This post about Montreal local was made possible by the generosity of a blogger and a traveler Veronica May.. It does not reflect my views and I do not endorse the content.
Montreal is the second largest city in Canada after Toronto and largest in the province of Quebec.
The reason why I decided to visit this place was its recent nomination by UNESCO as a City of Design.
As an art and culture enthusiast, I packed my bag this summer for a visit to the city known as Canada’s Cultural Capital.
As a young girl traveling alone, I always book my accommodations in advance.
As it also offers additional discounts for students like me. In 2009, the city was named as the top North American city to host most number of international association events that include tourism, film, culture, food, design, technology, aerospace and much more.
In terms of education, the city is considered as the tenth best place in the world for a university student according to QS World University Rankings.
With so much associated with the city of Montreal, there is no reason for a frequent traveler like me who loves art, culture, design and food to not to visit such place.
If you are traveling to Montreal, be aware that the common language here is French. Moving from Toronto to Montreal, I was also amazed by the sudden change of official language from English to French.
Almost more than 65% of the population speaks French here with only a minority of 18% locals who speak English.
The Food in Montreal
Montreal is rich in its food culture and French Canadian heritage that develops a mix of foods that belongs to two different cultures.
For me, visiting a place is always an opportunity to explore the local food. In Montreal, the opportunity to explore something new and local is tremendous as you can find different dishes from two different cultures, and few that are a mix of French Canadian food.
You can find entirely different taste and cuisine at different parts of the city based on the concentration of English or French speaking population in the area.
First, one of the cheapest options to enjoy some tasty fresh food is a visit to the fresh-food public market. This is a great place to have breakfast or
Lunch at the start of your trip to the city’s popular tourist destinations. You can also carry some food for your travel.
One of the most favorite foods of the locals is smoked meat sandwiches and bagels. According to the locals, the food is derived from the culinary heritage of local Jewish population.
One of the great restaurants to enjoy smoked meat is Schwartz’s Deli and for Montreal bagels, visit St. Viateur’s restaurant.
You can find a number of top celebrities in pictures there eating in the restaurant, that says a lot about their popularity.
Where to go in Montreal?
There are lot of attractions for tourists in Montreal beside top restaurants and cafes.
For an art and culture student like me, a visit to L’Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal is must.
If you are looking for greenery and a visit to park, a good option is Montreal Botanical Gardens known among locals as Jardin Botanique de Montreal.
The park is one of the largest parks I ever visited with more than 20 thousand species of different plants.
For those who have more interest in culture and heritage, a visit to famous Notre-Dame Basilicia is must.
This is Montreal’s oldest Catholic Church that was built in 1656. The interior and architecture of the church is mesmerizing especially the work of stained glass that provides an educational insight of the city’s history.
Another good historical place to visit is St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal. It is known as the largest shrine in the world that is dedicated to St. Joseph.
As I didn’t missed a chance to visit any place related to art and culture, a visit to the Montreal Museum Fine Arts was also a pleasant experience. The museum is known as Musee des Beaux-Arts among French speaking locals.
Some other top places to watch and visit are Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Place de Arts, Exporail (The Canadian Railway Museum), St. Patrick’s Basilica, Cathedral of Marie-Reine-du-Monde, Lachine Canal and Pointe-a-Calliere museum.
As a university student myself, I also visited Canada’s oldest university and one of the largest in North America, the McGill University.
The building is home to more than 30 thousand students and is also a place of interest for people looking for unique architectural designs.
If you are looking for adventure and walk in nature, moving away from the city buildings, a visit to neighboring Laurentian Mountains can make you feel relaxed.
There is not a long drive to the mountains that are popular for skiing. If you are visiting the place in winter, you can also enjoy some Ice skating here.
All in all, Montreal offers excellent sights, world class museums, heritage buildings with unique design and architecture, and above all, excellent food.
If you are looking for a good place to visit in entire North America, Montreal should be at top of your list.