern Festival at Botanical Garden in Montreal, Canada

The Montreal Botanical Garden at Maisonneuve Park is a dream come true for avid fans of horticulture. On 185 acres is a main greenhouse – open all year – several smaller ones plus four specialized gardens named Alpine, First Nations, Japanese and Chinese. A highly-anticipated event each autumn is the Magic of Lanterns festival in the six acre Chinese Garden. On display are nearly 1,000 silk lanterns from Shanghai where the Chinese have displayed them for New Year celebrations since the second century BC. The illuminated lanterns range from the simple to the elaborate. Depicted are animals and insects to entire armies like this one on Dream Lake with Friendship Hall in the background. You will also fancy thousands of surrounding trees, plants and flowers.

4101 Sherbrooke St E, Montreal, QC H1X 2B2, Canada

55 Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada

Montreal had the privilege to host the 1976 Summer Olympics, a first for Canada. Most of the events were held in Olympic Stadium. Stade Olympique features a retractable roof operated by cables from the world’s tallest inclined tower at 541 feet. The Montreal Tower doubles as an observation attraction accessible by a two-minute elevator ride. After the Olympics, the stadium was used by professional sports teams until 2004. Since then, the 56,000 capacity stadium is reserved for special events such as concerts. Locals nicknamed it The Big Owe because total costs exceeded $1.6 billion CAD. The final payment was not made until 2006.

4141 Pierre-de Coubertin Ave, Montreal, QC H1V 3N7, Canada