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Things to do in Montreal

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Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
Growing from a humble stone church in the 17th century to a minor basilica erected to welcome some 8,000 parishioners, Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal stands as a majestic testament to the importance of religion and art throughout the city’s history. A jewel of Québec’s religious heritage, it is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture. Built between 1824 and 1829, this site of national historic significance features dual towers reminiscent of Notre-Dame-de-Paris. The West Tower houses the famous 10,900-kg Jean-Baptiste bell, while the East Tower rings with a carillon of ten bells. Three large statues – Saint-Joseph, the Virgin Mary and Saint-Jean-Baptiste – keep vigil over the entrance to this religious sanctuary that welcomes millions of visitors each year.
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Old Port of Montreal
The Old Port of Montreal is the historic port of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Located in Old Montreal, it stretches for over two kilometres along the St-Lawrence River in Old Montreal. It was used as early as 1611, when French fur traders as a trading post. The Old Port was redeveloped in the early 1990s, under the direction of architects Aurèle Cardinal and Peter Rose. Today it is a recreational and historical area and draws six million tourists annually. Old Port offers access to a wide variety of activities, including the Montreal Science Centre, with an IMAX Theatre, and the Montreal Clock Tower. It offers riverfront access for walking, cycling, roller-blading, quadricycle, pedalo and Segway rentals.
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Montreal Botanical Garden
The Jardin botanique de Montréal, one of the city’s jewels, is recognized as one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens. It offers a colourful program of events, exhibitions and activities all year long. With its collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, Frédéric Back Tree Pavilion, and more than 20 thematic gardens spread out over 75 hectares, it’s also a perfect place to enjoy fresh air and natural beauty. Located just minutes from downtown Montréal, right near the Biodôme and Olympic Park, the Jardin botanique de Montréal is a veritable living museum of plants from the four corners of the globe.
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La Ronde
Where to start before such a vast choice? Right here. See all the fascinating things you can do at La Ronde, a roller coaster that will give you adrenaline rush to the sweet rides for toddlers. Take a break watching one of our shows or grab a bite at one of our restaurants. Do not forget to bring back memories of your day! The whole family finds its account in La Ronde. Be ready to laugh a big shot! From the highest peaks to the loveliest adventures, we have a host of rides that you can enjoy together. In La Ronde you will find the rides that will make your group happy. Nothing leaves memories as memorable as a great show, especially when you're there with friends or family. In addition to offering you the most exciting rides on the planet, La Ronde presents a variety of high caliber entertainment, which you will remember for a long time.
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Saint Joseph Oratory of Mount Royal
Rising majestically above the cityscape is Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. It is the largest sanctuary dedicated to Saint Joseph and one of the world’s most visited pilgrimage sites with over 2 million visitors per year. In 1904, Brother André, a simple porter renowned for his miracle cures (which he attributed to Saint Joseph), set out to construct a small wooden chapel, which would ultimately become one of the city’s most impressive religious buildings. It wasn’t until 1967, thirty years after his death, that the immense sanctuary was completed. The shrine includes a majestic basilica for close to 2,000 worshippers, with a dome that reaches a soaring 97 metres, the original chapel, a votive chapel, and a crypt. Here lies Brother André, canonized in 2010 as Saint André of Montréal by Pope Benedict XVI in Rome. The Museum of Saint Joseph’s Oratory, primarily dedicated to sacred art, houses an exceptional collection of crèches, a must-see during the holidays.
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Pointe-a-Calliere Montreal Archaeology and History Complex
Travel back in time to experience the life of Montréal's first inhabitants and settlers at Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex. The birthplace of Montréal and a National Historic and Archaeological Site, Pointe-à-Callière presents centuries of history, from Indigenous settlements to the present day. The experience begins with an avant-garde multimedia show on the city’s history. Projected onto an incredible, immersive set space created especially for the show, Generations MTL will dazzle you with its technological wizardry and artistic sensibility. From seats overlooking impressive archaeological remains, get wrapped up in this captivating narrative and learn how, over the centuries, borrowings and exchanges helped forge the city’s identity, making it a true hub at the crossroads of Europe and North America. In addition to the permanent exhibitions where history comes to life through the innovative use of multimedia technologies, the museum presents temporary exhibits on the world's great civilizations, near and far, and a full calendar of cultural activities for the whole family. When it’s time to take a break, L’Arrivage Bistro on the second floor of the main building offers a delicious menu with an exceptional view of the Old Port.
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Chateau Ramezay Historic Site and Museum of Montreal
Walk in the steps of important historical figures the likes of Benjamin Franklin and cross the threshold of the Château Ramezay, a prestigious residence from the 18th century that recounts over 500 years of history through numerous exhibits and extensive multimedia circuits. A portal to Montréal’s past and the first building in Québec classified as an historic monument, the Château Ramezay offers insight into the events of the pre-contact Amerindian era to the 20th century and demonstrates how our history was shaped by the Native People, the French, the British, and the Americans. A permanent collection of over 30,000 objects and an array of temporary exhibitions, intermingled with multimedia portrayals of historical figures telling fabulous tales about this centuries-old manor, bring 18th century New France to life for a modern audience.
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The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
At over a hundred years old and still going strong, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is more avant-garde and relevant than ever before. Driven by a daring and innovative approach, it has developed into a venerable museum complex revered by lovers of art, music and cinema from here and abroad. Founded in 1860, it was one of the first museums in North America to establish an encyclopedic collection. Today, it comprises over 43 000 works from Antiquity to modern day. Its five pavilions, each with a distinct vocation and architectural style, meld beautifully into the city’s urban fabric. The oldest of them all, the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion, dates back to 1912. Its majestic marble staircase takes you to the Museum’s temporary exhibitions.
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Place Jacques-Cartier and Place De La Dauversiere
No stroll through Old Montréal would be complete without a stop at Place Jacques-Cartier, a lively spot steeped in heritage. A meeting place for centuries, Montrealers and visitors alike gather here to admire the view of the Old Port, sit for a spell at an outdoor terrasse, take in performances of the many street artists and enjoy entertainment at every time of year. In fact, one could say that Place Jacques-Cartier is at its most magical during the Christmas season. Today, Place Jacques-Cartier teems with artists, artisans, portrait painters and musicians, however it offers more than just entertainment: history buffs appreciate the Nelson Monument, a 35-metre column erected in 1809, as well as the black pavement denoting the outline of the Château de Vaudreuil, former 18th-century governor’s mansion in New France. Continue your stroll east along Notre-Dame Street and you will come to Place De La Dauversière, across from City Hall. Today, it is a magnificent public garden where passers-by like to while away the hours, immersed in its rich history that begins with the very founding of Montréal. Named in honour of Jérôme Le Royer de La Dauversière, founder of the Société de Notre-Dame, it was the site of the Lemoine-Despins family home in 1750, then of James McGill in 1805.
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Saint Laurent Boulevard
One of Montréal’s most iconic spots, Saint-Laurent Boulevard offers up an effusive, eclectic and multicultural mix of things to see and do, indoors and out, any time of the day. Which is exactly why everyone loves “The Main”! People of all stripes and colours converge at this buzzy hub—a north-south stretch that divides the city into east and west, to be exact—to shop, eat, drink and mingle, and check out some of the city’s hottest new trends. Its nightlife is legendary too, with crowds converging in laid-back brewpubs, trendy clubs, cheeky cabarets, karaoke bars, dance halls and divebars until the wee hours of the morning. The unique venues here are also choice picks for catching hot artists and up-and-coming acts: just think, you might be lucky enough to see the next big thing! In warmer weather, the strip is also host to colourful festivals, weekend-long sidewalk sales and art on a major scale with the incredibly popular MURAL Festival, the most important urban art festival in North America.
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Mary Queen of the World Cathedral
Nestled among busy office buildings in Montréal’s downtown core, lies Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, the third largest church in Québec after Saint Joseph’s Oratory and the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. Built at the end of the 19th century in the heart of what was then the city's Anglo-Protestant sector, this ornate Renaissance cathedral is replica of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, a departure from the Gothic Revival style so popular at the time. Covering nearly 4,700 square meters, the cathedral is built in the shape of a Latin cross, with a large portico built in coursed ashlar and topped by a green copper dome. From high above, statues of the patron saints from Montréal’s thirteen parishes watch over all who enter. Inside, a superb neo-baroque baldachin in red copper and gold leaf overlooks the high altar. In the transept, paintings by Georges Delfosse illustrate the historic beginnings of Montréal while numerous works throughout bear witness to the city’s religious legacy.
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St. Patrick's Basilica
Better known as "The Irish Church", the Basilica was constructed between 1843 and 1847, and is a fine evocation of the Gothic style of the 14th and 15th centuries. It is characterized by its huge pine columns, the oak carving in the nave as well as the carved pulpit and choir loft.
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Co-Cathedral Saint Anthony of Padua
The museum first opened in November 1998 and was renovated in 2016. Its permanent exhibition, located in the lower level of the Co-Cathedral of Saint-Antoine, houses nine separate sections highlighting our rich historical and religious heritage. Certain objects on display date back to the earliest days of the Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue Parish, which was founded in 1698. The museum’s 1998 inauguration was the culmination of a nearly three-year effort to seek funding, inventory objects, conduct research, produce a catalogue, and organize the opening. In 2016, committed to make the Co-Cathedral known to future generations, the fabrique decided to renovate the museum and the crypt. Museologists and the Longueuil Historical Society combined their talents and skills to ensure the successful completion of the project.
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Jean-Talon Market
The multicultural flavors and sights of the Jean-Talon Market have been attracting crowds to Little Italy since 1933. One of North America’s largest open-air public markets, its lively atmosphere, authentic character and wide selection of fresh, local produce and specialities from here and abroad always make for a pleasant – and appetizing – outing. True to its culture and spirit, the Jean-Talon Market showcases local and ethnic eats and a diverse array of merchants. Fruit, vegetable and flower stalls line the walkways alongside a tasty array of specialty shops that feature spices, oils, cheeses, meats, pastries and other exquisite Québec products. Butchers and fishmongers enthusiastically hawk their wares, always ready to share a recipe or recommend something new. Open year-round, the market changes with the seasons. In the spring, it blooms with a bouquet of annuals, perennials and seeds while the sugary scent of maple treats tickles the nostrils and the sweet tooth. Summertime starts with fresh asparagus and strawberries, then matures into a cornucopia of fresh produce picked daily. Come fall, the market is abuzz with the richness of the harvest, while in winter, it lights up with the festive spirit, Christmas trees, wreaths and all.
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Church of La Visitation-de-la-Bienheureuse Vierge Marie
The church of La Visitation, the oldest church on the island of Montreal, is a heritage treasure that makes us discover our roots and our common history. It has come down to us from the time of New France to this day. It is up to us to protect it in order to pass it on to future generations.
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