This lovely city hall building was built between 1872 and 1878. Located right across the street from Place Jacques Cartier it is right by the Champ de Mars. The balcony is where Charles de Gaulle uttered the words Vive le Québec Libre!" ("Long live free Québec!") which helped to strain relations with the Canadian government.
Hours- 9 am-4 pm Monday-Friday
Tours- 1 hour guided tour available
I visited Canada included in a french group (a decision to practice my fading french), and they looked surprised when I said, in Quebec, that I was feeling like being in France.
"Completely different" they argued. Well... reading about this classical building (in a now moved or lost site) I found:
"L'hôtel de ville, bel exemple du style Second Empire ou Napoléon III, est l'oeuvre d'Henri-Maurice Perrault, auteur du palais de justice voisin.
En 1922, un incendie (encore un!) détruisit l'intérieur et la toiture de l'édifice. Celle-ci fut rétablie en 1926 en prenant pour modèle l'hôtel de ville de Tours en France..."
Well... I was not so crazy after all!
Montreal already had a beach in Jean-Drapeau Park (on the island and near the metro station of the same name), but starting in 2012, it will open a new beach closer to downtown, in the Old Port area. While swimming in the St. Lawrence River will be prohibited, there will be the other typical beach amenities, including a refreshment stand/eatery called La Buvette, run by renowned local chef Giovanni Apollo (of Apollo Restaurant).
The beach will be open from mid-June to early September every day from 10:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., except on nights of fireworks shows and other special events when it will stay open until 11 p.m. It will also be open on weekends until mid-September, which is an improvement over our Jean-Drapeau beach that typically closes in mid-August. Prices will also be slightly lower than those at Jean-Drapeau ($6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for kids from 6-12 years old; $15 for a family pass).
The Clock Tower was already a very popular site with both locals and tourists on the nights of fireworks shows; perhaps the entry fee will give the spectators in the beach area a little more elbow room than they would have had otherwise.
The only outdoor skating area in Montreal just opened in the Old Port of Montreal. =)
If you are courageous enough to bear the cold and want to enjoy the outdoors, this is for you! Bring your whole family and kids!
This is a lil bit of info from website.
Take advantage of the following activities:
Monday : jazz and swing music evening, form 6 to 9 p.m.
Tuesday : classical music evening, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Wednesday : Figure skating lessons, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Thursday : Francophone music evening, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Friday : Latin rhythms music evening, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Saturday : Break the ice! evening with DJ, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Sunday : I learn to skate... (lessons for children of 3 to 12 y.o.), from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Rates : Daily rate
Child (6 to 12): $3
Child under 6: free
Take a Calèche Ride through the old town to step back in time. It is a rather cool thing to do. Though I will warn you, for what you get, it is quite an expensive adventure. Our guide wasn't very talkative. But the friend of mine who came with me is a local, and had long dreamed of touring his home town in the back of a carriage. He had a smile on his face the whole time. Now anything that makes someone smile is certainly worthwhile! You will get a different perspective of the old town streets, Notre Dame and the chance to put your feet up, just sit back and relax and watch the world go by. Call the number below for Montreal Central - they can probably organise a reservation. Mind you, you will hardly need one....
Claude de Ramezay (1657-1724), originally from Champagne in France, and named Governor of Montreal had this house built in 1705. On the slight incline that leads to Notre Dame street, it was a venue for his official functions and home for his family of 16 children.
The Governor's Gardens in the back are gorgeous!
Build in a French Empire style in 1872, restored in 1922, this building represents what Montreal really is with its architectural beauty and wonderful surrounding. It's lit with multiple colors at night and get a special winter lights coating during the cold months.
Visits of the building can be arranged
See the building real time:
Built in the Second Empire style, the city hall is one of the most recent buildings of Old Montreal. If you think it looks like it was uprooted from France, you will be pleased to know it was modelled on the one in Tours, France.
Surprinsingly enough, this city hall is the only one Montreal has ever had. Between the time Montreal was incorporated as a city in 1832 and the construction of the city hall in 1878, city representatives gathered at a number of places, including several since-demolished stone houses.
You can visit the hall of honour on your own (weekdays only) or take part in a one-hour guided tour (summer months and groups only; reservations are necessary). Entrance is free! Note that the most of the interior dates from the 1920's because of the terrible fire that ravaged city hall in 1922.
Here's a great way for new visitors to see and learn about Montreal. With 45-minute tours of the harbor and 90-minute tours of the Lachine Canal, in both French and English, this is one of the more enjoyable things to do in Montreal.
This small boat can accomodate up to 30 passengers. Run on electric power, it's both clean and quiet. Private tours are also available.
The Old Port is another wonderful place to just stroll about. The piers offer boat tours and trips to the islands. The views of the city and the St Lawrence River are great.
The high point is the Clock Tower. Built after World War I, it commemorates Canada's sailors who served in that war. The view from the top is one of the best in the city. For decades, it has greeted ships entering the port.
You will probably want to begin your visit to Montreal in or near the Old City. Montreal was founded in 1642, not too long after Quebec City. Originally named Ville-Marie, it was fortified by the French. Following the French and Indian War (the Seven Years' War in Europe), the British took control.
Wandering the narrow streets lined with quaint shops and cafes, you don't need to be going anywhere in particular. One can browse in the stores inside Bonsecours Market, have a cup of coffee at the Place Jacques-Cartier, take a carriage ride along the Rue de la Commune, or go window-shopping along the Rue Notre Dame.
Place des Armes is one of the three main squares in the Old City (the other two are the Place d'Youville and the Place Jacques-Cartier). The Place des Armes is quite close to the downtown core and contains the Notre Dame Basilica, the first building of the Bank of Montreal, the New York Life building and the Aldred Building, which is done in Art Nouveau style. The variety of architectural styles that can be seen in such a small space is quite impressive, although they all range over only a few decades at the end of the 19th century and start of the twentieth century. The centre of the Place is occupied by the Paul de Chomedey monument, which is dedicated to the young man of the same name who helped to defend the city of Ville-Marie against Iroquois attacks. The Place des Armes is today a very popular tourist destination that attracts crowds even early in the morning. You can buy flowers here during the summer, and the horse-drawn carriages start lining up at 9AM, waiting for tourists looking for a unique way to see the old city.
Place Jacques-Cartier is a delightful square in the centre of Montreal's old city that is lined with cafés and restaurants. The name of this square was made official in 1847, but was used by the people of the city long before the official christening. The most notable monument is the Nelson Column, which was erected in 1810, before the one in London. Place Jacques-Cartier has been restored to its original colonial French glory and today the square plays host to the Hotel de Ville, the town hall. Across the street in the place Vauquelin there are also a number of historical monuments, but it is really in the approach to the Harbour that the true beauty and feel of the square can be experienced. In the summetime you will find many, many patios on which brunch, lunch and dinner are served, and, unlike in other cities, the waiters and waitresses are not so aggressive as to make it difficult to enjoy the square. There are also numerous buskers and performers, and the side streets house a number of shops that sell watercolours of the city and the harbour.
The first French settlement in what is now Montreal dated from 1605, but considerable attacks from the native Iroquois peoples led to the abandonment of the post until 1642, when Ville-Marie (which later became Montreal) was founded by the French. The first hospital was founded by Jeanne Mance in 1645, and the settlement quickly became permanent. Ville-Marie became Montreal in the early 1700s, when the various Catholic orders had established a firm presence (including the first Notre Dame de Bonsecours church), allowing for the growth of a somewhat normal French settlement (rather than just an outpost). The various fortifications were built around the city and commerce took off. In 1763, Montreal, together with the rest of New France, passed into British hands. The British decided to allow French culture to continue in the city, which also meant that the original French architecture and flavour of the old city remains to this day. This provides a unique contrast with the much more British air of the downtown commercial core of the city, which is to the west of Ville-Marie. Many important buildings were destroyed in the Seven Years War, but the new ones that sprang up complemented the character of the city's French origins while also introducing some English design, especially around Place d'Youville.
Bonsecours Market is one of the most notable buildings in Vieux-Montréal and is names after the nearby church, Notre Dame de Bonsecours (which is also known as the Sailor's Church). The market was first opened in 1847, when the city was already under English control. From the 1850s to 1870s, the building housed the City Hall, after a brief stint as the Parliament of Upper Canada (which became the Province of Québec in 1867). The building has an impressive silver copula that towers over the entire area and can be seen from far down the Promenade du Vieux Port. Today the building is touristy collection of cafés, bistros and restaurants.