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.
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 lectures, noontime and evening concerts, and films.
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 about 12,000 plant species and cultivators, ten exhibition greenhouses, about 30 thematic gardens and a large arboretum.
Featuring an extensive collection of Barbie dolls decked in iconic designer wear, Barbie Expo attracts scores of visitors who flock here to admire the intricate detailing and haute couture designs pertaining to different styles. This fascinating expo displays the work of many world-renowned designers, including Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior and Carolina Herrera among others.
Art and history come together to depict Lachine's fascinating history at Musée de Lachine. Comprising the historic Le Ber-Le Moyne, 17th-century structure and a sculpture garden, there is much to admire at this fabulous museum. The Maison Le Ber-Le Moyne takes visitors on a historic journey through its transition from a fur-trading post to a farm house and manor. Temporary exhibits, held in the Pavillon Benoît-Verdickt and the Pavillon de l'Entrepôt, run the gamut of modern art, while the Outdoor Sculpture Museum in René-Lévesque Park is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.
Once the residence of Governor Claude de Ramezay, Château Ramezay Museum chronicles the rich history of Montreal. The history of this building dates back to the 18th Century when it was built and has been listed as an must-see historic sites by UNESCO. Now, it houses an impressive collection of antiques, photographs, paintings and costumes. This site is known for its frequent exhibitions from upcoming and veteran artists and has two permanent exhibitions.
Recent archaeological excavations in the cellar of the Notre-Dame-du-Bonsecours Chapel have unearthed the foundations of Montreal's first stone church, which was constructed by medical and educational pioneer Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1675. The museum, located at the back of the chapel, contains several exhibition rooms devoted to the history of the city, the chapel and to the story of Marguerite Bourgeoys, a nun credited with establishing the first hospitals in Quebec.
This beautifully restored home honors the memory of George-Étienne Cartier, a prominent Montreal lawyer, father of Confederation and former Canadian Prime Minister. It is inhabited by a cast of tour guides dressed in period costume who are all versed in the history of the house and the era. All manner of educational activities should keep the kids busy: these include The Etiquette Game, which teaches children about 19th-century society; and What's Up, Mr Cartier? which focuses on the man and the house. Call +1 888 773 8888 toll free.
This beautiful old theater was rescued from the brink of destruction by the National Theatre School. Now the home of all NTS productions, this historic monument also plays host to dozens of other theater productions throughout the year. The Ludger-Duvernay Theatre, which seats over eight hundred, is a classic 19th century hall with a balcony and orchestra pit; the Du Maurier Studio is an attractive multi-function hall seating as many as one-fifty. The Cafe Hydro-Quebec offers pre or post-show drinks.
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.