Montreal is a city of contrasts. It lies in French-speaking Quebec province, and yet it is truly an international city, known far and wide for its significance in the fashion world and in the Arts. It is a large city, yet it carefully preserves its "old town," vieux montreal. It is also a young city, exemplified by the presence of Magill University which dominates a large section of the city. Here are my choices for the best of this cosmopolitan city. A photo album will follow.
1. Vieux Montreal – The oldest part of the city exudes charm with its beautiful squares and historical buildings.
2. Basilica of Notre Dame – The breath-takingly beautiful interior of this church attracts tourists from all over the world. The dominant blues and attractive lighting lends an air of serenity to the place.
3. Botanical Garden of Montreal – These extensive gardens are delightful to stroll. Visitors love the many kinds and colors of flowers as well as the Chinese and Japanese Gardens.
4. Olympic Park – The site of the 1976 Summer Olympics still retains some of the venues. Of particular interest are the Montreal Tower, which offers wonderful views of the city, and the Biodome, which showcases several of the world’s most fascinating ecosystems.
5. Mont-Royal Park – The summit of the mount which gives the city its name offers spectacular views as well as walking trails, a lake for skating and other recreational opportunities.
6. Day Trip to Mont Tremblant – Just over an hour from the city is a delightful town which is reminiscent of a European Alpine village. Mont Tremblant offers skiing in the winter, but the town attracts visitors throughout the year who enjoy the brightly-colored buildings, shops, and restaurants.
7. Christ Church Cathedral – This Gothic church sits in the midst of high-rise buidlings in the heart of the city. Its contrast with its neighbors is particularly striking and echoes the contrast alluded to in the introduction.
8. The Illuminated Crowd – Montreal’s most celebrated street sculpture can be found on Magill College Avenue, in the heart of the university section of the city.
9. Shop or Wander Underground Montreal – This "city under the city" is the largest complex of its kind in the world, and offers shopping, transportation, and other activities. It is especially appreciated during the long, Canadian winters.
10. St Joseph’s Oratory – This Roman-Catholic basilica is located on Mont Royal (see above) and is the largest church in Canada. Its dome is the third largest of its kind in the world.