Subject: Montreal, My Home Town!

Here's an article I was asked to write for a group of Seniors planning a visit to Montreal in July 2006. I thought that it might be of interest to everyone in this group.


Montreal, My Home Town!

Born in Montreal, I have lived here there all my life. In my travels around our great country I have come to appreciate it more and more despite the politics of the day.

If I was a 'first-time visitor' to Montreal, I would like to see and do the following things.

Mount Royal Mountain - - The mountain is a 'walkers paradise'. Accessible from all sides, there is a bus route #11 running from Park Ave on the eastern side to Cote des Neiges on the western side. There is an easy access for walkers at Pine avenue and Peel street after a brisk walk up the hill from Park avenue on Pine avenue or up the steep hill from Sherbrooke st on Peel. A road encircles the mountain rising gradually from the low point near Park avenue and Mount Royal street to the summit and the Chalet with views overlooking the city, the river, and the south shore.

The Underground City - For those wishing to remain indoors in all weather, the pathways connect seven shopping centres with the train station, the south-shore bus station, 6 Metro (subway) stations, 4 hotels, and the Bell Centre, our hockey arena. You can enter the complex at many points, some as far north as Sherbrooke street, and travel through it to Old Montreal on St Jacques street.

The Old Port of Montreal - and These two websites are both very good, providing much information of sights to see and things to do within the boundaries of the area. There are boat tours leaving from the Jacques-Cartier Pier - which explore the river from the rapids to the St Lawrence Islands opposite the end on Montreal Island. There is also an electric-powered boat tour of the old port by

Our Metro (subway) system - - Running on rubber-tired wheels, the trains connect many areas of the city. Each station is different, some with lighted glass murals on the walls. Once in the system, you can take all three routes for just one ticket provided you don't exit a station between trains. The station in Longueuil on the south shore is the only exception to this rule since the ticket booth is at track-side.

The cash fare is currently (2005) $2.50 (1.25 for seniors 65 and over with ID) A strip of 6 tickets costs $11.25 ($5.75 for seniors 65 and older) A Tourist Card is also available for 1 day at $8.00 and a 3-day pass is $16.00 for unlimited travel on the buses and subway.

The Olympic Stadium - - Completed in May 1976, the stadium saw the Olympics in July that year. There is an observatory at the top of the tower accessable by an elevator running up the length of it. From there, the views of the city are excellent.

The Casino - - There is a Casino shuttle bus #167 running every 15-20 minutes from the Jean'Drapeau metro station on the island. The Metro to the Island starts at the Berri-UQAM metro station. Overnight, there are buses running from the Berri-UQAM metro station at 1:10am, 2:30am, and 4am and Atwater metro station at 1:45am, 3:10am, and 4:45am. Taxi service is also available as are parking lots for private cars.

La Ronde - - This is a Summer Amusement Park within Jean Drapeau Park on the island in the centre of the river. Filled with over 40 rides and attractions, this is also the site of the International Fireworks competition each year. It is accessible by the Metro from Berri-UQAM station. Bus #167 takes you from the Jean-Drapeau station on the island to the La Ronde site. You can also get there by taxi or private car.

Museums - There are many museums within the city and its surroundings.

Pointe-a-Calliere, Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History - Redpath Mueum, McGill University - The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - McCord Museum of Canadian History - Canadian Centre for Architecture - Centre d'histoire de Montreal - Chateau Dufresne Art Museum - Chateau Ramezay Museum - Stewart Museum at the Fort, Ile Ste-helene -

Churches - 4 large churches, cathedrals and basilicas, should be on your 'to see' list.

Christ Church Anglican Cathedral - - A shopping centre, built in 1987, lies beneath it while services continued above the noise of construction.

St Joseph's Oratory - - Started by Brother Andre as a small chapel in 1904 and later enlarged, , a church the Crypt, seating 1000 was built in 1917. In 1924, the construction of the Basilica began to be finally completed in 1967. Facing northwest on Westmount mountain, there are 283 steps up to the portico. A shuttle bus carries those who wish to avoid the steps up to the portico.

Notre Dame Basilica - - In Old Montreal, this church was first built in 1672. The present basilica was completed in 1830. A Chapel, behind the altar, was added in 1888 to be used for weddings and christenings. After a disastrous fire in 1978, it was completely rebuilt.

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral - (in French only) - Started at its present location in 1870, it wasn't completed intil 1894. It is a scaled-down version of St Peters basilica in Rome.

Universities - Montreal is home to four, two English and two French. McGill - - In 1813, James McGill, a Scottish immigrant who prospered in Montreal, bequeathed his 46 acre estate and 10,000 pounds to found the university. Inaugurated in 1829 in Burnside Place, the first university buildings were constructed in 1843.

Concordia - - This university originated as two separate schools - Loyola College, founded in 1848 as a French Jesuit school, and Sir George Williams University which started as evening classes at the YMCA back in 1873, taking the name of the founder, Sir George, in 1926. In 1974 both schools merged to become Concordia.

The University of Montreal - - This French speaking university first opened its doors in 1878 with facilities in the Grande Seminaire de Montreal, the Chateau Ramezay, and at the Suplicans in old Montreal. In 1943, the university moved to its present location on the northwestern slope of Mount Royal.

The University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) - - Created in 1969 by the government of Quebec, it is the fusion of L'ecole des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, College Saite-marie and three schools.