In North America, cities do not come any better than Montreal. Montreal is generally accepted throughout the world as being a great and unique city. The feel of Montreal is truly global, where every culture and creed thrives within a thoroughly modern environment, where the quality of life is unsurpassed. Many Montrealers speak French and there certainly is a lot of Europe in the architecture of the city, the restaurants, bistros and the shops. Many Montrealers are bilingual and English is also commonly spoken.

Montreal, a large metropolitan area, is actually an island in the St. Lawrence River. The population of Greater Montreal including Laval and the South Shore is 3.3 million, the Island of Montreal is 1.8 million and the City itself is just over 1 million. Both English and French are commonly spoken by Montrealers. Other world languages are also spoken by 25% of the population.

The City of Montreal is divided into various districts. Old Montreal is the old, historical core of the city. Downtown Montreal is the shopping and business centre. The Latin Quarter has many of Montreal's bars and clubs. The Plateau Mont-Royal is mostly residential but has many excellent restaurants and bars. The Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district has many tourist attractions including the Olympic Stadium, the Biodome and the Botanical Gardens. The smaller islands between Montreal and the South Shore contain the famous Montreal casino and the amusement park La Ronde, the site of Expo 67. And we mustn´t forget the southwest districts including the elegant Notre Dame de Grace, Outremont and Westmount; the multiethnic Cote des Neiges and the charming Lachine, the first Montreal district, with its beautiful lakeshore that offers the possibilities of practicing sports all year round, from snowshoe walks, fishing under the ice and country ski in winter to windsurf, canoeing and biking in summer

Montreal bustles with activity all year round and there are many places to see. Old Montreal and the old Port is an excellent place to start with. You can see many historical sights on foot with a multitude restaurants and shops within striking distance. Ste Catherine between Victoria Square and Guy Street is the main commercial centre of Montreal. Shopping here is world-class especially in the underground city which seems endless. Mount Royal Park is unique and affords a fantastic view of the City from the famous lookout. The Plateau Mont Royal is also worth a visit on foot especially a stop at one of the many neighbourhood restaurants. To the east of downtown you will find the major tourist attractions: the Olympic Stadium, the Biodome and Insectarium and the world-famous Botanical gardens. If you are in the mood for relaxation you should head straight for St Denis Street, north of Ste Catherine where you will find an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores and bistros. If it's a walk or a bicycle ride you are looking for, you will find a wide variety of activities on Ile Ste Helene and Ile Notre Dame, ranging from the Old Fort and the Floralies site to the La Ronde amusement park and the Casino.

There are many world-class museums in Montreal. For fine arts you have the Musee des Beaux Arts, for history there is the Musee d'archeologie et d'histoire de Montreal and the Centre d'histoire de Montreal, and for science there is the Biodome and the insectarium. The most popular churches include the Oratoire St Joseph, Notre Dame basilica and St Patrick Basilica. The public markets at Jean-Talon and Atwater are definitely worth a visit. For restaurants the visitor to Montreal is spoiled for choice. One is able to find excellent food and value for money almost everywhere in Montreal. Finally Montreal is known for its festivals such as the famous Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival, the Francofolies and the International Film festival.

Fall is the last gift of nature before snow covers everything until next spring. The blazing colors of the maple trees are famous all over the world and it is a great moment for outdoor activities. Montrealers enjoy roller skating, biking or hiking amid the amazing colors of fall. The unique colors are everywhere: gold, yellow, orange, red, purple and they seem to illuminate the earth even in a gray cloudy day. This dazzling festival of color is celebrated with the Flaming Colors Festival in Magog, the Weekend of Colors Festival in Saint-Donat, and Autumn Dreams Festival in Saint-Paul Bay. There you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to skylights to the top of the mountain, as well as cultural programs and entertainment.

This is also the apple harvest season so you can enjoy a day picking them and tasting the new, sparkling and crisp cider in any of the farms around Montreal. September and October are the months during which the geese migrate to the South. You can watch this magnificent show all along the shores of the Saint Laurent river.

In Montreal, the Botanical Gardens celebrate the season with the Pumpkin Festival by decorating pumpkins and illuminating everything with almost a thousand handmade lanterns from Shanghai.

Winter is a time of great beauty in Quebec. Montreal in particular always looks majestic cloaked in a fresh coat of fluffy snow. Winter is also a time of bustle and activity with many Montrealers resisting the temptation to hibernate. Temperatures seldom reach the deep freeze level and the outdoor pursuits are invigorating. A popular winter pursuit is tobogganing near Beaver Lake on Montreal's beautiful Mount Royal. Not far away are the world-renown Laurentian Mountains where skiing and snow boarding becomes a way of life. Many Montrealers enjoy ice skating at the Old Port of Montreal. Christmas time brings a cornucopia of lights and decorations along the shopping thoroughfares of downtown Montreal. There are also the ice sculptures at the Botanical Gardens in the east part of the City. The Fete des Neiges begins soon afterwards in January and by mid February there follows the Montreal Winter Festival. Montrealers and visitors alike spend a weekend in beautiful Quebec City at the Quebec Winter Carnival.

The Maple Sugar Season is the real start point for spring. A popular activity is to visit a Cabane a Sucre to sample the real taste of maple syrup while savouring a traditional Quebecois meal, listening to local music and seeing Quebec folk dances. The other spring festivals include the Vues d'Afrique, a festival celebrating African and Caribbean culture; the Montreal Chamber Music festival; and the Formula One Grand Prix. For those who prefer slower speeds there is the Tour de l'Ile, a popular cycling race around the island of Montreal.

Montreal is a city which never rests. There are things to do and bistros to visit in the Summer that will take you into the wee hours of the morning. Montreal is famous for its outdoor terraces and parks making the most of the sunny, warm weather in summer. Activities include cycling and rollerblading along the river or hiking and canoeing or rafting around one of Quebec's many rivers. More festivals include the International Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival, the Nuits d'Afrique Festival of African Culture, the Dragon Boat Festival the International Fireworks Competition and the World Film Festival.

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