A Montréal guide for Travel Classics attendees
Montréal is tickled pink to host Travel Classics International 2018. We recognize the power of travel writing, and we adore reading diverse stories from travellers and their Montréal discoveries.
Our fair city is often typecast as “charmingly European” or “the mecca of festivals”. We’re happy with those titles — but ultimately, Montréal is a multitudinous city. We’ve got one foot in Europe and one in North America. We eat well and eagerly play outdoors. We study hard (four world-class universities!) and laugh even harder (the world’s biggest comedy gathering!). We’re a different city across the four different seasons. This is why travellers continue to come back: there’s always a nouveau side of Montréal.
When you’re not learning and networking in the Travel Classics conference sessions, here is a carefully curated list of seven things to see and do around Montréal.
Side note: Don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter (@Montreal) if you have questions!
Climb Mount Royal
Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (the same landscape architect who crafted New York’s Central Park), the mountain park at the heart of the city is Montréal’s most iconic landmark — and the most popular place to snap a selfie. Reach the viewpoint at the top of Mount Royal Park by walking up the stairs or with a guided tour. In the chalet at the summit, visitors will find washrooms and a small canteen for refreshments. Give yourself a breezy two hours.
Try a digital scavenger hunt
Cité Mémoire transforms the neighbourhood of Old Montréal into a giant open-air museum. A collection of over 20 videos are projected on trees, walls, the ground, you name it. You’ll meet some of the characters who’ve coloured Montréal since its 1642 inception. Download the free app, Montréal en Histoires, and have the installations explained to you in the language of your choice.
Montrealers love to eat. One of the best ways to savour the city is to visit one of the local public markets. With a wide range of regional products from across Québec, Marché Jean-Talon — located in the heart of Little Italy — is the largest and most culturally diverse market in Montréal. For a smaller, yet equally delicious option, the art deco-style Marché Atwater offers an array of specialty products and delicatessen treats. (Plus, it’s located beside the picturesque Lachine Canal.)
Walk this way
There’s no better way to get to know a city than a walking tour guided by a local expert. You’ll get access to anecdotes and inside jokes about Montréal — stuff that many residents don’t even know! For visiting foodies, Montréal has many tours centred on gastronomy. Urban art aficionados can discover Canada’s premier street art corridor.
Appreciate the art
Holocaust survivors Michal and Renata Hornstein donated a collection of old masterworks valued at $75 million to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. To house these, and some 600 works from the MMFA’s collection – Rembrandt to Rodin, Monet to Matisse – the museum opened The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace. Two of the building’s four floors are earmarked for education, social and community programs, as well as art therapy and wellness activities.
Become one of the village people
The main street of Montréal’s Gay Village is a manifestation of public art. The annual project, entitled Aires Libres, is a selection of installations that tease the senses and challenge perception. A crowd favourite is the rainbow flag-inspired canopy of 180,000 resin balls spans the entire length of the pedestrian zone. A perfect place for happy hour.
Reach new heights
Located on the top of one of Montréal’s most iconic towers, the Observatoire Place Ville Marie offers exceptional 360-degree views of the city and its main attractions. It is also home to a large, heated outdoor patio, as well as Les Enfants Terribles, the most elevated restaurant in town. Audio guides available to highlight history and geography.