383 Rue de la Commune E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H2, Canada
We are currently walking along the St. Lawrence River and the Old Montreal Seaport. The St. Lawrence River is a major waterway in North America, flowing approximately 1,197 kilometers (744 miles) northeast from Lake Ontario through the Gulf of St. Lawrence into the Atlantic Ocean. It serves as a vital shipping route and connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, making it a significant trade corridor for both Canada and the United States.
The river has a rich history and has played a crucial role in the exploration, colonization, and economic development of the region. It was initially discovered by French explorer Jacques Cartier in the 16th century, who sailed up the river and claimed the area for France. The bridge in his name can be seen by looking over your shoulder. The French established settlements along its banks, including the city of Montreal, which became an important fur trading post and later a major industrial and cultural hub.
Old Montreal Seaport, also known as the Old Port of Montreal, is a historic district located along the St. Lawrence River here in Montreal. It represents the city's earliest days and preserves the architectural and cultural heritage of the region. The Old Port covers an area of about 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) and is characterized by its cobblestone streets, charming buildings, and a vibrant waterfront.
The Old Montreal Seaport is a popular tourist destination, offering a mix of historical sites, recreational activities, dining, and entertainment options. Visitors can explore attractions such as the Bonsecours Market, a 19th-century public market building now hosting shops and restaurants, the Montreal Science Centre, which features interactive exhibits and an IMAX theater, and the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, dedicated to the history and archaeology of Montreal.
The waterfront area of the Old Port offers a variety of recreational opportunities. There are parks, bike paths, and pedestrian promenades where people can enjoy scenic views of the St. Lawrence River. The Clock Tower, a prominent landmark, provides panoramic views of the city and the river from its observation deck.
The Old Montreal Seaport also serves as a marina, accommodating pleasure boats and offering boat tours and cruises along the St. Lawrence River. During the summer months, the area hosts various festivals, concerts, and cultural events that attract both locals and tourists.
325 Rue de la Commune E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H2, Canada
Let’s talk about the architecture of the buildings in Old Montreal. The area is renowned for its well-preserved historic architecture, which reflects a mix of styles influenced by French, British, and North American design.
One prominent architectural style found in Old Montreal is the French colonial style. This style is characterized by stone or brick facades, pitched roofs, and symmetrical layouts. Buildings often feature large windows and decorative elements such as wrought iron balconies and ornate cornices.
The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (which we will be seeing soon), located in the heart of Old Montreal, is a prime example of French Gothic Revival architecture with its dramatic exterior and intricate interior details.
Another architectural style present in the area is the British Georgian style. Buildings in this style are characterized by their brick facades, rectangular shapes, and classical elements such as columns and pediments. These structures typically have a more understated elegance compared to the French colonial buildings. The Customs House, now home to the Pointe-à-Callière Museum, showcases Georgian architecture.
There are also examples of Victorian architecture in Old Montreal, particularly in some commercial and residential buildings. Victorian-era structures often feature ornate detailing, colorful facades, and a variety of architectural influences from different periods and regions.
Overall, the architecture of Old Montreal is a captivating blend of different styles, reflecting the city's rich history and cultural heritage. The well-preserved buildings contribute to the area's charm and provide a glimpse into the past as visitors explore the streets and alleys of this historic district.
Hang a right on any upcoming side street and we will be on the main drag of Old Montreal, Rue Saint-Paul.
140 Rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1G6, Canada
By now you’ve probably noticed your nose filled with delicious smells and scents. Let’s tell you about that deliciousness that this town is constantly serving up.
Montreal is renowned for its vibrant food scene and diverse culinary offerings. The city's cuisine is influenced by various cultural traditions, including French, British, Italian, Jewish, and Caribbean, among others. Here are some dishes that are considered authentic to Montreal:
Let's start with what is perceived as one of the iconic Canadian delicacies, poutine. A beloved Canadian dish that originated in Quebec, poutine has become a staple in Montreal. It consists of crispy French fries topped with cheese curds and smothered in rich gravy. Poutine variations may include additional toppings like smoked meat, bacon, or vegetables.
Montreal-style bagels are a unique variation of this beloved bread product. They are smaller, denser, sweeter, and often baked in a wood-fired oven. They are typically hand-rolled, boiled in honey water, and then baked to perfection. Sesame seeds or poppy seeds are commonly sprinkled on top, or you can get an everything bagel which is called “all dressed up.” St. Viateur is perhaps the most famous of all Montreal Bagel shops and tourists and locals flock to its location in the Mile End District of Montreal.
Another specialty dish is Tourtière, a traditional French-Canadian meat pie that is popular in Montreal during the holiday season. It features a flaky pastry crust filled with a savory mixture of ground meat (often a combination of pork, veal, and beef) along with spices and herbs.
Feel like swimming upstream? Influenced by the city's Jewish community, Montreal-style smoked salmon is cured with a blend of spices, including black pepper and coriander. The salmon is then cold-smoked, resulting in a distinctive flavor and texture. It is commonly served on bagels with cream cheese.
One of Montreal's most famous culinary exports, the smoked meat sandwich features thinly sliced, flavorful smoked beef brisket piled high on rye bread. It is typically served with mustard and accompanied by pickles. Schwartz Deli in the Mile End District is perhaps the most famous of these smoked meats shops.
Ok but what about those of us with a sweet tooth? As Canada is known for its maple syrup production, Montreal offers a variety of sweet treats made with this delicious ingredient. Maple syrup pies, maple taffy (syrup poured onto snow and rolled onto sticks), and maple sugar candies are just a few examples.
Another sweet treat is butter tarts. While butter tarts are not exclusive to Montreal, they are a popular pastry in the city. These individual-sized sweet tarts are made with a rich filling consisting of butter, sugar, and eggs, often with the addition of raisins or pecans.
And oh yea- don’t forget about all the croissants!
These are just a few examples of the diverse and delicious dishes you can find in Old Montreal and beyond its limits. The city's culinary scene is constantly evolving and offers a wide range of options to satisfy all tastes and preferences. From classic French-inspired cuisine to international fusion dishes, Montreal is a food lover's paradise.
101 Rue Saint-Paul O, Montréal, QC H2Y 1Z5, Canada
Rue Saint-Paul is the main street in Old Montreal and a hub for shopping, and we just happen to be strolling down it now! It features a mix of high-end boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and souvenir stores. Here, you can find unique fashion pieces, locally crafted jewelry, artwork, home decor items, and more.
Located at the eastern end of Rue Saint-Paul, the Bonsecours Market is a must-visit shopping destination. Housed in a stunning historic building, the market hosts various local boutiques and artisans offering a wide range of products, including fashion, accessories, gourmet food, and handmade crafts.
We will be passing Place Jacques-Cartier momentarily, a lively square in Old Montreal known for its outdoor terraces and street performers. The square is lined with shops selling clothing, souvenirs, artwork, and Quebec-made products. It's a great place to browse and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.
As we make our way down Rue Saint-Paul, we will encounter numerous art galleries showcasing a variety of styles and mediums. These galleries offer a chance to explore and purchase unique artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and photography, created by both local and international artists.
We all love a good souvenir shop, right? Old Montreal has plenty of souvenir shops where you can find gifts and mementos to remember your visit. These shops offer a wide selection of Quebec-themed merchandise, such as maple syrup products, clothing with Canadian symbols, postcards, and other trinkets.
You’ve probably already noticed many street vendors and doorstep musicians. In addition to permanent shops, you may come across local markets and street vendors offering unique products and handmade crafts. Keep an eye out for these temporary setups, especially during the warmer months.
173 Pl. d'Youville, Montréal, QC H2Y 2B2, Canada
The Pointe-à-Callière Museum, also known as the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History, is located here in Old Montreal. Its located at the corner of Place d/Youville and Francois xavier street. It is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the archaeological heritage of Montreal and the surrounding region. The museum is situated on the actual site where Montreal was founded in 1642.
The museum offers a range of exhibits that provide insight into the history and development of Montreal from its earliest Indigenous settlements to modern times. Through archaeological artifacts, multimedia presentations, and interactive displays, visitors can explore the city's diverse past and learn about its cultural, social, and economic evolution.
One of the notable features of the museum is its archaeological site, where visitors can see the remains of the city's first settlement. The site includes original foundations, artifacts, and architectural remnants that offer a glimpse into Montreal's beginnings.
The museum's permanent exhibitions cover various themes, such as the First Nations' history and culture, the arrival of Europeans and the establishment of New France, the development of Montreal as a city, and the industrialization era. Temporary exhibitions are also held, focusing on specific aspects of archaeology, history, or cultural heritage.
The Pointe-à-Callière Museum is committed to making history accessible and engaging for visitors of all ages. It offers educational programs, guided tours, workshops, and interactive activities to enhance the learning experience.
In addition to its archaeological focus, the museum also hosts cultural events, concerts, lectures, and festivals throughout the year, providing a dynamic and enriching experience for visitors.
333 Rue Saint-Paul O, Montréal, QC H2Y 2A5, Canada
500 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal, QC H2Y 1X2, Canada
Hang a right onto Rue Saint-Jacques. Time to splurge a bit and indulge in one of the finest restaurants in Old Montreal.
Monarque is a classic French style restaurant offering everything from fresh Oysters on the half shell, shucked in front of you, to classic Steak pomme-frite. One thing you will notice is that your fries will always be served with a side of mayonnaise. If you want some ketchup, you’ll have to ask for it.
Right on the edge of Old Town, spanning the block between St-Jacques and Notre-Dame, Monarque is right around the corner from Victoria Square, ground zero for the city’s business elite and tourists. The building dates back to 1845, when it housed the Ottawa Hotel. The firm of Alain Carle Architecte worked wonders at dividing the restaurant’s 175 seats over three rooms, beginning with a magnificent bar area, with both bar and banquette seating.
Adding to the stylishness of it all are charcoal black, backlit cabinets in the center of the restaurant, in which vegetables and bread are displayed. There are large mirrors, celery-green chairs, wooden tabletops, groovy Simon Johns light fixtures, exposed brick and stone walls, plus a wall of wine bottles lined up in boxes over the bar. Perhaps the most eye appealing element is the 4,000-square-foot sparkling marble-tiled floor, adding an art-deco accent to the design.
Craft cocktails and an extensive wine list will get you started before you cleanse your palate for their delightful and playful dishes. How about Rabbit rillettes, Ontario burrata with raisins, and tuna tartare with foie gras mousse served with fans of beet slices, hazelnuts and pickled onions for an appetizer?
The short rib is tender and deeply flavored, with barley, caramelized onions and mustard seeds as supporting players. Rounding out some of their savory dishes is a filet of sea bass served with romano beans, chorizo and a spoonful of confit red pepper.
And don't even get me started on the dessert menu. Check it out for yourself and treat your taste buds!
Ok, lets keep moving down Rue Saint-Jacques.
Vieux Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice, 130 R. Notre Dame O, Montréal, QC H2Y, Canada
Among the most visited sites in Montreal is the Notre Dame Basilica. Throughout its existence, Notre Dame has played a crucial role in the religious and social life of Montreal. It has witnessed important events, including papal visits, state funerals, and notable religious ceremonies.
Let’s talk about the incredible architecture of the basilica. It is of predominantly Gothic Revival style, inspired by the great medieval cathedrals of Europe. The construction of the church was mainly done using gray limestone quarried from Montreal's nearby Mount Royal. The exterior features intricate stone carvings, pointed arches, and flying buttresses, characteristic of Gothic architecture.
The cathedral's facade is adorned with numerous sculptures, including statues of the Twelve Apostles, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the patron saints of Montreal. The central portal, known as the Portal of the Last Judgment, depicts scenes from the Bible and serves as the main entrance to the church.
Inside, the cathedral showcases stunning stained glass windows that depict various religious themes and events. The grand Casavant Frères pipe organ, installed in 1891, is renowned for its beautiful sound and craftsmanship. If you want to go inside it will cost $15 per person.
The history of Notre Dame Basilica of Montreal dates back to the early 19th century. The first stone of the church was laid in 1824, and the construction was completed in 1829. The original structure was a modest-sized church, designed by American architect James O'Donnell.
One of the notable events in the cathedral's history occurred in 1878 when Pope Leo XIII granted Notre Dame Cathedral the status of a basilica. This recognition acknowledged the cultural and historical significance of the church within the Catholic Church.
Tragedy struck Notre Dame Cathedral on December 8, 1978, when a devastating fire broke out, causing significant damage to the building. However, the community rallied together, and an extensive restoration project began immediately. The restoration aimed to preserve the cathedral's original architecture and restore the damaged elements.
Since its restoration, Notre Dame Cathedral continues to serve as an active place of worship, as well as a popular tourist attraction. Its historical and architectural significance has made it an important symbol of Montreal's heritage and a testament to the city's rich cultural and religious diversity.
11 Rue Notre Dame E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1B9, Canada
Continuing on Rue Notre Dame, we will be approaching Le Champ-de-Mars, a historic public square located in the heart of Old Montreal. It is one of the city's oldest public spaces and holds significant historical and cultural importance.
The square was established in the late 17th century as a military parade ground and training area for the French army. It was named after the famous military parade grounds in Paris, France, known as Champ de Mars. Over the years, Le Champ-de-Mars has served various purposes and witnessed significant events.
During the 19th century, the square was a venue for public gatherings, political rallies, and celebrations. It played a prominent role during the rebellions of 1837-1838, when political unrest and calls for reform were widespread in Lower Canada (now Quebec). Meetings and demonstrations were held at Le Champ-de-Mars, making it an important site for political activism and expression. It was a gathering place for citizens to witness important moments in Montreal's history.
Today, Le Champ-de-Mars continues to be a vibrant public space with a mix of greenery, walkways, and open areas. It provides a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets of Old Montreal and offers a place for locals and tourists to relax, socialize, and enjoy the surroundings.
The square is adjacent to notable landmarks, such as the Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) and the Palais de Justice (Courthouse), adding to its architectural and historical significance.
Le Champ-de-Mars is also often used as a venue for festivals, concerts, and cultural events, attracting visitors throughout the year. It is a popular spot for outdoor activities, picnics, and photography, with its beautiful views of nearby buildings and the Old Port of Montreal.
303 Rue Gosford, Montréal, QC H2Y 3Y8, Canada
Château Ramezay - Historic Site and Museum of Montréal is a prominent historical landmark and museum located in Old Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is recognized as one of the city's oldest private residences and showcases the rich history and heritage of Montreal. You’ll notice its located right across the street from where you are now at Le Champ De Mars.
The Château Ramezay was built in 1705 as the residence of Claude de Ramezay, who was the governor of Montreal at the time. The building served as the headquarters for several notable figures throughout its history, including the French and British governors, the American revolutionary Benjamin Franklin, and the British colonial governors.
Today, the Château Ramezay operates as a museum that offers visitors a glimpse into Montreal's past through its extensive collection of artifacts, exhibits, and historical interpretations. The museum's permanent displays cover various aspects of Montreal's history, including the French colonial era, the British conquest, and the development of the city.
Visitors can explore the rooms inside, which have been restored to reflect different time periods and feature period furnishings and artwork. The exhibits present a comprehensive narrative of Montreal's cultural, social, and political evolution, highlighting significant events, influential personalities, and the daily life of its inhabitants.
The museum's collections include a wide range of artifacts, such as archaeological finds, maps, documents, textiles, and artwork. These items provide insights into the diverse cultural heritage of Montreal and its importance as a key trading center and cultural hub throughout history.
408 Rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC H2Y 1H4, Canada
Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, also known as the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel or the Sailors' Church, is a historic church located in the heart of Old Montreal. It is one of the oldest churches in the city and holds great cultural and historical significance.
The chapel dates back to the late 17th century when the original structure was built in 1657. Over the years, it has undergone several renovations and expansions, with the current building dating back to 1771. The chapel is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is a place of worship for Catholics in Montreal.
The exterior of the building features a blend of architectural styles. The facade displays a neoclassical design, characterized by symmetry, columns, and a pediment. It is adorned with statues, including one of the Virgin Mary atop the church spire, which has become an iconic symbol of the city.
One of the notable features of the chapel is its rooftop terrace, known as the Sailor's Lookout. It offers panoramic views of the Old Port of Montreal, the St. Lawrence River, and the surrounding area. This rooftop vantage point has a historical connection to sailors who would visit the chapel to seek the Virgin Mary's protection before their voyages.
Inside the chapel, visitors can admire the beautiful religious artwork and sculptures. The centerpiece is the statue of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, also known as the "Lady of the Harbour." This statue is believed to have miraculous powers and has been a symbol of hope and protection for sailors and the local community for centuries.
The chapel also houses a small museum known as the Marguerite Bourgeoys Museum. It explores the life and work of Marguerite Bourgeoys, the founder of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, a religious congregation involved in education and social services. The museum showcases artifacts, historical documents, and exhibits that provide insights into the history of the church and the contributions of Marguerite Bourgeoys to Montreal's development.
Ok that about wraps it up for this tour of Old Montreal. We hope you have enjoyed your time with us. Once again my name is Dave and it was a pleasure taking you around. Have a wonderful day.