Little of Everything, Montreal
Frankly, all seasons in Quebec are great to visit depending on what you like to do and see, there really isn't a "moonson" season or a drought season! If you are an adept of snow sports, you'll really love our Winter but beware, Quebec is a very humid province due to the St-Laurent river creating "wet air", which makes winter temperatures such a -35 degrees in February, feel even colder. Summer in Quebec is great to spend up in the Laurentians which is home to over 50 000 lakes, enough to grant anyboby's nautical sports wishes! Spring is okay, but it is so short we barely notice it; plus it is not as fancy as a "cherry blossomed trees spring in Paris"; that is the only season I would pass if it weren't for the "Sugar shack" parties (see Local Customs). The cherry on the sundae is Fall, if there's a season I'd recommend to all foreighners that don't have changing colors trees... it has to be Fall. Many festivals honor it's colors and fruits in the Laurentians as well as in the Eastern Townships. Wine making, fruit picking and simple panoramic gazing are some of the many activities that take place during this majestic season. Be quick and don't miss the fiery colors of our Fall since they only last a bit more than 10 days... around the first week of October.
Fondest memory: When I was young, forts and huge mounts of dead leaves, where built under apple trees... for us to play and throw ourselves in. The crackling sound of leaves under my footsteps...
If you get tired of the french and english local commercial stations :
CHOM 97,7, English, Classic Rock. It's a mainstream station, but they have good choice when it comes to rock (good pop choices yes, but still good). Pink Floyd, R.E.M., U2, The Smiths, The Clash, Simple Minds, The Beatles...you get the idea.
CIBL, 101,5, French, Alternative. A mix of french and english music, styles that are popular among the young music fans. Alternative, loud rock, electronic, jazz, world... http://www.cibl.cam.org/new/index.php?dest=palmares
CISM 89,3, French, Alternative. pretty much the same concept as CIBL . Université de Montreal students radio.
CJMS 1040 AM, French, New Country. This used to be a big player. But everything about AM radio went to hell long time ago.
CKUT 90,3 FM, English, Alternative. English version of CISM I guess, with less french music (if none, I rarely listen to CKUT).
Montreal is one of the oldest cities in Canada, and has a distinctive European flair. I've been told that aside from Paris, it is the largest French-speaking city in the world, but don't worry if you don't know much French. Most people are bilingual and it's easy to get by with just English (though the French-speaking people do appreciate it when foreigners at least attempt to speak French!).
It is a very artistic and historical city, Old Montreal especially with its old buildings and architecture, cobblestone streets, and buskers/street performers in the summer. Montreal is also very cosmopolitan - pretty much any ethnic group can be found there, and though the most common languages are French and English, many immigrants still keep their first language even if they learn French or English. There are ethnic neighbourhoods where many of these immigrants live, such as Chinatown, and these are like a piece of their home country outside of that country. For example, in Chinatown, you'll find dim sum restaurants and Chinese writing on all stores and other public places.
Summertime is the best time to visit Montreal even if the weather sometimes gets very hot (over 30 celsius). There are all sorts of festivals in summer, and the places most worth visiting like Old Montreal are filled with activity. But winter is not boring either. Even in the cold snowy weather, it's still worth a visit. At night, the city is lit up by the Christmas lights in the trees, which makes the winter nights very beautiful.
Fondest memory: My best memories of Montreal include walking around Old Montreal, especially in the evenings and at night. I love places with lots of people and activity, so I loved this part of town. I especially loved the artistic/historical flair of Old Montreal.
I also loved going out salsa dancing at Club 6/49 on St. Catherine Street. Being a die-hard salsa dancer, I just had to take the opportunity to go to a salsa club, since there are none where I currently live.
Favorite thing: On my first morning in Montreal, I heard this band playing off in the distance. I follwed the sound to this Canadian military band, who were just out there playing. They then took to marching across Rue St-Catherine. One of those unexpected pleasures.
In a month you can see more than Montreal. Visit also Quebec city and Ottawa, and if you still have energy, go to Toronto and Niagara Falls. Anyway, here is some popular Montreal attractions as an example: Montreal Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanique de Montreal), Notre-Dame Basilica (Basilique Notre-Dame), Old Montreal Vieux-Montreal), Mount Royal, St. Joseph's Oratory (Oratoire Saint-Joseph), Biodome de Montreal (in Olympic park, there is other stuff too). This week is the jazz festival week, so finding accomodation might be tricky.
Here is some links to city and accomodation.
Also McGill University (downtown) is giving cheap accomodation during summer time.
The tourist office is on Peel street, they are very helpful...Cheers
-Take a coffee (cafe) or a beer on Rue St-Denis .
-Eat a smoked meat sandwich at one of Montreal's famous smoked meat restaurants .
-Take a walk on the mountain , the Mount-Royal , and
view the city from the Belvedere .
For a good day trip, visit the Olympic Stadium complex. It's right on the Metro, which is very clean and fast. The Olympic Stadium, site of the '76 Olympics, is well-known for its futuristic design and space-age dome support structure. Take the tram to the top to a surprisingly spacious lounge for a nice view of the city from above.
The Jardin Botanique (Botanical Garden) is just minutes' walk away from the Olympic Stadium. The creepy, crawly house, otherwise known as the Insectarium, the orchid greenhouse, and the bonsai garden are notable. The Jardin Botanique is very large and may require you to take advantage one of the trams that circumnavigate the resort. There is also a very large rose garden with hundreds, if not thousands, of plants.
If you're tired of walking, visit Old Montreal. The cobblestone streets here are a pleasant surprise. Sit in one of the corner cafes and watch the street performers or take a leisurely walk down to the quay by the St. Lawrence. There's a lighthouse at the end of the quay. Climb the long flight of stairs to reach the top of the lighthouse and you'll be rewarded with an expansive view of the city. Climb back down and consider taking a boat tour, the Bateau-Mouche, on the St. Lawrence. This will give you a look at the city from the river. Don't miss the remarkable apartments building consisting of stacked cubical blocks.
Fondest memory: We visited St. Joseph's Oratory on Mt. Royal. It is inspired by Basilique Sacre-Coeur in Paris and the resemblance is there. You can even catch penitents trying to walk up the hundreds of steps on their knees. The church is very large and inspiring. Also stop for a promenade on Mt. Royal. You can get a very nice view of the city from the top of the mountain.
There are so many things to do and see in Montreal. It boast a wonderful Casino, so you can gamble and see a show, and have a wonderful meal at our Casino de Montreal.
In the summer it have an amusement park, La Ronde, incredible rides for kids and adults alike. Take the Metro to St.Helen's Island to get there easily. There's a park there too for swimming.
Montreal is also home to the Botanical Gardens; the Museum of Fine Arts; Place des Arts, which hosts the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Opera de Montreal; The Molson Center, home of The Montreal Canadian's Hockey team and venue for many shows; and The Olympic Stadium, home of The Montreal Expos Baseball team.
I visit Montreal regularly and our biggest hassle is finding a place to park. The metro is very good and easy to figure out. http://www.montreal.com/tourism/general.html
The metro is slightly limited - in that there is no direct stop in Old Montreal, but only a few blocks away. You could easily spend a whole day strolling around the Old Port and Old Montreal. If you like amusement parks - LaRonde is a Six Flags Park.
Please check out: http://www.internationaldesfeuxloto-quebec.com/EN/programmation/calendrier.aspx Every year they have an international fireworks competition in Montreal - definitely a must see since your there during it. You can either buy a ticket that allows you to watch from under the Jaques Cartier Bridge at LaRonde - or even easier is to watch it from the Old Port - walk toward the tall clock tower (there is also a maze there). They start whenever it gets dark obviously - but it's usually around 9or 930pm. So go out to dinner in Old Montreal then take a walk to the pier.
For transport from Montreal Trudeau Airport to downtown: http://www.admtl.com/passager/acces_et_stationnement/home.aspx
It's only 2 hours drive between the 2 cities or you can travel by VIA Rail. Ottawa is walkable or you can get a taxi to the museums in Hull. Stay near Byward Market or the Parliament and your within a mile of most of the sites. There is an INFO office across the street from Parliament. There is also a pedestrian shopping street 1 block behind the info center. Check out the Rideau Canal, the gorgeous architecture and Byward Market area for lunch or dinner.
If you need more info on sights in either city, I'd be glad to help!
Favorite thing: On our East to West Canada trip, our first stop for 3 nights was Montreal. There is so much to see and do. The harbour, churches and lots of monuments made great photographs for the albun. More details soon.
Go Downtown and to the Old Port of Montreal. Some streets you should not miss are Ste-Catherine, St-Denis and St-Laurent... were all happens.
Fondest memory: When I can't go Downtown and relax sitting on a street bench looking at people.