It is such a rich historical city that it is not hard to find something to do and enjoy. Montreal is an optimal playground for savoring fine food and wine - with plenty of regional offerings available in restaurants and markets, gambling into a casino, shopping, visiting the many attractions and enjoying the full spirit of love - l'amour.
Montréal is the second largest French speaking city after Paris with 3.4 million inhabitants. It is a center of cultures from around the world with a mosaic of different neighborhoods and gastronomic diversity. Its architectural legacy spread out over four centuries of history – from the French Empire to the present time. Montreal is very cosmopolitan, despite its insular position. This vibrant city is characterized by its impressive atmosphere.
The Old Montreal
Even today, there are still horse carriages rolling the streets of Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal) over the cobblestones houses from the 18th and 19th century. The historical and archaeological museum Pointe-à-Callière, which is next to the museum Marguerite-Bourgeoys is the best insight into the city’s history. The Museum shows artifact collections from the original nations of the area of Montreal that illustrate how many different cultures interacted and coexisted, and how the British and French regimes inclined the history of this country through the years. There you can find 350 years old relics. Very near is located the Notre-Dame Basilica in neo-Gothic style inspired by the rich features of its interior.
Montreal, the second largest city in Canada was founded in 1642. However, several Native American tribes had been settled at the place already for 8000 years. After Paris, the metropolitan area of Montreal also known as “Greater Montreal”, is the second largest French-speaking city in the world. Today, Montreal is worldwide famous for being one of the most important cultural centers in Northern America. In addition, the city hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1976. Since 1967 (with the exception of 2009), the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix is held in Montreal.
My exciting long weekend in Montreal unfortunately had to come to an end. After an exciting day of exploration yesterday that ended with an absolutely delicious dinner at Nuances, the fine dining restaurant at the Casino de Montreal, capped by an impressive pyro-musical performance at La Ronde, I rested up so I would be able to squeeze in a few more hours of discovery this morning. One more exploration of the city before I would have to had back to Toronto on the train before noon.
With all my suitcases duly packed I went off for one more urban adventure. Fortunately checkout wasn’t until noon, so I was able to leave my luggage at the hotel and just head off with my camera and my backpack. I started walking west on Rue De La Gauchetière Ouest which starts off as a fairly small street surrounded by five or six story high older buildings. The first major sight I came across was St. Patrick’s Basilica.
St. Patrick’s Basilica
My personalized tour of the Casino de Montreal was very interesting and taught me many different things that I had never known about casino operations. My learning experience was followed by an opportunity to sample the Casino’s hospitality first hand. Alexandre took me up to the top floor of the Casino and handed me over to Benoît, the restaurant manager at Nuances, the Casino’s gourmet restaurant.
Benoît, the Restaurant Manager at Nuances, and Alexandre, my Casino guide
After my lovely cheerful encounter in the Square St. Louis I briefly went back to the hotel and then took the subway to the exit at Jean Drapeau Park. There are two large islands in the St. Lawrence River: Ile Notre-Dame and Ile Sainte-Helene. The latter more than doubled in size in preparation for Expo 1967. From the Park Jean Drapeau metro station I took local bus 167 to get to La Ronde, an amusement park originally set up for Expo 67. I had a ticket for tonight’s international fireworks competition which was going to be held at La Ronde, so I had to go and pick it up at the information counter.
Entrance to La Ronde
Every summer, there seem to be bigger and better sports events going on in Quebec, and this year is no exception. There’s a mix of international events and those local to the community. Here we have a brief look at some of the most interesting events taking place in the region this summer.
Start your engines
In only a few days from now, the Formula One Grand Prix Canada takes place at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal.
The ‘technology of me’ was identified as one of the key trends to watch in 2015. The analysis offered by Shawn Dubravac, chief economist at the Consumer Electronics Association, when he opened this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas back in January is looking spot on as we head towards the summer. Personalised and personalising devices are at the heart of the digital boom that is sweeping across the nation, buoyed as it is by a positive economic outlook and the expectation of long-term prosperity and security.
It starts with smartphones
Already, as many as five million new smartphones are expected to find a new home in Canada this year, with the bulk of them upgrades from existing models. The interesting thing about this – and it is a pattern repeating worldwide – is that the new phones aren’t radically different from those that they are replacing. It’s not just technology for its own sake that is getting everyone excited, it seems that the very idea of the latest kit is itself becoming a sort of 21st century fashion phenomenon.
Canadian tennis is most definitely booming. Back in the 20th century, the USA dominated the North American and world tennis scene but, in the 21st century, it is Canada which is gunning for domination. The ascendence of Canadian tennis begun with the emergence of Milos Raonic in 2011, however the country’s claim to the tennis crown was properly concreted by the rise of Montreal’s own Eugenie Bouchard, who reached the Wimbledon final in 2014 and, for those who like a gamble, has odds of 8/1 to win the whole thing this year.