A world of culture beckons just outside of our downtown Montreal hotel.
From one of the most historic and beloved hotels near Old Montreal and Plateau Mont Royal, guests of the Ritz-Carlton Montreal will discover that the city’s most iconic attractions — including the Biodome, Montreal Old Port, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Montreal Botanical Garden, Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal and Rue Saint Denis shopping — are all within easy reach of our ideal downtown location.
The McCord Museum is home to one of the largest historical collections in North America (more than 1.4 million artefacts), consisting of First Peoples objects, costumes and textiles, photographs, decorative and visual artworks, and textual archives. It produces exciting exhibitions that engage visitors by offering them a contemporary look at the world.
The Montréal Botanical Garden, one of the city’s jewels, is recognized as one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens. It offers a colourful program of events, exhibitions and activities all year long. With its collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, Frédéric Back Tree House, and more than 20 thematic gardens spread out over 75 hectares, it’s also a perfect place to enjoy fresh air and natural beauty. Located just minutes from downtown Montréal, right near the Biodôme and Olympic Park, the Montréal Botanical Garden is a veritable living museum of plants from the four corners of the globe. Associated with the Montréal Botanical Garden, the Insectarium welcomes you to discover the world of insects. Have a nice visit!
Founded in 1860 as the Art Association of Montreal by a group of Montreal art collectors and patrons, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) was one of the first museums in North America to build up an encyclopedic collection worthy of the name. It now numbers over 41,000 works from Antiquity to today, making it unique in Canada. It comprises paintings, sculptures, graphic arts, photographs and decorative art objects displayed in four pavilions: the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion (international art), the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion (world cultures), the Liliane and David M. Stewart Pavilion (decorative arts and design) and the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion (Quebec and Canadian art). The latter, which was inaugurated in September 2011, includes a 444-seat concert hall – Bourgie Hall – featuring an important group of Tiffany stained glass windows.
An oasis in the heart of the city, the Montréal Biodôme recreates some of the most beautiful ecosystems of the Americas: the lush and humid Tropical Rainforest, warm even in the depths of a Montréal winter; the Laurentian Maple Forest, changing with the seasons; the Gulf of St. Lawrence;and the Subpolar Regions of the Americas: Labrador Coast and Sub-Antarctic Islands. The Biodôme, whose name means “house of life,” shows visitors the “true nature” of the Americas, by offering up their loveliest and most amazing ecosystems. When the Biodôme opened in 1992, its “ecosystem” concept was a world first. Twenty years later, this systemic approach still has no equal in the faithful and complex way in which it represents the natural environment (its “rocks,” climates, lighting, etc.) and how both the animal species themselves and the animal and plant species interact. Our commitment to protecting the environment. The Biodôme, just like the other Space for Life institutions (the Botanical Garden, Insectarium and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium), aims to raise individual and collective awareness about the need to get involved in protecting our natural heritage. It carries out its mission through educational, conservation, research and outreach efforts.
The downtown core is the very heart of the city that pulsates with the vibrant energy of its diverse inhabitants.
Safely nestled between the river and the mountain, it is where students, professionals, artists, fashionistas, tourists all converge for the daily 9 to 5. Life’s amazing moments, special occasions, for shopping, going out, sight-seeing and dancing.
Soaring skyscrapers and heritage buildings intermingle with quaint boutiques in the compact and accessible downtown.
Above ground, Sainte-Catherine Street buzzes with shoppers and the sophisticated Sherbrooke Street boasts high-end boutiques and world-class cultural institutions such as the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts and the McCord Museum. An urban space designed with pedestrian quality of life in mind, the newly-developed Quartier international is located just beside Chinatown and is home to the Palais de congrès and Place Jean-Paul Riopelle, which features the sculpture/fountain, La Joute. A magnificent work that makes all who pass by stop, its kinetic water sequence and dramatic ring of fire make for a fascinating public place.
Directly below the city, the Underground Pedestrian Network links boutiques, restaurants, universities, office buildings and city attractions with 33 kilometres of passageways used by over 500,000 people daily.
May 10 to 16, 2016
An urban and trendy introduction to cocktail culture.
This bastion of the Montréal Italian community since the 19th century has its own special feel; easy-going meets jet set in this unique district where backyards give way to tomato plants and grape vines, soccer is a way of life and the air perfumed with the aroma of mouth-watering pasta sauce.
Montréalers flock to the neighbourhood for the adjacent Jean-Talon Market and its incredible assortment of anything and everything ethnic, fresh and flavorful.
Montréal Symphony Orchestra
The Maison symphonique de Montréal is the new home of the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, a must do when you come to the city. Get comfortably seated and let the show begin!
Vieux-Montréal is one of the most beautiful, well-preserved vibrant "old towns" this side of Europe. This is a key component in what makes Montréal, "the truly different North American city". A diverse and tolerant-to-all world city, Montréal is safe, cultural, cosmopolitan and proud of its French legacy, especially its language. A little slice of Europe within North America” is often how travelers describe Montréal, and nowhere is this Euro-flair more apparent than in the city’s most historic district. Old Montreal is located on the banks of the massive St. Lawrence River and is characterized by its quaint cobblestone streets and enchanting 19th century architecture.
Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount-Royal is the largest shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph in the world. You must come visit our treasures like the votive chapel containing 10,000 lights and votive candles, our marvelous museum with a permanent exhibit of hundreds of creches from around the world, the Chapel of Brother Andre built in 1904, the heart of Brother Andre, our spectacular gardens containing the Way of Cross, the Crypt Church and the majestic Basilica.
Saint-Laurent Boulevard, or “The Main”, geographically divides the island of Montreal est-west. This major street has played a prominent role in Montreal’s history: immigrants and merchants who set up show here were instrumental in contributing to the city’s expansion and vitality.
Jean Talon Market
It is a European farm market with a few permanent stands for fully-cooked food or take out. Get there early to avoid the crowds and bring your appetite, as there is plenty to try and taste, including freebies. The best way to get there is on the orange metro line. Get off at the Jean-Talon metro station, then walk two or so blocks to the west and look for signs that say 'Marché Jean-Talon'. Or just follow the locals with their empty pull carts. Bring cash, as most vendors don't accept credit cards, unless it's a permanent store front.
Blue Metropolis Festival
April 11 to 17, 2016
A tailor-made festival for lovers of words, celebrating the diversity of literary genres.
It's not just about the race. It's about a whole city coming alive with excitement! People arriving to Montréal from every part of the globe with one common objective - to get the most out of their 72 hours! Grand Prix Week with the Jet Set in Montréal is where it all begins. GrandPrixMontréal.com is the one-stop directory for tourists or locals planning to spend the F1 Grand Prix week in Montréal. It is the only of its kind for Montréal's grand prix. On this site viewers gain direct access to everything 'HOT' in Montréal: stores, restaurants and clubs!
La Ronde is Eastern Canada’s largest amusement park. The facility, which opened as part of Expo ’67, today offers some 40 rides and attractions, including the Goliath, one of North America’s highest and fastest roller coasters, and Le Pays de Ribambelle, an exciting and enchanting family area.
Since 1989, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal has been the true reflection of a thriving French-speaking music world! Nearly 70 indoor shows and 180 free outdoor concerts attest to the effervescent quality, diversity and energy of a music-rich, fun-filled program!
Let’s tell it like it is: Montréal is the place to let loose!
Montréalers are avid cyclists, and proud of it. In fact, ecologically-friendly Montréal is the first urban centre in the world to receive “Geotourism” accreditation from the National Geographic Society. The city has 350 kilometres of bike paths criss-crossing its territory. To make exploring the city easier, several bike paths lead to the heart of tourism areas.
BIXI is cycling as a real means of urban transportation. Available since 2009, BIXI is one of the best ways to enjoy nature, be active, and visit the landmarks in Montréal without any hassles and at low cost. The system is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 3 seasons a year, from April to November. This service enables citizens and tourists to borrow a bike form one station and re-dock the bike at another station close to their destination.
From the Quays of the Old Port to Chinatown and from Little Italy to the Plateau Mont-Royal, Montréalers love to walk. In fact, this is their favorite way of exploring the city’s lively neighbourhoods, day and night.
From the downtown area, you can access the Montréal Underground Pedestrian Network, which is used by over 500,000 people daily.
Montréal by public transport or taxi
Public transport is a great way to see the city. Hop on the metro and in just 10 minutes you are at a museum, restaurant or in the Old Montréal. The metro can be accessed via the city’s Underground Pedestrian Network: two of the four main lines connect downtown to major tourism sites as well as to numerous bus stops and train stations. The average wait time between trains in eight minutes and three minutes during rush hour.
For more information about public transport in Montréal, please visit www.stm.info.
If you prefer getting around by taxi, it is easy to flag one down on the street. You will also find them at one of the city’s many taxi stands. A trip to the airport form downtown will cost you a flat rate of $38, not including tip.
Montréal Cirque Festival
July 6 to 16 2017
Troupes and performers from near and far take the cultural metropolis by storm for a summer event not to be missed.
MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE is one of the largest winter festivals in the world, an annual celebration registering 1 300,000 festival site visits from fans experiencing the joy of Montréal wintertime through a unique program combining performing arts, gastronomy, free outdoor family activities, and a full night of exquisitely original discoveries! Annually in February.
Ranked as the world’s largest jazz festival by Guinness World Records, the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal has been synonymous with a passion for music for over three decades. Every year, North America’s French-speaking metropolis welcomes global music fans to 10 days of jazzcentric celebration, where fans of all types of jazz-related music rub shoulders with aficionados of the genre in its purest form. The Festival hosts some 30 countries, 3,000 musicians and public entertainers, 1,000 concerts and activities—two-thirds of them free – in 15 concert halls and on 8 outdoor stages, welcoming more than 2 million visitors to the city, from noon to midnight! And it all happens on a unique site designed to meet festivalgoers’ every need, in the heart of Montréal’s downtown core, in an area off-limits to car traffic! There’s no doubt – Montréal is the heartbeat of Planet Jazz!
A 10-day gourmet event with nearly 135 participating restaurants.
The Mount Royal is another magnificent urban green space design by Frederik Olmsted of Central Park fame and it offers a spectacular view of the city skyline.
Majestically rising up in the middle of the city, Mont Royal is a symbol of Montréal’s heritage. A four-season playground for all, it is considered to be the “lungs of the city”. Green, clean and refreshing, it is home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Montréalers go to the Mount Royal for jogging, cycling, blading, skating, skiing, tobogganing, bird watching, picnicking and soaking up some rays.
June 9 to 19, 2016
An international public festival celebrating creativity and democratizing urban art.
Since 2006, the Osheaga Music and Arts festival has established itself as the most important festival of its genre in Canada. With its numerous outdoor stages located at parc Jean-Drapeau on Montreal’s Saint Helen’s Island, Osheaga attracts 120 000 music lovers from North America and Europe each year. A huge celebration dedicated to music and visual arts, Osheaga has given itself the objective of discovering local and national emerging talent offering them the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest international artists in the business including: Coldplay, The Killers, Iggy & The Stooges, Sonic Youth, The Roots, Rufus Wainwright, Arcade Fire, Weezer and Eminem.
A unique mix of green space, architecture and history, Parc Jean-Drapeau is our cherished four-season playground. A short metro, bus or bike ride from downtown, it encompasses two islands and is Montreal’s most visited park for good reason.
Complete with a filtered-water beach, outdoor pools, museums, acres of flower gardens, an amusement park, walking and cycling trails, an outdoor gallery, avant-garde architecture and a casino, Parc Jean-Drapeau is a veritable mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and fun-lovers of all ages.
A summertime favorite is to zoom around the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve track on a bike or rollerblades. La Ronde amusement park offers high-velocity thrills, while Piknic électronik brings electronic music outdoors into a non-club context for all to enjoy on warm-weather Sundays.
Brush up on your military history at the Île Sainte-Hélène fort, or simply admire the architectural marvels of the Biosphere and Habitat 67.
In winter, you can skate along the skaters’ path and go tubing, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the many trails found in the park.
May 22 to October 2, 2016
Every Sunday, discover the best of the electronic music scene in an environment created to stimulate the senses.
For over 45 years, the Montréal Planetarium shared its passion for the sky and stars with its visitors, young and old. Today, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, located close to the Biodôme, offers a completely fresh experience of astronomy.Its arrival marks a defining moment in the consolidation of the Space for Life, the world’s first ever site dedicated to both human beings and nature. Together, the Botanical Garden, Insectarium, Biodôme and Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium form the Space for Life, the largest natural sciences museum complex in Canada.With its bold design, the new Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium incorporates the strictest sustainable development criteria. It uses cutting-edge technology to create a unique experience of the universe through two complementary shows – one focused on science, the other more whimsical. Its exhibition, Exo: Our Search for Life in the Universe, enriches this cosmic journey.A true pioneer in the field, the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium redefines the very essence of planetariums through its original and innovative approach to astronomy.Get ready for an unforgettable experience!
Wrought-iron staircase, old-style stone masonry, walk-up duplexes, imported cars, second-hand bicycles, design fashion boutiques and funky frip stores: this neighbourhood is by far the grooviest scene in Montreal. Here you will find a predominantly francophone community featuring an electric mix of artists, students and young families, spiced with a healthy dose of other cultures and languages. Round it off with a wealth of interesting shops, cafés, pubs and bars, not to forget art galleries and gourmet shops.
July 22-31, 2016
Rogers Cup presented by National Bank is a prestigious professional tennis tournament organized by Tennis Canada. Since 1881 for the men and 1892 for the women, the best players in the world have showcased their skills on Canadian courts. Only Wimbledon and the US Open have longer histories than this major Canadian stop, which is acknowledged by the tennis world to be one of the best-run tournaments on the Tour. Classified as a Premier 5 event on the WTA calendar, Rogers Cup presented by National Bank offers over US $3 million in prize money and attracts the biggest stars in tennis year after year.
For athletic travelers, getting to know a new destination means happily toting running gear so they can clock a few muscle-toning kilometres while discovering an exciting urban centre. To cater visitors in need of a good trot, here are tailored-made jogging itineraries through Montreal’s visit-worthy neighbourhoods.
From our pedestrian-friendly streets to our vast green parks, Montreal is teeming with discovery, kilometre after kilometre. So slip into your jogging shoes, set a suitable pace for yourself, and with the itinerary to help, you have got the city covered.
St. Patrick’s Parade
Annually in February
Since 1824, this parade has been celebrated every year, making it the oldest and largest after New York’s parade.