Summer is considered the best time to visit Montreal because it is the warmest season. The city can be very crowded in summer because schools are on breaks and there are many festivals and events; room rates are at their highest. Montreal is very cold in the winter, but it is full of heated underground passages and room rates are much lower. Visiting the city during the spring months between March and May is a good choice - there are fewer crowds; the weather is cool but pleasant; and hotel rates are affordable. This is the same for the fall months between September and November, another good time to visit Montreal. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Montreal Weather & Temperature by Month
2.Getting to Montreal, Canada
3.Getting From the Montreal Airport
4.Information for Visitors
5.Getting Around Montreal – Public Transportation: Metro, Bus
6.Getting Around Montreal by bike
7.Getting Around Montreal On foot, Taxi, Car
9.Shopping in Montreal
10.Montreal Neighborhood Guide
11.Getting Married in Montreal
12.Where to Stay in Montreal
Best Time to Visit Montreal - Weather Year Round
- Montreal Weather & Temperature by Month, Photo: Courtesy of Adwo - Fotolia.com
- Getting to Montreal, Canada, Photo: Courtesy of senorgogo - Fotolia.com
- Getting From the Montreal Airport, Photo: Courtesy of imageegami - Fotolia.com
- Information for Visitors, Photo: Courtesy of Syda Productions - Fotolia.com
- Getting Around Montreal – Public Transportation: Metro, Bus, Photo: Courtesy of JulienSirard - Fotolia.com
- Getting Around Montreal by bike, Photo: Courtesy of David Alary - Fotolia.com
- Getting Around Montreal On foot, Taxi, Car, Photo: Courtesy of Katia - Fotolia.com
- Montreal Restaurants , Photo: Courtesy of Alexander - Fotolia.com
- Shopping in Montreal, Photo: Courtesy of Lepa - Fotolia.com
- Montreal Neighborhood Guide , Photo: Courtesy of Prod. Numerik - Fotolia.com
- Getting Married in Montreal, Photo: Courtesy of laszlolorik - Fotolia.com
- Where to Stay in Montreal, Photo: Courtesy of TiComoLaFuera - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Rixie - Fotolia.com
More Ideas: Old Montreal, Quebec
Located in the borough of Ville-Marie, Old Montreal is a historic district in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The district is the city’s oldest area, with some surviving artifacts from the area’s New France colonization. Formerly a walled district, the area was declared a historic district in 1964 and is now Montreal’s leading tourist destination, especially notable for visitors with an interest in the city’s unique history and architecture.
The Old Montreal area was inhabited by Europeans as early as 1605, when Samuel de Champlain established a fur trading post at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and the now-vanished Little Saint Pierre River. Though the post was abandoned after conflict with the area’s Iroquois tribes, the area was populated again by European settlers in 1642, when Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve established the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal fort for the purposes of converting indigenous peoples to Christianity. The island of Montreal remained under French sovereignty until 1763, when the Treaty of Paris ceded Canada to British control.
The British influence of the 18th and 19th centuries shaped much of the look and feel of Old Montreal as it exists today. Major fires in the 17th and 18th centuries destroyed large portions of the city, which prompted a radical transformation of the area, starting with the dismantling of the city’s wall fortifications in 1804. Anglophone trade, finance, and manufacturing became the dominant force in the city’s commerce in the 19th century with the arrival of Scottish merchants, and with them an increase in traffic to the city’s Old Port. The dominance of English architecture followed suit, with elaborate Victorian-style financial, religious, and government buildings lining Saint Jacques Street and other major thoroughfares by the turn of the century.
The area fell into decline following the Great Depression, as the relocation of port facilities and redesignation of the city’s downtown area emptied the district of residents and businesses. Difficulty adapting the district’s streets to the automobile caused heavy traffic during the day, while a lack of nightlife and entertainment venues garnered the area a reputation of being unsafe at night. Proposed renovations to the area in the mid-20th century, including an elevated expressway that would have destroyed much of the neighborhood, were met with major resistance from residents looking to preserve the history and character of the old city. As a result, Old Montreal was declared a historic district in 1964, and business revitalizations since the 1980s have transformed the area into a vibrant, family-friendly tourist destination.
In addition to its historic buildings dating back to the 17th century, Old Montreal retains its original character thanks to maintained and restored cobbled streets featuring horse-drawn calèches. Saint Paul Street, the oldest street in Montreal, is lined with art galleries, boutiques, and cafes, giving it a distinctly European vibe. In the west corridor of the area, visitors can see the birthplace of the city at Pointe-à-Callière, which is host to an archaeological museum. Nearby, the Place d'Armes square is flanked by notable historic buildings, including the Notre-Dame Basilica, showcasing Gothic Revival architecture, and the Saint-Sulpice Seminary, the oldest extant building in the city.
In the eastern part of the city, lively public square Place Jacques-Cartier bustles with artists and street performers. Nearby, the Montreal City Hall building is one of the prime examples of Second Empire architecture in Canada. The Champ de Mars public park, which offers views of downtown Montreal, is one of the few remaining sites with remains of the original fortified settlement of the city’s colonial days. Other notable attractions include Bonsecours Market, home to Montreal’s public market for more than a century, which now contains outdoor cafes, restaurants, and upscale boutiques, and the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, one of Montreal’s oldest churches, built in 1771. Visitors can also see a number of preserved colonial-era mansions, including the Château Ramezay and the Sir George-Étienne Cartier National Historic Site of Canada.
Central to the district is the city’s riverbank and Old Port, which is surrounded by restaurants and museums, including the Montreal Science Centre. Many cultural attractions populate the area, including the Phi Centre, the Centaur Theatre, and the Centre d’histoire de Montreal.
A new permanent lighting plan highlights Old Montreal’s historic architecture and illuminates its notable buildings, creating an inviting atmosphere and unique photo opportunities.
The Old Montreal area is accessible from downtown via RÉSO, Montreal’s Underground City tunnel system. The Champ-de-Mars, Place-d'Armes, and Square-Victoria-OACI Metro stations serve the district, as do several Société de transport de Montréal bus stops. Montreal has been ranked as a highly walkable city, and as such, many of the district’s attractions are easily accessible from each other by foot.
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More Ideas: Place des Artes
Located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Place des Artes is the city’s largest arts and culture complex. Situated between Saint Catherine Street and De Maisonneuve Boulevard in Montreal’s downtown area, it is home to many of the city’s major performance organizations, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Opéra de Montréal, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
Place des Artes was conceived in the 1950s as part of mayor Jean Drapeau’s initiative to expand the city’s downtown area. Drapeau, a noted lover of opera, began initial plans for the facility in 1955, and the Corporation George-Étienne-Cartier was set up in 1958 to oversee its construction. The complex’s first theater, the Grande Salle, later renamed the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in honor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s founder, was inaugurated on September 21, 1963. Subsequent performance venues and a contemporary art museum have been added progressively to the complex since the 1960s.
The complex is home to six theatrical halls of various sizes, with capacity totaling 7,787 seats across all venues. The Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier is the largest venue, with nearly 3,000 seats and a state-of-the-art sound system. In addition to being the official home of Opéra de Montréal and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, its season lineup includes Broadway musicals, concerts, and other major national and international touring events. Additionally, the venue is an annual host for the major performances of the renowned Montreal Jazz Festival.
The 1,453-seat Théâtre Maisonneuve is a modern take on an Italian-style theater, with a large multifunctional stage and 45-seat orchestra pit. Named for Montreal’s founder, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, the venue was the second theater added to the complex, inaugurated in 1967. In addition to theatrical productions and benefit evenings for the complex’s home organizations, the venue is also equipped with projection equipment to present films.
Opened in 2011, the Montreal Symphony House, also known as the Maison Symphonique, is a classical music hall that is the primary home of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The 2,100-seat hall is built to exacting international specifications to provide audiences with the best possible audio and visual experience for enjoying musical performances. In addition to the Symphony Orchestra, the McGill Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain, I Musici de Montréal, Les Violons du Roy, and Pro Musica Society ensembles also perform frequently at the venue.
Formerly known as Théâtre Port-Royal, the Théâtre Jean-Duceppe is the home for the DUCEPPE theater company’s season, which runs from September through May. The 765-seat venue also hosts a number of lecture series, galas, and dance shows, and is the annual home of the Festival TransAmériques theater and dance festival. Two other small venues round out the complex, the versatile Cinquième Salle, which can be configured for a variety of contemporary, dance, and multimedia presentations, and the intimate Salle Claude-Léveillée hall, which hosts annual songwriting competitions and stand-up comedy festivals.
In addition to its theater halls, the Place des Artes is also home to an outdoor amphitheater venue, the Amphithéâtre Fernand-Lindsay. The 6,000-capacity venue is the host for Canada’s largest classical musical festival, the Festival de Lanaudière, as well as pop and rock concerts and outdoor film screenings. The public Espace culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme hall features an exhibition room, which showcases the behind-the-scenes workings of the complex’s arts companies, as well as a large digital screen mosaic created by designer Érick Villeneuve. Also part of the complex is the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, a contemporary art museum that opened in 1992.
Outside, the Esplanade de la Place des Arts connects all the complex’s venues. Adorned with fountains and water cascades, the esplanade is a major public gathering space for the city and a highlight of its Quartier des spectacles district. It is host to some of Montreal’s largest annual festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the French-language music festival Les FrancoFolies, the Just For Laughs comedy festival, and Montréal en Lumière, one of the largest winter festivals in the world.
Several restaurants in the complex offer before-and-after-show service, including the Place Deschamps bar and lounge, the bistro-style Restaurant Le Seingalt, and Havre-aux-glaces, serving ice cream, sorbet, and other desserts. The complex is also directly connected via the RÉSO Underground City tunnel system to the Complexe Desjardins, a mall featuring more than 110 boutiques and restaurants. Many other restaurants, shops, and venues are located nearby in the vibrant Quartier des spectacles district, which incorporates tiered green space, illuminated fountains and walkways, and mist machines to create a unique city center experience.
The complex is accessible from downtown via the Place-des-Arts Metro station, as well as several STM bus lines and BIXI bike stations.
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More Ideas: Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium
Located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, near the city’s Olympic Park, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium is a museum and planetarium dedicated to offering an innovative approach to astronomy education. Along with the Montreal Biodome, Montreal Insectarium, and Montreal Botanical Garden, it is part of the Space for Life museum district, the largest consortium of natural sciences museums in Canada.
The planetarium is a successor to the Montréal Planetarium, which was commissioned in the 1960s as part of Mayor Jean Drapeau’s downtown cultural revitalization initiatives for the city. During its tenure at Chaboillez Square in downtown Montreal, the planetarium was host to over six million visitors and created more than 250 original productions, but by the early 2000s, updates to the facility became necessary to reflect advances in technology. Instead of revamping the existing facility, the decision was made to move the museum to the Olympic Park area as part of the Space for Life project, an effort to consolidate Montreal’s natural museums into one district. A new building, designed by Cardin + Ramirez et Associés, was commissioned to reflect Space for Life’s commitment to sustainable development. The new planetarium facility, a LEED Platinum certified building, officially opened in April 2013.
Facilities and Exhibits
Two dome theaters, the Milky Way Theatre and the Chaos Theatre, offer complementary presentations on themes of astronomy and the natural world. Visitors can choose between two double feature presentation sets, with one film in each lineup focusing on scientific aspects of space travel and research and the other immersing viewers in the artistry of the cosmos. All presentations are offered in both French and English.
Films rotate on an annual or biannual basis, with favorites such as National Geographic’s Asteroid: Mission Extreme and the American Museum of Natural History's Dark Universe on cycle. The facility also produces original films periodically, including 2015’s Aurorae, which set over 179,000 images of the Northern Lights collected by planetarium staff to music and educational commentary. In December 2015, Space for Life and the National Film Board of Canada signed an agreement to produce a series of original scientific films, and the 2017 season planetarium offering Kyma, Power of Waves is the first result of this collaboration.
In addition to its theaters, the planetarium is also home to a permanent exhibit, Exo: Our Search for Life in the Universe. Themed around the scientific curiosity and conversations about the origins of life on Earth, the large multimedia exhibit is entirely digital. Large touchscreens and interactive game tables offer opportunities for visitors to learn about the history of the universe, the evolution of Earth’s geology and biology, and the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. The exhibit also contains the largest collection of meteorites in Quebec, with over 300 pieces on display.
Several pieces of artwork from the original Montréal Planetarium were moved after its closing and are now on display at the Rio Tinto Alcan. A statue commemorating Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus is a replica of a work by Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. Originally created for the Man the Explorer pavilion at Montreal’s Expo 67, it now stands on the grounds outside the planetarium, along with a large sundial created by Dutch artist Herman J. van der Heide, which was a gift to the city for its 325th anniversary by the citizens of Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Another work, The Ingot by Montreal sculptor Norman Slater, is currently on loan to the facility and is located inside. Created for the Exposition internationale de Bruxelles in 1958, the piece is made from an aluminum ingot, a material known for its highly recyclable versatility. A participatory digital artwork installation, Choreographies for Humans and Stars, adorns the facade of the building, encouraging visitors to interact with the museum with movement tracking software that affects the installation’s lighting.
Space for Life Complex
Established in 2011 as a successor to the Montreal Nature Museums organization, the Space for Life complex aims to bring together Montreal’s natural sciences museums in a sustainable, collaborative project celebrating biodiversity. Through its exhibits and its conservation, research, and education efforts, the museum complex strives to invite visitors to reimagine the connection between humans and nature. Expansions to the complex are planned through 2019, including a Grande Place common space linking the four institutions.
The complex offers a variety of educational programming, including school tours of all of the facilities and themed day camps for ages 7-14. All of the complex’s institutions are committed to ongoing biodiversity research, with an emphasis on conservation, bioengineering, sustainable development, and ecosystem management for populated areas.
4801 Pierre-de Coubertin Ave, Montreal, QC H1V 3N4, Canada
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