Montreal officially Montréal
Written both in Canadian English and French is the most populous municipality in Quebec and 2nd-most populous in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary,” it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city, and a few much smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which is Île Bizard. It has a distinct four-season continental climate with warm to hot summers and cold snowy winters.
The Casino de Montréal
Is a 24/7 extravaganza of gambling, food, and drink, freshly renovated in 2013. Built inside the pavilions of France and Quebec from Expo 67 on man-made Île Notre-Dame in the midst of the mighty St. Lawrence River, it’s a multi-level experience of roaring, tinkling fun. Cards, dice, slot machines, keno, roulette. Only for people aged 18 and over. Bring money.
Many people come to Montreal to shop in its wide range of international boutiques. Possibly the most famous shopping area in Montreal is the Underground City, waymarked by its official name RÉSO (from the French réseau, meaning network). Constantly growing, the “city” – which links many major buildings and multi-level shopping malls in the downtown area – is a shopper’s paradise in any season.
Shown above is a reflection of Place Ville-Marie, whose underground mall was one of the initial segments of the Underground City. The building, designed by Henry N. Cobb and I.M. Pei design, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012.
The major portion of the underground city is reached via Peel and McGill metro stations on the green line, which links via passageways to Bonaventure station on the orange line. East of McGill station is another axis from Place-des-Arts metro down through Complexe Desjardins and beyond.
Safe and sheltered from the elements, the underground city offers a huge range of goods and services, food courts, cinemas, and entertainment, as well as a handy way to get from place to place without weather or traffic problems.
On top of Mount Royal is an excellent goal for an urban walk. It’s part of Mount Royal Park, laid out long ago by Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted who was best known for landscaping New York’s Central Park. Mount Royal is an attraction in Montreal in all seasons. Visiting for summertime, it’s a cool airy refuge from the heat of the city. In autumn the changing colors of the trees are a joy. By winter time there’s a range of sports from cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to skating and tobogganing or inner-tubing down the slopes.
The Olympic Stadium
Built for Montreal’s 1976 Summer Olympics and used today for occasional sports events and concerts. An elevator ascends the world’s tallest inclined tower to a lookout on top. The stadium is one of Montreal’s most curious pieces of architecture. The stadium is accompanied by the Biodome. Originally used for cycle racing during the 1976 games, now a kind of indoor zoo shown in the photo at left above. The stadium dominates an area now known as Espace pour la vie. This space which includes the Botanical Garden best visited in the summertime. With large greenhouses worth a visit any time of year is the Insectarium. The Planetarium and the Biodome tickets bought to enjoy more than one of these installations during a single visit.