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.
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 disembark 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.
The namesake of the city and one of its most recognizable landmarks, Mount Royal is the city of Montreal's highest point. The volcanic hill is a part of the Monteregian Hills, nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Laurentians, its highest summit measuring at 233 meters (764 feet). At its highest point sits the Mount Royal Cross, originally installed in 1643 by the city's founder, Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve, in honor of Mother Mary who he believes saved the colony from a potentially devastating flood. The existing, illuminated cross was added in 1924. Beaver Lake and the Mount Royal Park are other popular features of the hill, just west of Downtown. The park, in particular, is renowned as one of the city's largest, originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, and the venue of the weekly Tam-Tam Jams. For unmatched views of the city, Mount Royal's Camilien-Houde and Kondiaronk Chalet lookouts offer sweeping vistas over Downtown and East Montreal.
Straddling a two-kilometer (1.24 mile) stretch along the St. Lawrence River, the Old Port of Montreal has operated as an active hub since 1611 when it was used as a fur trading post by French settlers. It has since transformed into a bustling area which beckons tourists and locals alike. Besides being home to a bevy of attractions like the IMAX Theatre, the Montreal Science Centre and the Montreal Clock Tower, it is also a recreational wonderland, especially during winter months. Marked by ice sculptures, skating and a lively nativity scene, as well as vibrant festivals like the Festival Montréal en lumière, the Old Port of Montreal hosts a decidedly thriving cultural scene. With numerous dining options, bargain shops, trendy boutiques, tours and riverfront activities dotting its pretty vicinity, the Old Port is an all inclusive attraction in itself.
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, renowned 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.
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.
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.
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.
Located in The Village, Comedy Abroad! hosts comedy shows only on Sunday evenings. Their talented comics have earned quite a repute thus beckoning a cosmopolitan audience including tourists. The hilarious comedians are sure to make you laugh and leave your stomach hurting. Also, their cheap but delicious beer and happy hours add immeasurably to your experience. As far as the pay goes, Comedy Abroad! does not charge anything except in the end a hat is passed around wherein you may donate your choice of amount based on the experience you had.
The historic city center is rich in museums, shops, restaurants and grey stone architecture spread out along narrow, cobblestone streets. Old Montreal is also home to the Vieux Port attractions and lively public squares like Place Jacques-Cartier. Exploring Old Montreal means exploring the very heart of one of North America's greatest cities, a multifaceted place where the past and the present come together in exciting and unexpected ways.