The Greatest Things to See on Your Trip to Montreal

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.

Montreal

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.

Montreal Botanical Gardens
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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.

Notre-Dame Basilica Montreal

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.

Canada Railway Museum

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.

Old Montreal
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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.

Montreal 2
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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.

Parc du Mont-Royal

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.

Parc D'Olympique
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

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.

Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame
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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.

Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal
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Canada’s 10 Most Scenic Road Trips

Canada has some of the most beautiful roadways in the world. Grab your car keys, rent an RV or hop on a motorcycle to explore the beautiful scenery of the Canadian wilderness, the cities, and the coastline. Here are the top ten scenic road trips in Canada.

1. Pelee Island, Ontario

A road trip that will have you mesmerized is a visit to Pelee Island, Ontario. Located on the southern tip of Canada, it’s the perfect place for nature lovers to congregate and enjoy the beauty of the wildlife of the area. As the seasons change, the wildlife fluctuates and the island plays host to different types of birds and butterflies.

Canada Road Trips - Pelee Island

2. Chatham-Kent Corridor

You may have never heard of the Chatham-Kent Corridor, but you’ll soon fall in love with this scenic region. Comprised of more than twenty-three small towns along the coastlines of the Thames River, Lake St. Clair and Lake Eerie, it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular places for cruisers and motorcyclists alike to visit. Highway 3 extends all the way down the multiple lake shorelines, weaving through the many historical sights in the area, such as the route for the famous historical Underground Railroad and the pathways used by British loyalists during the War of 1812.

Canada Road Trips 2

3. Edmonton

Edmonton is probably one of the better-known scenic spots in Canada, but that doesn’t mean it’s overrated. Far from it! Edmonton offers some of the most stunning natural beauty in the country. There are two UNESCO World Heritage Parks to visit in Edmonton, as well as Jasper National Park and the National Park from Calgary. You can glimpse special sneak peeks of glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, mountains, forests, wildlife and so much more. Just a few hours away, you can visit the urban landscaping of the city, reached after a drive across a wide, open highway through golden prairie lands.

Canada Road Trips 3

4. Sea to Sky Highway (Squamish to Whistler, British Columbia)

Take a drive from Vancouver to Whistler and experience the beauty of the mountainous coastline of British Columbia. Make sure you stop by the many rest stops and turnouts along the road. Many of them hide true tourist treasures, such as the Tantalus Range Lookout, Shannon Falls and Watershed Grill.

Canada Road Trips 4

5. Kelowna, British Columbia

Looking for something outside the norm? Kelowna is known for its many wineries and upscale cuisines. A road trip through this flavorful countryside might be just what you’ve been waiting for. Visit Arlo’s Honey Farm, the Tantalus Vineyards, the famed Wild Apple Restaurant, the Okanagen Lavender and Herb Farm, and so much more!

Canada Road Trips 5

6. Stratford, Ontario

Entertainment is the name of the game in Stratford, Ontario. If you’re looking for a road trip with a little pizazz, check out the Stratford Summer Music Festival and the local theatre festival held in the city every year.

Canada Road Trip 6

7. Eastern Townships, Quebec

Seclusion, nature, and quaint French-style bed and breakfasts await travelers of the Easter Townships route. Gourmet restaurants, isolated wineries, even a Benedictine monastery can be found in this peaceful community.

Canada Road Trips 7

8. Calgary to Lake Louise

It will take you a few hours to travel the highway that winds from Calgary to Lake Louise, but there are plenty of places to stop and rest. The stunning views of the Columbia Ice fields and Sulphur Mountain make it all worth it.

Canada Road Trip 8

9. The Cabot Trail

If golfing, hiking, kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, camping or horseback riding sound appealing to you, check out the Cabot Trail. It winds along Cape Breton Island, giving visitors access to some of Canada’s most diverse coastline.

Canada Road Trip 9

10. Vancouver to Tofino

This is where you’ll find the famous Pacific Rim Highway. Everything from cold mountains to temperate rainforests can be found here. A surfing hotspot along the highway is Ucluelet, and don’t forget to visit the Coombs Country Market or Cathedral Grove.

Canada Road Trip 10

Top 10 Cities to See in Canada

Canada is a beautiful country full of picturesque natural settings from the sea, magnificent mountains, and charming lakes. Along with the loveliness of nature, Canada also boasts many of the world’s most gorgeous cities:

1. Toronto, Ontario

One of the most eclectic cities in all of Canada, Toronto is full of both the bohemian and the trendy. The city has many beautiful valleys full of gardens and parks and a lively waterfront with a view of the many quaint archipelagos dotting the lake. The city also boasts many impressive structures including the Flatiron Building, the Ontario Legislature, as well as the Royal Ontario Museum.

CN Tower Toronto

2. Halifax, Nova Scotia 

Nova Scotia is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in all of Canada. Halifax is not only known for its truly impressive number of bars, pubs, live music venues, and restaurants but also for it perfect gardens and beaches. Along with the natural beauty of Nova Scotia, Halifax also offers numerous attractions including the boutiques of Granville Mall and the military re-enactments at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.

Halifax Nova Scotia

3. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

This beautiful area, full of leafy trees, is located in the gorgeous South Saskatchewan River Valley. Saskatoon is particularly picturesque in the fall when the seasons change and the leaves turn orange. The city is full of parks and gardens, a lovely oasis of trees amid an otherwise treeless prairie landscape.

Saskatoon Saskatchewan

4. Victoria, BC

The retirement capital of Canada, the city lures in retirees for a reason – its beauty. Located near the mountains surrounding the Juan de Fuca Strait, the majesty of its surroundings is wonderfully paired with the mild climate to make the spot a must-see destination for any tourist who enjoys gardens and parks. Famous sites include the Fairmont Empress hotel and the B.C. Legislature.

Victoria, BC

5. Montreal, Quebec

Surrounded by the St. Lawrence River, Montreal offers countless attractions including quaint Old Montreal as well as Mont Royal, the peak for which the city was named. Tourists will be held captive by the glorious vistas of both mountain and beach.

Montreal Quebec

6. Kelowna, BC

For those looking for a Canadian version of California, Kelowna is the the spot. Known for its beaches and its vineyards, the city also has ski slopes not far away. Essentially, everything that one would want to do is within a stone’s throw making it perfect for any tourist.

Kelowna BC

7. Ottawa, Ontario

Certainly the backdrop for some of Canada’s most impressive monuments, Ottawa boasts numerous attractions including the Museum of Civilization, Parliament Hill, the War Museum, and the National Gallery. The famous Byward market is full of clubs and shops and across the river in Gatineau lies Gatineau Park as well as the popular Casino du Lac-Leamy.

Ottawa, Ontario

8. St. John’s, Newfoundland 

Located about as far east in Canada as it is possible to get, St. John’s has a dramatic scenery consisting of several ponds and lakes as well as a breathtaking natural harbor. Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of St. John’s is the number of bars the city boasts. In fact, George Street has the largest concentration of bars per square foot in all of North America. St. John’s is also known for it’s many well known structures including the Battery neighborhood of brightly colored homes, Cabot Tower, as well as Newfoundland Museum, Art Gallery, and Provincial Archives.

St. John's Newfoundland

9. Quebec City, Quebec

Largely a tourist town, Quebec City is a chip off the old French block. Full of European flair, the city is famous for the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac hotel, the Citadelle, and the National Assembly. Founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608, Quebec City is perfect for any tourist who wants to see a piece of history or perhaps go cycling, attend a rock concert, or simply stroll through the beautiful streets and gardens.

Quebec City, Quebec

10. Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, perhaps one of the most visited cities in all of Canada, is renowned throughout the world as being one of the best cities both to live in as well as visit. The city has both the ocean as well as snow capped peaks making it the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys a day at the slopes as much as a day at the beach.

Vancouver, BC

Free and Fun Ways to Discover Toronto

Travel can be expensive! That’s why if you get the travel bug and venture to a major metropolis like Toronto, Ontario in Canada, you can find your wallet empty pretty quickly.

However, the thing to remember about large cities is that there are always free or cheap activities that offer a more authentic tourist experience. So do as the locals do and explore Toronto via these 10 free and fun ways…

1. Explore Kensington Market

Kensington Market is not technically a market. However, this artsy Chinatown neighborhood is known for its string of funky vintage shops, retro furniture stores, and cheap eats!

Kensington Market

2. Visit the Distillery District

Toronto’s historic Distillery District is an easy-strolling, pedestrian-only strip that offers a great excuse to take in the Victorian Industrial Architecture if you’re close to downtown. You’ll notice the area is completely free of any franchise or chain stores here—all are small mom and pop shops and galleries.

Distillery District

3. Walk in Her Shoes

The famous Bata Shoe Museum offers a pay-what-you-can entrance fee each Thursday evening between 5 and 8 pm.

Bata Shoe Museum

4. Window Shop Bloor-Yorkville

If you’re eager to see how the other half live, you can get a taste in the posh neighborhood known as Bloor-Yorkville (home to the Toronto International Film Festival). The upscale dinning and brand name clothing that most of us can barely afford is set against a quaint backdrop of Victorian houses, restaurants, boutique shops, and art galleries.

Bloor-Yorkville

5. Sample the St. Lawrence Market

The historic food and antique market in Toronto’s downtown core has been called one of the world’s best markets. It’s a great place to start out your day if you’re looking for a cheap coffee and breakfast combo, plus you can hang around for the samples from local and craft artisans and get lunch for free to boot!

St. Lawrence Market

6. Good Ol’ Riverdale Farm

Riverdale Farm is a literal farm within the sprawling city. A vast 7 acres of green space right in the downtown core—including moo cows, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, and chickens, which the farm staff care for daily. You can witness life on the farm for free, and even snag some homemade jam or a pie in the Riverdale farm house store.

Riverdale Farm

7. Hit the Harbourfront Boardwalk

Toronto Harbourfront Centre, on the shores of Lake Ontario, offers a wide 10-acre spot for free relaxing in a park, walking the boardwalk, catching a free outdoor show or exhibit, or even strapping on your ice skates during the winter months.

ValeStock / Shutterstock.com

8. Escape to the Beaches

The Beaches, located in Toronto’s east end, offers waterfront galore for strolling, shopping, eating, and even catching the totally free annual fireworks extravaganza on Canada Day long weekend and the Blues Festival at the end of May.

The Beaches

9. Catch a Free Opera

The Canadian Opera Company offers a summer series of free afternoon performances in various music genres in their airy, outdoor amphitheatre—ideal for a romantic picnic!

Canadian Opera Company

10. Rock Out at Yonge-Dundas Square

Yonge-Dundas Square offers a complete calendar of free outdoor movies, concerts, and cultural events throughout the year.

Yonge-Dundas Square