Canada, from an outside perspective, is a country sometimes defined by stereotypes. Whether its jokes about Winter, hockey, or apologizing for Winter and hockey, the country is very often put in a box from the word go. Luckily, for those looking to travel to the Great White North, this couldn’t be further from the truth. No city captures this better than the city of Montreal, Quebec. Sitting on a spiritual border between English Canada in the West and French Canada in the East, Montreal encompasses the cultural abs and flows of both heritages, creating a mishmash of cultures that makes the city unlike any other in the country. Being such a diverse city, Montreal has some neighbourhoods that one would never guess belong in the same city. To learn more about them I spoke with JustFly, an online travel company. They gave me the scoop on three parts of the city you can’t miss if you find yourself in la belle province.
The Old Port
In use to some degree since 1611 when it was used as a fur trading post, The Old Port is Montreal’s historical district. A bustling industrial area as late as 1976, the area was redeveloped to repurpose its historical assets as a means of developing an area where travellers can sneak a peak into the past. With buildings dating back a century or more and cobblestone streets that evoke a sense of historical prestige, this area is beautiful and a blast to explore on foot or by bike. The area itself is large and stretches for roughly two kilometres along the Saint Lawrence River. In terms of attractions, the Montreal Science Centre, the Montreal Clock Tower, and Montreal’s urban beach call The Old Port home according to JustFly.
A vibrant and youthful neighbourhood, The Plateau has the highest population density of any borough in Canada and has an average age of 34, with its largest population group being aged 25-34 according to JustFly’s review. This neck of the woods is artistic, hip, and perfectly embodies the “don’t care” attitude of French culture. While you won’t find typical tourism type attractions here, what you will find is Montreal’s best parks and green spaces to go with a vast network of small secondhand shops and antique stores to explore. It’s a great place to spend a day on foot finding your new favourite store, your most relaxing napping position in the park, or the most delicious food.
Montreal’s downtown core is a place where you can definitely let yourself go a little wild. While it is loaded with bars and restaurants, it’s also home to the Bell Centre. This downtown hockey arena is the home of the Montreal Canadiens. While hockey is just a sport, the Montreal Canadiens are an institution in the city of Montreal. Part of the fabric of the city, the Canadiens have played in Montreal for over 100 years and attending a game there celebrates that fact. Once the game is out, the area surrounding it is more or less designed to host your post game beer or meal.