Montreal is the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec, and the second largest city in the entire country. With hundreds of interesting attractions, it is no surprise that this city has been called ‘Canada’s Cultural Capital’. Each year, thousands of tourists go to Montreal to partake in some of its culture, and here is a list of the top ten must see destinations.
1. L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal
L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal (OSM), or the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, is often ranked as the number one tourist attraction in the city of Montreal. Housed in the state of the art Montreal Symphony House that recently opened in 2011, the history of this world renowned musical institution dates back to 1934. With a seating capacity of 1,900, visitors are sure to enjoy the OSM and be thoroughly entertained.
2. Montreal Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanique de Montreal)
This 190 acre collection of gardens and greenhouses dates back to 1931, and is one of the most important renowned botanical gardens in the world. Each garden has a theme and there are flowers and plants from all around the globe. In addition to being aesthetically beautiful, the Montreal Botanical Gardens also educates the public about horticulture, conducts research and preserves endangered plant species. Between November and April the outdoor gardens are not available, but the greenhouses are open year round.
3. Notre-Dame Basilica
Blasts of color, rare wood carvings and religious statues fill the inside of Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the most renowned and dramatic examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the world. This beautiful basilica is associated with the Roman Catholic denomination, and it was built between 1824 and 1829. The stained glass windows inside of the sanctuary tell the story of Montreal’s religious history.
4. Canadian Railway Museum
This is a great place to visit with children, but adults will also find it to be an interesting destination. The exhibits on display at this museum consist of over 190,000 items collected by the Canadian Railroad Historical Association, and they document the long and rich history of rail transportation in Canada. There are guided tours and educational activities geared toward all age groups, and the museums website (http://www.exporail.org/en/collections/our-collection/) offers visitors the convenience of planning their visit in advance.
5. Old Montreal (Vieux-Montreal)
This historic district is the oldest area in the city of Montreal, and some of its buildings date back to the 17th century. Tourists flock to Old Montreal to see such places as Bonsecours Market and well preserved colonial mansions like Chateau Ramezay. The oldest skyscraper in Canada, the New York Life Building, can also be found in this section of the city.
6. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts)
This museum, one of the most prominent in the world, welcomes almost 1 million visitors each year. Founded in 1860, it is made up of three pavilions which combined, feature art from around the world as well as that related to the province of Quebec’s history. In addition to being able to view artwork, the museum also sponsors films, lectures, courses and workshops.
7. Parc du Mont-Royal
This impressive area of green space was designed in 1876, and it continues to be a popular destination for both locals and visitors. Depending on the season, the park offers activities such as skating, cycling, tobogganing and paddle boating. There are also areas reserved for soccer, volleyball, baseball, tennis and soccer.
8. Parc Olympique
Constructed for the 1976 Olympic Games, Par Olympique was the subject of much frustration for many Montreal natives because it cost over $1.4 billion to build but was not completed until the 1980s. Despite its controversy, it is a popular tourist attraction and offers visitors the opportunity to view exhibitions and participate in many types of activities.
9. Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame
The Canadiens are one of the most celebrated and storied teams in the history of hockey. Sports lovers and fans of history will find a great deal of enjoyment at their Hall of Fame, which contains artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the team’s founding in 1909.
10. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal
The largest church in Canada, St. Joseph’s Oratory was completed in 1967 and can hold 10,000 people. It was named for St. Joseph, who was known to perform miracles, and it hosts over 2 million visitors each year, many of whom come looking for healing.