Montreal - distinctively different

Canada's second city

An incomplete guide to discovering Quebec

Montreal - North America's biggest French-speaking city

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Montreal is Canada's second city, and the only major French-speaking city  in North America 

Just a few miles north of the US border,  the city of Montreal is built on an island, the Island of Montreal, in the Saint Lawrence river. It is the second largest city in Canada, surpassed only by Toronto, and is one of the world's major French-speaking cities.
Place st Jacques
Place Saint Jacques, old Montreal
   The city's history goes back to the early seventeenth century, when Montréal, or as it was then known Ville Marie, was one of the main trading posts and colonial settlements of New France.
  Nothing remains of the original settlements, but the center of Old Montreal has a number of buildings dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in particular the Basilica of Notre Dame de Montréal, built in the gothic-revival style of the first half of the nineteenth century.
  This basilica was the largest church in North America for a good part of the nineteenth century.  
   The oldest building in Old Montreal is the seventeenth-century Saint Sulpice seminary, built in 1684.
rue St Paul
Rue Saint Paul, old Montreal.  It could almost be Paris.
    The Old Port of Montreal lies at the edge of the historic area, and is not all old,  apart from the fact that  it was the city's port area for very many years. Stretching along the banks of the Saint Lawrence, it is today it is one of Montreal's main tourist areas, with attractions including the Montreal Science Centre, with its IMAX movie theater, and plenty of cafés and restaurants. It is popular for walking, cycling, roller-blading, and other leisure activities.

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Montreal is the second biggest city in Canada, and a popular tourist destination for visitors from other parts of North America. As North America's largest French-speaking city, it is a place with an atmosphere that is very special.

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Photo top of page by Simon Bonaventure -
Place St.Jacques by Pierre Phaneuf
Rue  St. Paul by Ken Lund.
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