10 things you didn’t know about Montréal

published on April 1, 2020
What's New in Montréal

Most people know Montréal as that “exotic” Canadian city with great food and cute accents. But we’re so much more.

Here are ten things you might not have realized about Canada’s cultural capital.

Montréal is located on an island

Just as Manhattan is located on an island in the Hudson and Harlem Rivers, Montréal is also situated on an island. The Saint Lawrence River is one of the largest rivers in North America, and acts as the primary drainage outflow of the Great Lakes. Essentially this means that access to water activities — boating, kayaking, even surfing — are popular summertime activities for residents!

Montréal has a segment of the Berlin Wall

In recognition of Montréal’s 350th anniversary in 1992, the city of Berlin donated a small section of the infamous wall that once divided East and West Germany. The concrete piece is located in the Ruelle des Fortifications, adjacent to the Montréal World Trade Centre, which itself is a crossroads of international trade, a site of openness, tourism, and transit. More details…

The anthem for peace was recorded in Montréal

While many people know that John Lennon’s iconic song Give Peace a Chance was written and recorded in Montréal’s Queen Elizabeth hotel, most people don’t know that the room was also filled with some of the world’s most ground-breaking scholars and activities. Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Dick Gregory, and Tommy Smothers were among the folks singing backup on the track that is essentially holy scripture for the flower power generation.

Montréal is a UNESCO city of design

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. Montréal is named in the design category!

There are no “skyscrapers” in Montréal

While other cities rush to break records for tall buildings, Montréal is content to let its natural beauty take centre stage. The hill in the middle of the city, called Mount Royal, is 233 metres tall and offers many vantage points over Montréal neighborhoods. According to the municipal government’s website, “No building may exceed the height of the mountain’s summit.”

One of the world’s most successful environment agreements happened in Montréal

Signed in 1987, The Montréal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. “The Montréal Protocol is the most successful international environmental agreement ever implemented.” That’s what Margaret Heffernan declared in her TED Talk, Forget the pecking order at work.

Montréal is a port city

The Port of Montréal is one of the largest inland ports in the world handling 26 million tonnes of cargo annually. It remains a trans-shipment point for grain, sugar, petroleum products, machinery, and consumer goods. Montréal is the railway hub of Canada, home to the headquarters of the Canadian National Railway.

Montréal has been the stage to some of your favourite movies

The film industry provides approximately 35,000 direct jobs, and more than 600 films are shot each year in Montréal — including some Hollywood blockbusters. Movies such as Blades of Glory, Life of Pi, Batman & Robin, The Red Violin, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and X-Men were all shot in Montréal!

Montréal loves to learn

With four universities, seven other degree-awarding institutions, and 12 colleges — locally known as CEGEPs — in an eight-kilometre radius, Montréal has the highest concentration of post-secondary students of all major cities in North America (4.38 students per 100 residents, followed by Boston at 4.37 students per 100 residents).

The world gathers in Montréal

Montréal is one of three North American cities home to organizations of the United Nations (along with Washington, D.C. and New York), and has the second-highest number of international consulates on the continent.

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