845 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Square Mile, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Admission free. Museum: Sept.-May, Mon.-Thurs. 9-5; June-Aug., weekdays 9-5
James McGill, a wealthy Scottish fur trader and merchant, gave the money and the land for this English-language institution, which opened in 1828. A tree-lined road leads from the Greek-Revival-style Roddick Gates to the neoclassical Arts Building at the northern end of the campus. The templelike building to the west of it houses the Redpath Museum of Natural History, which includes a collection of dinosaur bones, old coins, African art, and shrunken heads.
4101 rue Sherbrooke Est, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montréal, Québec, Canada
May-Oct., daily 9-7, Nov.-Apr., daily 9-5
This botanical garden has 181 acres of plantings in summer and 10 exhibition greenhouses open all year. Founded in 1931, the garden contains more than 26,000 species of plants. Traditional tea ceremonies are held in the Japanese Garden.
Other highlights are the:
(1) Insectarium : which houses more than 250,000 specimens
(2) Montréal-Shanghai Lac de Rêve, the largest Ming-style Chinese garden outside Asia.
2929 rue Jeanne-d'Arc, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Tues.-Fri. 9:30-noon and 1:30-4:30, weekends 10-5.
The ground floors of this Beaux-Arts palace are open to the public and provide a glimpse into the lives of the Montréal bourgeoisie in the early 20th century. The lavish decor includes oak staircases with gilded rails, marble-tile floors, stained-glass windows, and coffered ceilings. Many of the walls are decorated with murals by the artist Guido Nincheri, who also decorated many of the city's most beautiful churches.
Le Centre Canadien D'architecture
1920 rue Baile, Shaughnessy Village, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Oct.-May, Wed.-Sun. 11-6, Thurs. until 8; June-Sept. Tues.-Sun. 11-5, Thurs. until 9.
Phyllis Lambert, heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune and an architect, designed the Canadian Center for Architecture. The ultramodern U-shaped structure of gray limestone is filled with her collection of drawings, photographs, plans, books, documents, and models. The center's six exhibition rooms house visiting exhibits.
Musée D'archéologie Pointe-À-Callière
350 Pl. Royale
July-Aug., weekdays 10-6, weekends 11-5; Sept.-June, Tues.-Fri. 10-5, weekends 11-5. An audio-visual show gives an overview of the area's history from the time of Jacques Cartier. Visitors then go down to the bank of the Rivière St-Pierre that once flowed past the site and was where the first settlers built their homes and traded with the local natives. Archaeologists have unearthed the city's first Catholic cemetery, with some tombstones still intact. There also remain the stone foundations of an 18th-century tavern and a 19th-century insurance building.
Musée D'art Contemporain
185 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest
free after 6 PM Wed. Tues. and Thurs.-Sun. 11-6, Wed. 11-9.
The museum's permanent collection of more than 5,000 works of modern art contains works by Québécois, Canadian, and international artists, but focuses on the works of Québec artists. It has, for example, 72 paintings, 32 works on paper, and a sculpture by Paul-Émile Borduas (1905-60), one of Canada's most important artists. The museum has weekend programs, with many child-oriented activities, and almost all are free.
Musée Des Beaux-Arts De Montréal
1380 rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Permanent collection free, special exhibitions admission fee. Tues.-Sun. 11-6 (special exhibitions stay open until 9 PM Wed.)
The art collection at the Museum of Fine Arts is housed in the older Benaiah-Gibb Pavilion on the north side of rue Sherbrooke and the glittering glass-fronted Pavilion Jean-Noël-Desmarais across the street. The collection includes European and North American fine and decorative art; ancient treasures from Europe, the Near East, Asia, Africa, and America; Canadian art; and Native American and Inuit artifacts.
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Montréal is attached to the building.
Musée Du Château Ramezay
280 rue Notre-Dame Est, Vieux-Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
June-Sept. daily 10-6; Oct.-May, Tues.-Sun. 10-4:30.
This colonial building, built in 1702, resembles a Norman castle with its thick stone walls, steeply pitched roof, and stone towers.. The everyday lives of the city's early European settlers are vividly depicted in a series of tableaux in the basement.
Musée Juste Pour Rire (Just for Laughs Museum)
2111 blvd. St-Laurent
Weekends (year-round) 10-5; June-Sept. Tues.-Fri. 9-5; Sept.-June, Thurs.-Fri. 9-3.
This is one of the few museums in the world dedicated to laughter. Its multimedia exhibits celebrate humor. Some visiting exhibits have a serious side, too. There is a large collection of humor videos, a cabaret where neophytes can test their material, and a restaurant where you can watch old videos (in French) while you eat
Parc Du Mont-Royal
Off voie Camillien Houde,
Parc du Mont-Royal
Take Métro's Orange Line to the Mont-Royal station and transfer to Bus 11 (take a transfer from a machine before you board the Métro), and get off at the Obsérvatoire de l'Est. Daily 9-5.
Frederick Law Olmsted, the co-designer of New York's Central Park, designed these 494 acres of forest and paths in the heart of the city. Horse-drawn transport is popular year-round: sleigh rides in winter and calèche (horse drawn carriage)rides in summer.
3933 av. Parc Lafontaine, Plateau Mont-Royal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Daily: 9AM -10 PM.
Montréal's two main cultures are reflected in the layout of this popular park: The eastern half is French, with paths, gardens, and lawns laid out in geometric shapes; the western half is English, with meandering paths and irregularly shaped ponds that follow the natural contours of the land. In summer there are bowling greens, tennis courts, an open-air theater with free arts events, and two artificial lakes with paddleboats. In winter the two lakes are used for ice skating.
Rue de la Commune, Montréal, Québec, Canada
800/971-7678 or 514/496-7678
Montréal has been a major North American port since the earliest days of European settlement. The city was built just below the Lachine Rapids, which marked the westernmost limit for oceangoing ships sailing up the St. Lawrence River. Now this waterfront park is one of the most popular recreational spots in Montréal. You can take a ferry or raft ride, or a harbor cruise, and bicycles and in-line skates are for rent along rue de la Commune. In winter, visitors can skate on a huge outdoor rink.
116 rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Vieux-Montréal
514/849-1070 basilica; 514/842-2925 museum
guided tour. 8-5 daily; 20-min tours in French and English every hr July-Sept. every 2 hrs (or by prior arrangement) Oct.-June.
(Notre-Dame Basilica). This neo-Gothic structure, opened in 1829, is one of the most beautiful churches in North America. The twin towers are 228 ft high, and the western one holds one of North America's largest bells. The interior is neo-Romanesque, with stained-glass windows, pine and walnut carvings, and a blue vaulted ceiling studded with thousands of 24-karat gold stars. With more than 7,000 pipes, the Cassavant pipe organ is one of the largest on the continent. Plan your visit around the daily 12:15 PM mass in the chapel or the 5 PM mass in the main church.
430 rue Ste-Catherine Est, Montréal, Québec, Canada
This tiny Roman Catholic chapel is one of the most ornate pieces of religious architecture in the city. It was built in 1876 and decorated with brightly colored murals by the artist Napoléon Bourassa. The chapel is a mixture of Roman and Byzantine styles, and has a beautifully restored interior.
Église De La Visitation De La Bienheureuse Vierge Marie
1847 blvd. Gouin Est,
Daily 10-11:30 and 2-4.
Far to the north on the banks of Rivière des Prairies (a 15-minute walk from the Henri Bourassa Métro station) is the oldest church on the island of Montréal, the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its stone walls were raised in the 1750s, and the beautifully proportioned Palladian front was added in 1850. The altar and the pulpit are ornate. In the church can be seen a rendering of the Visitation, is by Pierre Mignard, a 17th-century painter. Parkland surrounds the church.
3800 chemin Queen Mary, Côte-des-Neiges
Admission free. Mid-Sept.-mid-May, daily 7-5:30; mid-May-mid-Sept. daily 7 AM-9 PM.
St. Joseph's Oratory, a huge domed church sits high on a ridge of Mont-Royal, and is dedicated to St. Joseph, Canada's patron saint. The octagonal copper dome is one of the biggest in the world and the church has a magnificent mountainside setting with sweeping views. From early December through February, the oratory has a display of crèches (nativity scenes) from all over the world. Concerts are held during the summer. To visit the church, climb the more than 300 steps to the front door or take the shuttle bus from the front gate.
St. Patrick's Basilica
460 blvd. René-Lévesque Ouest
An outstanding example of church architecture rarely visited by tourists, this 1847 church is an example of the Gothic Revival style in Canada. The church's colors are soft, and the vaulted ceiling glows with green and gold mosaics. The old pulpit has panels depicting the apostles, and a huge lamp decorated with six 6-ft angels hangs over the main altar. The tall, slender columns that support the roof are actually pine logs lashed together and decorated to look like marble. The church is three blocks west of Place Ville-Marie
Avenue 4141 Pierre-de-Coubertin
reach the park via the Pie-IX or Viau Métro station (the latter is nearer the stadium entrance). A free shuttle links the Biodôme, Parc Olympique, nearby Jardin Botanique, and the Viau Métro station.
The Olympic Park, in the city's east end, was built for the 1976 Olympics. Dominating the eastern skyline are the giant Stade Olympique, home to the National League Expos, and the Tour Olympique, the leaning tower with an observatory that supports the stadium's roof. The Biodôme, formerly the Olympic bicycle-racing stadium, is a natural-history exhibit with four ecosystems.
Chalet Du Mont-Royal
Off voie Camillien Houde,
Parc du Mont-Royal
Métro's Orange Line to the Mont-Royal station and transfer to Bus 11 (take a transfer, or correspondence, from a machine before you board the Métro), get off at the Obsérvatoire de l'Est, climb the staircase at the end of the parking lot and follow the trails to the chalet.
After enjoying the spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, be sure to look inside the chalet, especially at the murals depicting scenes from Canadian history.