Montreal Tourist Activities
Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) is found in the province of Quebec, Canada, and about 20km, or 12 miles from downtown Montreal. It is one of the busiest airports in the country, handling around 13 million passengers per annum, and is an important gateway for passengers travelling for business and leisure purposes. Many tourists find the airport to be a convenient arrival point, as buses and taxis are available for transport to their hotels. Attractions in Montreal are appealing to all ages, and include everything from amusement parks to interesting museums. Some of the most popular Montreal attractions include the Montreal Harbour cruises, the Biodome and Biosphere, the Insectarium and the Dow Planetarium.
The metropolis of Montreal is large, and considered as the second-biggest city in Canada. It is a mix of English and French flavours, as well as old and new. While some more historic sights can be seen, the city’s skyline is decorated with many stunning glass skyscrapers. Montreal is considered to be a very friendly and vibrant city, with plenty to offer its visitors. It has some very large shopping malls, a variety of fantastic restaurants and even an ‘Underground City’, which has a number of hotels, shops and other businesses that are protected from the cold winter months. Montreal city is divided into numerous districts, and also neighbourhoods which are distinctly ‘French’ or ‘English’. Many of the city’s historic buildings can be found in the Old Montreal District (Vieux Montreal) and in the Griffintown District, which was founded in the mid-19th century. The Latin Quarter is centred around St. Denis Street, the Chinatown District is just south of downtown Montreal, and the Plateau District is considered as a colourful area that is also rich in history, and complete with some cobbled streets and older residences. Further districts in the city of Montreal include the Mile End District, the Little Italy District, the Lachine District and The Village. The busy Jean Talon Market is a popular attraction in the Little Italy District every Saturday.
Montreal harbour cruises are always one of the highlights of visiting Montreal city. There are day cruises around Sorel Island, trips up the Lawrence river and the ‘Island Discovery Cruise’, which is about two hours in duration. More romantic cruises can be taken in the evening as well, with dinner included. The Biodome is one of the popular Montreal attractions, and is found in the former Velodrome cycling stadium. It is also part of the Olympic complex, which is where the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games were held. The stadium has a capacity for 80,000 people, and is a landmark of the city. The Biodome is home to around 5,000 specimen plants, and over 4,000 different animals. It has four separate ecosystems, for example, a rain forest region, the polar area and the ocean. The Biosphere, not to be confused with the Biodome, is another striking attraction of Montreal, and is actually the largest geodesic dome in the world. Its main draw cards include the ‘Source of Life’ regarding all things to do with water, the Connections Hall with multimedia shows and the Visions Hall, which is a terrific area from where to enjoy some lovely views of the city. The Biosphere was built for the 1967 Montreal Expo.
At 4581 Sherbrooke Street, the Insectarium is a fun place to see all sorts of interesting creepy crawlies. It features scorpions, ants, worms, locusts and scary tarantula spiders. There is also a lovely Butterfly House for those who prefer more colourful and friendly insects. The Insectarium is found right alongside the Montreal Botanical Gardens, or the Jardin Botanique, which is also a major attraction for the city. It has over 20,000 kinds of plants from around the world, and has lovely gardens, a few large greenhouses and an arboretum with ancient trees. Workshops are often held at the Botanical Gardens, guided tours can be arranged, and visitors can stop for a bite to eat at the dining room or take out some books at the large library. Further areas of green found in Montreal include the Carré St. Louis, Champ de Mars, Mount Royal Park, Parc Lafontaine, Parc Maisonneuve and Parc de la Cité du Havre, which was originally the gateway to the 1967 Expo Event. It also has many scenic cycling trails and picnic spots, as well as playground areas for children. The Parc Maisonneuve has an ice-skating rink in winter and opportunities for cross-country skiing, and the Parc Lafontaine is one of the largest of Montreal’s parks and gardens, featuring tennis courts, trails, a large pond and several monuments. The Champ de Mars is found nearby to the Montreal City Hall that is considered as a landmark. The City Hall is quite an imposing building and features portraits of the city’s mayors.
Another popular Montreal attraction is the Dow Planetarium, or the Planetarium de Montreal, found at 1000 St. Jacques Street West. Regular shows are held here that are about an hour in duration, in English and French, and which are thoroughly enjoyed by families and stargazing enthusiasts. The shows about space, the stars and the solar system are held in the planetarium’s theatre area in a large dome, about 66 feet high. The Bell Centre is a modern sports stadium that is home to the Canadiens hockey club, and where many large events and concerts are held. Guided tours of the centre can be arranged as well. Montreal’s famous amusement park is known as La Ronde, and is located in the nearby Montreal Islands area, alongside the St. Lawrence River. The park is a huge attraction for families, as it has rides suitable for all ages. It has an impressive Ferris Wheel, a number of roller coasters and many other attractions. La Ronde is a part of the famous Six Flags theme park group.
The city of Montreal has many fine museums as well that are appealing to tourists. Some very impressive works of art are shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and over 6,000 modern works of various medias and styles can be viewed at the Modern Art Museum. The Canadian Centre for Architecture is located at 1920 Baile Street and is both a museum and working company, and the Bank of Montreal Museum has many interesting bank-related items and machinery. The McCord Museum has a wide variety of interesting items, such as period costumes, paintings, archaeological finds and photographs. This museum was founded in the 1920’s, and houses almost a million articles. Guided tours can be taken of the museum as well, which are most informative.
Attractions nearby Montreal include the Granby Zoo, Mont Saint Sauveur, Mont Saint Bruno, Mont Sutton and Mont Tremblant. Buses are available from the Montreal-Trudeau International airport to Mont Tremblant. Find out more about Montreal attractions at the tourist centres of the airport, and at tourist information offices in the city.