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Located in the cultural and tourism heart of Old Montreal, this neoclassic building dates from the mid-18th Century. It has been home to a city hall, a reception center, and public markets. In fact, following an 1849 fire in the Parliament Building, it became the seat of the United Canada Government. Today, following two restorations, the silver-domed building is used as an exhibition hall. It teems with sidewalk cafes, boutiques, souvenir shops and fine arts galleries. You will find everything from maps to fashion accessories and First People's art.
Notre-Dame's twin towers have served as an Old Montreal landmark since the Neo-Gothic basilica was finished in 1829. Today they continue to be the focal point, where tourists disgorge from buses and calèche drivers line up for passengers. The interior glows with gilded statuary and gold-leafed fleurs de lys, and is home to one of the largest pipe organs in the world. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra performs its Christmas production of Messiah here at the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal or the Notre-Dame Basilica. Check website for opening hours for visitors.
Built on the site where the city's founders first landed, this history and archaeology museum opened exactly 350 years after the event, in 1992. Pointe-à-Callière Museum stands on the remains of original historical buildings, and parts of the old fortification walls are on display. It features a multimedia show and an underground archaeological tour, along with various temporary exhibits. Highlights include the triangular Éperon Building, the former Customs House, and Place Royale. Kids will especially enjoy learning first hand what it means to be an archaeologist in a fun engaging manner with the engaging Archaeo-Adventure Exhibition, while the Pirates or Privateers exhibition will thrill them as they learn about life on the High-seas. With plenty of events and activities, the museum is a true cultural hub in the city.
One of the most well established private galleries in Montreal, this prestigious space specializes in contemporary Canadian art, especially in the Inuit communities from the north. Pieces range from traditional soapstone carvings to surprisingly complex and occasionally harrowing depictions of animals and other figures. Elca caters to a very upscale clientele.
Christ Church Cathedral is nestled within the central region of the city and has been serving it since the early 19th century. Designed by famed architect Frank Wills, Christ Church Cathedral is a great example of 19th-century Neo-Gothic architecture. Inspired by the Gothic-style churches of the 14th century, the cathedral displays some impressive architecture through intricate designs and awe-inspiring stone-work. Its aluminium steeple, square crossing tower and stone spire are some of its key features, which were considered a rare sight in its time.
Plans for the construction of the Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral first began in 1852, soon after Saint-Jacques Cathedral was destroyed by fire. At the behest of Ignace Bourget, the architect Victor Bourgeau was assigned the ambitious task of designing a cathedral in the image of the magnificent St Peter's Basilica in Rome. The architectural masterpiece was completed in 1894 and is renown today as one of Quebec's most revered religious sites. Inside a spectacular baldachin adorns the altar and elaborate paintings depict the early history of Montreal, while outside exquisitely wrought statues of the city's 13 patron saints watch over the people, replacing the 12 statues of Christ's apostles that adorn the exterior walls of St Peter's Basilica. The cathedral remains a sacred place of worship even as it attracts droves of tourists who are drawn to its austere beauty and artistic treasures.
Housed in what was once McGill University's student union building, McCord Museum was born in 1921 - the vision of passionate collector David Ross McCord. Today it houses almost 900,000 objects consisting of ethnological and archaeological materials, costumes and textiles, photographs, paintings, prints, drawings and decorative arts, all related to Canadian social and cultural history. The museum offers interactive animation exhibitions, guided tours and publications. Stop into the boutique for native Canadian arts and crafts, fine china, pottery, jewelry, posters, exhibition catalogs and greetings cards.
Biosphere museum and exhibition hall is dedicated to raising environmental and ecological awareness among its visitors. Housed in the world's largest geodesic dome, which is one of few remaining structures from the Expo's, it offers four levels of guided discovery. The bottom level examines water as both Source of Life and Source of Delight, the Connections Hall showcases multimedia presentations focusing on environmental protection, and the Visions Hall affords an incredible view of Montreal.
Musée des Beaux-arts de Montréal has put together one of the best collections of fine art in North America. The museum moved to its present location just before the World War. The Jean-Noel Desmarais building holds most of the temporary exhibits while the permanent collection lies in the Benaiah Gibb building across the street. The museum also stages special programs such as Wednesday evening lectures, noontime and evening concerts, and films.
Division Gallery is located in Toronto and Montreal; the one in Montreal is owned by art enthusiasts Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan. The main purpose of this gallery is to portray and showcase the contemporary side of Canadian and International art. Division Gallery being a commercial art gallery shares the building with Arsenal which is another contemporary art gallery. The duo together supports and promotes some of the best Canadian and international artists. This is one place that art aficionados simply cannot skip.
Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal is the nation's largest church, its regal dome second in height only to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. A small chapel dedicated to Saint Joseph was built at the site in 1904 by Brother André, renown for his miraculous ability to heal the injured and ailing. He was later beatified in 1982 and canonized in 2010. Completed in 1960, the renaissance church that replaced the original shrine encompasses a basilica, a votive chapel lined with discarded crutches, and the heart of Brother André amongst several other treasures. Outside, the Stations of the Cross grace the sculpture garden where scenes from the film Jésus of Montréal were shot. The oratory itself is a striking beauty that dominates the skyline for miles around, its elegant dome rising high above the bucolic scene. One of the world's most revered Catholic shrines and an important place of pilgrimage, Saint Joseph's Oratory inspires wonder in the hearts of the devout and the simply curious.
Every season at the Jardin Botanique de Montréal (Montréal Botanical Gardens), you'll be captivated by the colors and fragrances of flowers and plants as you move from garden to garden, many inspired by different parts of the world. Explore the Sonoran desert, wander into the Chinese or French Garden, and finally relax in the tranquility of the Japanese Garden. The Montreal Botanical Garden contains 12,000 plant species and cultivators, ten exhibition greenhouses, about 30 thematic gardens and a large arboretum.