Montreal, Canada. What’s worth seeing?

The 26 Best Sights in Montreal

Sprawling at the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers, Montreal is Canada’s second-largest city. It is the cultural center of the province of Quebec, famous for its prestigious universities, museums and festivals.

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monreal

Who goes to Montreal and why

Montreal, founded by French colonists in the mid-17th century, is a bustling and beautiful city that successfully combines old and modern buildings. Millions of tourists flock here to explore the alleys of Old Montreal, the Oratory of St. Joseph, Place Jacques Cartier, and Notre Dame de Montreal.

The city’s museums take the lead in Canada and are deservedly popular. Archeological exhibits, works of art, religious objects, and collections of coins, old-printed books, and weapons are on display.

Montreal’s vibrant arts scene attracts visitors from all over the world:

  • At the end of August, an international film festival spotlighting new films starts here. The agenda includes the screening of innovative works, discussion of films, meetings with actors, producers and directors.
  • In late July, jazz music fans come to town. For ten whole days performances of famous musicians take place on the main stages. Thousands of jazz fans attend the festivities, complete with riotous celebrations and fireworks.

During the warmer months, Montreal offers a variety of recreation options for the active. There are landscaped beaches, boat rentals, and sports clubs. Travelers can go kayaking, fishing, boating, hiking, or horseback riding. The squares have rope towns and ropeways along the treetops for extreme climbing.

There is a rich cultural program for children and adults. Tourists have fun at playgrounds, visit excursions and water park. In the center there are attractions aimed at kids and schoolchildren.

Points of Interest

Old Montreal

old monreal

The historic quarter in Ville-Marie County is located within the old fortifications. Unfortunately, all of the fortification towers were destroyed in the 19th century during the reconstruction of Montreal. Most of the other architectural monuments were preserved.

The old city retains beautiful squares, cathedrals, and the mansions of nobles. Walking here, you can see the bank building, the city hall, the seminary of St. Sulpice, and interesting museums.

Avenue Bernard

prosprekt bernar

A bustling street in downtown Montreal is a great place for walking and shopping. Along the wide sidewalk, lush trees have been planted. There are benches for relaxing in the shade. Houses have cafes, china shops, fashionable boutiques, and grocery stores.

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Small restaurants serve excellent mussels at affordable prices, delicious buns, and fragrant coffee. The avenue allows you to see the life of ordinary Canadians and experience the atmosphere of Montreal.

Le Vilage.

le villag

Ville-Marie has picturesque streets called Montreal Village. They used to be unremarkable, but in the 1990s the city government supported the local gay community, turning Le Vilage into a sophisticated tourist destination.

Today’s village is famous for its restaurants, clubs, bars, and stores for people of nontraditional orientation. Every summer, its main street is transformed into a pedestrian alley decorated with pink balloons, flags, and paper lanterns strung overhead.

Place d’Arm.

plias darm

The main square in the Old Town is surrounded by beautiful palaces and administrative buildings. Within its boundaries is a small park.

In the middle stands the monument to Paul de Chaumedi-Mezonneuve. The founder of Montreal, raising the flag high with his right hand, is mounted on a high pedestal. There are benches and antique lanterns along the perimeter of the square. In the summer, small coffee shops and souvenir shops are open in the fresh air.

Place Jacques Cartier

ploshad gaka kartie

The square, named after the French navigator Jacques Cartier, can be found near the city hall. The square pedestrian area paved with stone slabs is a favorite stroll spot for tourists and locals.

In the warm season there is music, artists, caricaturists, musicians, cafes and flower tents. The main architectural composition is a column dedicated to the British Admiral Nelson, installed in the square in 1809.

Old Seminary of Saint-Sulpice

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The 1688 Seminary reads as the oldest building in Montreal. It is a classic Renaissance palace decorated with wide arches, tall towers, and stucco. On the facade is a clock created by the clockmaker Dautot.

The archives of the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice preserve rare books, manuscripts, iconographic documents and maps. An orchard with lawns, alleys and statues is planted in the monastic courtyard.

Architecture

Château de Ramezay

ramsaiski samok

Built in 1705 as the governor’s residence, Château Ramesay was sold after the death of the owner of the East India Company. Over the years, it has housed a court, offices, military headquarters, and a high school.

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At the end of the last century, the mansion was purchased by the city administration and equipped in it a museum to store the archaeological and numismatic collections of the Montreal Historical Society. In the courtyard is a French garden with an ornamental park, vegetable garden and fruit trees. Spices and medicinal herbs are planted near the castle walls.

Town Hall

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The town hall in neo-Renaissance style was erected in 1878. The majestic building was badly damaged by a fire at the beginning of the last century. After the restoration, a stone floor appeared and the appearance of the roof was slightly altered.

Montreal City Hall is a national historic monument of Canada. The premises are occupied by the city administration. The first floor is equipped with an exhibition hall where you can learn about the development of Montreal from the beginning of the last century to the present day.

Bank of Montreal

bank monrealia

This neoclassical mansion, built in 1847 and designed by architect John Wells, resembles a Roman Pantheon. The facade is decorated with a Corinthian colonnade and a triangular pediment. In the center of the pediment is a circle symbolizing the world of finance.

The interior rooms are decorated with wall paintings, gilded moldings, marble statues. In the financial institution there is a museum, telling the history of the national bank.

Temples

Notre Dame Basilica

basilica notr dam

A monumental basilica in neo-Gothic style appeared on the site of an old dilapidated church in the 19th century. Its facade is decorated with lancet windows, arches and sculptures. Two 70-meter bell towers are attached to it. The interior attracts bright wall paintings, gilded statues, wooden figures of saints, massive lamps.

St. Joseph Oratory

oratorii

On Mount Royal stands the Oratory of St. Joseph. The granite temple in the Italian Renaissance style has a wide dome with a cross. The facade is decorated with Corinthian order columns. The height of the building is 129 meters, so it is well visible from different parts of the city. A stone stairway leads to the central entrance.

The oratory is regularly visited by pilgrims. It is believed that praying in the temple provides healing for the disabled. The veracity of the miracles was confirmed by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

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Marie-Rhine-du-Mont Cathedral

sobor mari rein

The third largest church in Quebec is located next to Montreal’s main station. The building, erected at the behest of Bishop Ignace Bourget, replaced the Basilica of Saint-Jean, which burned down in 1852. The exterior of the temple is reminiscent of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.

The vaults are painted with paintings depicting historical events during the founding of Montreal. Along the walls are sculptures of saints. In the apse is a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The west and east sides of the cathedral are adorned with texts of scripture inscribed in gold letters.

Cathedral Church of Christ

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The 19th century neo-Gothic cathedral is modeled on the ancient English churches and has a large intersecting tower with a light aluminum spire.

The temple is 70 meters high. There are three organs inside. Once a week there are concerts of classical and religious music. The cathedral is the regimental church of the Grenadier Guards. In it the regimental banner and other regimental regalia are kept on a place of honor.

Chapel of Notre Dame de Bon Secours

notr dam de sekur

The chapel on Rue Saint-Paul appeared in 1655 at the behest of Margaret Beauergeis. The oldest church in the city was rebuilt several times and changed its appearance. The rooms are now finished in white marble with gold inlays, and the floors are painted with frescoes.

In front of the entrance above the gate a figure of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus rises. From the ceiling of the temple hangs an ex-voto ship. It symbolizes the gratitude of the sailors for a successful voyage. Notre Dame de Bon Secours is part of the Margaret Beauergeuse Museum.

Museums

Pointe-à-Callières Museum

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The Historical Museum in Old Montreal showcases a collection of indigenous artifacts found during excavations around the city. Exhibitions illustrate how Indians interacted with French and British colonists and shed light on major periods in Montreal’s history.

The Pointe-à-Callière Museum is engaged in educational activities, cultural events and meetings with historians. There are temporary exhibitions in the lobby regarding international archaeology, multiculturalism, and folk art.

Museum of Fine Arts

musei iso

The largest art museum in Quebec houses 33,000 objects. The collection includes paintings by old masters, modern canvases by Canadian and foreign artists, engravings, sculptures, rare fabrics, Japanese and English porcelain.

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Masterpieces by El Greco, Andrea Mantegna, Nicola Poussin, Maurice Cullen, James Ensor and Titian are among the museum’s exhibits.

Museum of Modern Art

musei sovr isk

The museum in downtown Montreal dedicated to contemporary art opened in 1964. The 8 spacious rooms are equipped with permanent and temporary exhibitions displaying paintings, sculptures, photographs and installations.

During the tour you can get acquainted with the works of Louise Bourgeois, Bill Viola, James Tarrell, Victor Vasarely. The centerpiece of the museum is the work of Paul-Emile Bordois.

Redpath Museum

musei redpat

McGill University has opened its doors to one of Canada’s oldest science museums. The exhibits, housed in a Victorian mansion, show the flora and fauna of the region and tell stories of ancient civilizations and extinct animals.

  • The paleontological collection contains fossil remains of dinosaurs and primitive humans.
  • The mineralogy department holds pieces of meteorites, crystals and stones.
  • In the halls of ethnology – ancient Egyptian artifacts (painted sarcophagi, mummies, cuneiform tablets, jewelry, masks).

Science Center

nauchni centerr

Montreal’s Old Port is home to the Museum of Science. The modern glass and concrete building houses interactive exhibitions that tell the story of technology and science. Children and adults can learn about ecology, the forces of nature and humanity’s technological advances on guided tours.

Master classes teaching the basics of physics and chemistry regularly take place in the science center. Renowned scientists often give lectures in the Information Studio.

Exhibition of Barbie dolls

vistavka barbie

An exhibition of leading fashion designers guarantees a sea of positive emotions for the beautiful half of humanity. The exhibition on Peel Street presents exclusive dolls dressed in clothes designed by Dior, Armani, Carolina Herrera, Christian Louboutin, Oscar De La Renta. Hundreds of collectible Barbies illustrate well the history of fashion and the development of the industry.

Parks and Recreation

Parc de la Fontaine

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Nestled near Mont Royal is a park named after Canadian politician Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine. The vast area, planted with deciduous trees, is an ideal place for hiking. There are two artificial lakes connected by a waterfall, cozy benches, playgrounds, sports equipment, and a cafe.

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There are monuments to Lafontaine, Charles de Gaulle and Félix Leclerc, an amphitheater for 4,000 seats and pavilions.

Botanical Garden

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The Botanical Garden, founded in 1931 under the patronage of the City Hall, is considered a historical monument of Canada. On the area of 75 hectares there are Japanese and Chinese gardens, rose garden, arboretum, English park, flowerbeds with orchids, rhododendrons and medicinal herbs.

Cactuses, succulents and poisonous plants from different countries grow in roofed greenhouses. In the Chinese garden is equipped with a man-made pond with ducks and turtles, a tea house and a pavilion for rest.

Olympic Stadium

olimpiski stadion

For the 1976 Olympic Games, Montreal built a stadium that became an important landmark in the city. The huge arena resembles a balloon with a rounded roof.

The architectural complex includes a 175 meters high leaning tower that offers a magnificent panorama of Montreal. The Olympic Stadium grounds are used for music concerts, soccer games and celebrations.

La Rond amusement park

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This park opened in the middle of the last century and quickly became popular. In the green zone there are modern rides, which takes your breath away. There is a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, vertical waterfalls, and merry-go-rounds for kids. There are cafes and tents with ice cream and soft drinks in the park.

In the evenings, outdoor areas often host concerts and fireworks displays.

Super Aqua Club water park

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Pointe-Calume, 25 km from Montreal, has a family waterpark. It is a huge pool with water attractions.

Visitors go down slides, ride canoes, inflatable mattresses, engage in swimming. For the little ones there is a special zone with a shallow pool, fountain and water guns. Near the water there is a park with a playground, a cafe and a restaurant.

Planetarium

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The futuristic steel planetarium building is located near the Olympic Stadium. Each of the two blocks holds regular interactive exhibitions and interesting shows. The program includes entertaining lectures about the solar system, black holes, the galaxy and meteorites.

During the session, images of the starry sky, the sun, the moon are shown on multimedia screens. In the evening a beam of light with animation and 3D pictures is projected on one of the exterior walls of the planetarium to entice adults and children to take a tour.

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