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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Montreal is a scenic Canadian city that is rich in cultural traditions. It is the country’s second largest city and is located in the south of Quebec province, approximately 60km from the United States border. It is widely regarded as one of the liveliest cities in Canada, with an amazing variety of cultural events, festivals and activity centres to keep visitors engaged all year round.  

Paul Chomedey originally founded Montreal as a missionary village in 1642. Prior to that, the place was called Hochelaga and had a large population from the Mohawk tribe. Explorer Jacques Cartier first visited the area in 1535 and by the 18th century, it had been transformed into a major fur-trading town. Before the Montreal Olympics of 1976, the city’s infrastructure was overhauled and various urban development projects were executed. The city has a multi-ethnic population, predominantly made up of people of French and British descent. The city infrastructure includes a commendable mix of walkways, underground shopping complexes, recreational areas, theatres, office and residential apartments, all of which can be easily accessed, even during the snowy winter season. The city also has the world’s largest inland port.

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Why visit Montreal ?

Montreal location iamge - CruiseDirection

Rich in cultural traditions

Widely regarded as one of the liveliest cities in Canada

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport is the city’s primary airport, located west of the city centre and most major US and Canadian airlines operate services from here. Daily trans-Atlantic flights touch down from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, Munich, Moscow and Cairo, among others. The region is also served by the Plattsburgh International Airport, which is located in Plattsburgh, New York, about an hour’s drive away across the border with the USA.  

Beautiful maple trees surround the city and you’ll find a blend of 19th and 20th century architecture as old churches stand side by side with modern skyscrapers. Montreal is also segmented historically into east and west, so most addresses have east or west suffixes to them. The serene St. Lawrence River runs from north to south alongside the city’s downtown. Among the places of interest is the Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel, which is located at the eastern end of Vieux Montréal. Originally constructed in wood, the chapel was later rebuilt in stone. A walk to the nearby market, the Bonsecours Market, is also recommended. The market’s architecture contains a Greek revival portico, a tin-plated dome and cast-iron columns that were imported from England. Built in 1847, it stands as a fine example of Neo-Classical architecture of the 19th century.  

A few blocks to the west of Bonsecours Market, you’ll find the Place Jacques Cartier. This square is the city centre of Old Montreal and has the City Hall on Rue Notre Dame to the north and Rue de la Commune and the port of Montreal to the south. The square is a conflux of vibrant entertainment courtesy of street musicians, jugglers and artists. You’ll also find facilities for interesting and fascinating guided tours. There is virtually no festival season in Montreal, as people continue celebrating life with numerous events throughout the year. The more famous ones among them are the Fête de Neiges (Festival of Snow), which features skating and ice carving; the St. Patrick’s Day Parade; the International Fireworks Festival, which is one of the grandest firework shows on the planet; the Canadian Grand Prix; the Fête Nationale or St Jean Baptiste Day; the Montréal Jazz Festival; the Just-for-Laughs Comedy Festival; the Du Maurier Classic, which is a tennis tournament; the International Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival and the Montreal World Film Festival, which is held in several theatres around town.  

You should also savour some of the city’s delicacies, like the lip-smacking Smoked Meat Sandwich or the sinful Poutine. With such a great variety of attractions, Montréal guarantees to leave behind an indelible mark.

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