Last year, Montréal celebrated its 375th anniversary and Old Montréal, our gem of classical architecture and old world charm along the banks of the St. Lawrence, was a focal point of both the commemorative celebrations and some of the city’s newest developments. Co-founded by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve and Jeanne Mance in 1642 at the exact spot where today’s Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum resides, Old Montréal remains a vibrant heart of the city with many new features that both you and your attendees will love.
With cutting-edge technology and projections, the storied buildings of Old Montréal have experienced mind-blowing renewal and nightly come to life before your eyes. Moment Factory’s Aura transforms the interior of the Notre-Dame Basilica into a symphony of lights and effects that literally bring the building to life. Out on the streets, the ghostly projections of Cité Memoire tell the story of the city via a free multi-lingual app. And for those searching for a different view over the city, La Grande Roue de Montréal gives visitors and locals alike a new angle over the angled rooftops of the Old Port.
Historical venues gone high tech
The Centre Phi’s varied schedule of forward-looking conferences, live performances, and installations (including acting as a home base for the Red Bull Music Academy, the North American premiere of Björk Digital and a focus on Virtual Reality technology) has claimed a reputation as one of Montréal’s most inspiring venues.
The Pointe-à-Callière’s 11 multifunctional rooms include the breathtaking views of the Montréal 360° Space overlooking the old city and the stately Mariners House. Built to showcase the earliest foundations of Montréal, this museum’s spaces showcase a perfect union between history and high tech.
Those looking for the rush of water below their feet without having to step into a boat need look no further than the event spaces of the Montréal Science Centre. Spectacular views of Old Montréal and the St. Lawrence are sure to keep your attendees energized – and free of seasickness.
New cuisine in the old city
Fine dining has always been an important part of Old Montréal’s DNA and these new spots have established themselves amongst the cobblestone streets. Recent openings like the Poké hotspot Venice, the culinary acrobatics of Mimi la nuit, vegetarian and vegan hot spot LOV, and Canadian brasserie Rockwood join a list of almost limitless mouth-watering options. Local mouths salivate in the queue for the brand-new Monarque on Saint-Jacques Street, an offering from the father-son team Richard and Jérémie Bastien that’s been well worth the wait.
Any visit to the historic district isn’t complete without a look at the Antonopoulous Group’s Experience Old Montréal site, listing ten of their old city restaurants, each and every one a highlight: Vieux-Port Steakhouse, La Terrazza, Verses Bistro, Taverne Gaspar, Maggie Oakes, Modavie, Méchant Boeuf, Kyo Bar Japonais, Brasserie 701 and Bevo Bar + Pizzaeria.
Cafés and bars that refresh and amaze
From the breathtaking Crew co-working space to the new Olimpico at the William Gray Hotel, Old Montréal has café choices for every taste and mood – here’s just 10 of our favourites within 10 minutes of the Palais de congrès de Montréal (and for those looking to do some work, Montréal’s co-working spaces are some of the best in the world).
When it’s past coffee hours and time for a cocktail, Old Montréal’s bar scene also holds a wealth of unforgettable options. Learn to sabre a bottle at La Champagnerie, keep things trendy yet low-key at Philémon Bar, sample the cool cocktails at Flyjin and Joverse, travel back to the roaring 20s at Bord’elle and seek out the hidden Cold Room on Saint-Paul Street. New kids on the block like gay hotspot ÖriGn on de la Commune Street and the Clandestino mezcal and tequila bar on Saint-François-Xavier Street show no signs of the old city slowing down any time soon.
A hotel hotspot
Old Montréal’s hotel scene is both rich and forever changing. The William Gray Hotel, a jewel in the crown of the Antonopoulos Group whose portfolio of boutique hotels in the historic district is truly impressive, has locals and visitors alike buzzing. In addition to the William Gray, this local family business also owns and operates the Lofts du Vieux-Port, Hotel Place d'Armes, Le Petit Hôtel, Hotel Nelligan and Auberge du Vieux Port.
Other options include the all-suite Saint Sulpice next to the Notre-Dame Basilica, the luxurious Saint James Hotel, the magnificent Hotel Gault and the elegant Hotel Saint-Paul, all offering the most modern comforts in distinctly historical settings. And of course, just steps from the high-tech environment of the Palais des congrès de Montréal convention centre, the InterContinental, the Westin and Embassy Suites let conference delegates go seamlessly from meetings with peers to meetings with the past in Old Montreal.
With new developments on the docket for 2019 (we can’t wait for the upcoming opening of the Humaniti), it’s safe to say the only thing that stays constant in Old Montréal is its ability for constant change.
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