The largest city in the province of Quebec, Montreal is the second-largest city in Canada and the 9th-largest in North America. Located on the Island of Montreal, the city sprawls on a land area of 431.50 km2 and is at an elevation of 6 meters above sea level. The city which served as the commercial capital of Canada many years ago is named a ‘City of Design’ by UNESCO. The city still remains an important economical, commercial, technological, tourism and film center of Canada and ranks 16th out of 140 cities in The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking. QS World University Rankings listed Montreal as the 8th-best place in the world to be a university student. While French is the official language spoken by majority of the people, English along with other regional languages is also spoken.
All the flights coming to Montreal land at the Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, which is the 4th busiest airport in Canada and the seventh-busiest in terms of passengers carried (1.2 million) between Europe and a non-European destination. Currently 40 airlines offer non-stop services to more than 130 regular and seasonal destinations to and from Montreal. Montréal–Mirabel International Airport is another international airport in the city but is dedicated primarily to cargo airlines. Lying between the warm-summer and hot-summer humid continental climate zones, the city experience warm and humid summer. July is the warmest month of the year with temperature averaging between 26 to 27 °C. January is the coldest month of the year and the winter season in the city is very cold with frequent snowfall. The weather during spring and fall are comfortable but is prone to radical temperature changes. Beside the Just for Laugh Comedy Festival, which is the biggest of its kind in the world, the city also celebrates Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, Nuits d'Afrique, Pop Montreal, Divers/Cité, Fierté Montréal and the Montreal Fireworks Festival.
Mont Royal is a lovely park in Montreal and perfect for enjoying a long leisurely walk. The Old Montreal area is a splendid tourist attraction filled with remarkable concentration of buildings dating from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Parc Jean Drapeau is Montreal's landmark attraction which remnant of the 1967 world fair and houses a museum dedicated to ecological issues. Botanical Garden is another major draw popular for its Japanese and Chinese Gardens, extraordinary glasshouses, and exhibits of orchids and bonsai. Rue Sherbrooke can be classified as Montreal's elegant thoroughfare and some of the major attractions here are McCord Museum of Canadian History, Musée des Beaux Arts and McGill University.
Some of the major attractions which you should not miss in Montreal are - Places Jacques-Cartier (surrounded by historical monuments, gardens and restaurants), Notre-Dame Basilica (Montréal's oldest church), Olympic Park (site of the 1976 Summer Olympics), St. Joseph's Oratory (charming Renaissance-style domed basilica), St. Mary Queen of the World, Square Saint-Louis (among Montréal's prettiest old squares), Lachine (a park offering opportunities for trips along the canal banks), Rue St-Denis ( the happiest shopping and dining hub).
Eating and Shopping
The fact that Montreal was ranked 2nd best dining city in North America after San Francisco, makes it a dream destination for the foodies. The city has some wonderful offers as far as food in concerned and restaurant of all budgets are available. Poutine is the signature food of Quebec and should not be missed in Montreal. Bagels, Tire sur la neige, Quebec’s cheese and Shish Taouk are some of the all-time favorites. Claiming to have more restaurants per capita in North America, some of the most popular places where you can enjoy a gourmet treat are – Joe Beef, Liverpool House, Nora Gray, Le Club Chasse et Pêche, Maison Publique, Leméac and Le Filet. The city has something great to offer the drink lovers as well. However, all retail alcohol sales stop at 11 p.m. and bars and clubs stop serving at 3 a.m. The three main strips where most of the bars are located are Rue Crescent, Rue Saint-Denis and Boulevard Saint-Laurent.
Boasting of North America’s largest malls and endless range of international boutique, shopping is a delightful indulgence for the tourists. But if you are travelling on budget, there are multitudinous options for you as well. When in Montreal, tourists cannot miss visiting the famous street markets in the city - Avenue Laurier for upscale shopping; Avenue du Mont-Royal for shopping for funky and trendy stuff, Boulevard St-Laurent in the heart of the city offers many stores selling restaurants, clothing stores, furniture and design, antiques. Boulevard Le Corbusier, located in the suburbs of Laval is the best place for those want to buy furniture. Montreal is famous for locally made artisan creations along with cheese curds, bagels, eskimo soapstone, electronics and woolen clothes, all of which are major shopping items.