In one of our previous posts we gave some key tips on what to do and see when you’re completing your internship in Toronto. Now since Montreal is the second-largest city in Canada, it would be a shame not to give you some hints on what to do and see when you’re doing your internship in Montreal. These are the sights that made it to our shortlist:
The Notre-Dame Basilica is located in the historic district in Old Montreal. If you’re into Gothic architecture style then this is the right place for you to visit! The interior is decorated with deep blue ceiling with golden stars and the glass windows depict the religious history of Montreal. The pipe organ, which dates back to the 19th century has 4 keyboards, 7000 individual pipes and 92 stops. Surely something that will be appreciate by fans of classic music!
In case you’re more of an outdoor person, then you should definitely visit Mount Royal! You can either walk there or if you’re a bit lazy, you can take the bus. After all, it’s free of charge! Mount Royal is truly a great place to spend your time, no matter if you visit it by day or night. If you decide to go during the day, you can have a nice picnic in the park or even visit the Belvedere observatory that offers amazing views over downtown Montreal. And if you visit by night, you can see the amazing city light. So it’s a win-win situation.
Old Montreal is the oldest area of Montreal, with some remains dating back to New France. This part of the city is a major tourist attraction and among the oldest urban areas in North America boasting 17th century buildings. Here, you can find the Montreal City Hall, the Bonsecours Market and some well preserved colonial mansions like the Chateau Ramezay. Another evidence of the popularity of Old Montreal is that the Alexandra Pier serves approximately 50 thousand passengers annually.
Montreal Botanical Garden
If you’re really a fan of nature, then you can’t miss a visit to the Montreal Botanical Garden. This 75 hectares (190 acres) botanical garden was designed back in 2008 and it is considered to be one of the most important botanical gardens in the world. This is mainly because of it’s extensive collection and facilities. You will find 4 large gardens: The Chinese Garden which has a traditional Ming Dynasty design; The Japanese Garden which hosts tea ceremonies in the summer where you can learn more about the fine art of tea making and other traditional Japanese arts; The First Nations Garden which is dedicated to the indigenous species of Canada and the Alpine Garden that has several pathways which go over a rocky outcrop containing delicate alpine plants.
The Biodome is another great sight for those who are interested in nature. It’s located at the Olympic Park of Montreal and visitors have the opportunity to walk through the four ecosystems that are present in the Americas. The replicas that you can walk through are: The Tropical Forest which is a simulation of the South American rainforest; The Laurentian Forest which is a replica of the North American wilderness; The Saint Lawrence Marine Ecosystem which is modelled on the ecosystem of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Polar Area that is divided into Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is the largest museum in Montreal and probably the most prominent one in Canada. The museum consist of four pavilions with a total surface of over 45,000 square meters (bit over 485,000 square feet) and the fifth pavilion is currently under construction. The four pavilions together with the fifth one (when completed) will make the Montreal Museum of Fine Art the eighteenth largest museum in North America. It is also important to mention that the museum’s collection includes approximately 41,000 works.
Montreal Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium of Montreal is a multi-purpose facility located in the Olympic Park in Montreal. This stadium is also known by another name ‘The Big Owe’ or ‘The Big O’ which is a reference to both it’s name and doughnut-shaped roof or a reference to the astronomical cost of the stadium. The stadium was built in the mid 1970s and it’s main purpose was to host the 1976 Olympic Games. After the Olympic Games an artificial turf was installed and the stadium became host to Montreal’s professional baseball and football teams.
Local cuisine (poutine, smoked meat sandwich, bagel, beer at Dieu du Ciel)
In the past few sections we talked about the architectural and natural wonders of Montreal, but let’s not forget that cultural immersion is not completed if you don’t try (at least once) the local cuisine. This ‘rule’ applies everywhere! So let’s see what should to try!
The first choice is definitely ‘poutine’. The poutine is a traditional French dish from Quebec made from french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy-like sauce. On first sight it may not look appetising, but trust us…once you start you won’t be able to stop. And if you’re looking for a good place to eat poutine, we highly recommend ‘La Banquise’.
The next thing is the ‘smoked meat sandwich’ which is a traditional Montreal icon! This 4 inch thick sandwich will surely satisfy your taste buds!
Okay so you tried something solid and salty. But what about something sweet? Well, we have something for that too! Unlike the traditional New York bagel, the Montreal bagel is more dense, sweeter and a bit thinner. The Montreal bagel is a handmade and wood-fried baked bagel and you shouldn’t miss it!
And lastly…beverages. Montrealers like to drink beer in the evening. But not just any beer. They like good beer. Probably that’s why they take the microbrewery business so seriously and that’s why the Dieu du Ciel is always packed. Make sure you stop by at least once for a pint of great beer, either by yourself or with some of your intern friends.
Shopping in the underground city
The ‘underground city’ was designed and built to look like a shelref for a post-apocalyptic time and in some case, it really is. During winter, Montreal can experience some heavy snow which make commuting the traditional way…well impossible. Canadians didn’t allow the snow to determine whether they need a new pair of shoes, a new shirt or something else. That’s why they built a 12 square km complex with over 120 exterior access point that houses shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, museums and many more. You will basically find everything!
So this is our shortlist of things to see while you’re visiting Montreal. We’re sure that you will find many, many more sights to visit and explore while you’re in Montreal, but we wanted to pay attention to these a bit closer. Hope you’ll find this information useful.