Montreal today is vibrant, known for its culture, and a hot spot for all things food and music. But all that good stuff didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it took hundreds of years for the city to be shaped into what it is today.
Here are some fun facts about Montreal’s past and a few ways to enjoy the culture and vibrancy of this creative, urban gem now.
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1. Montreal hosted the first Olympics ever held in Canada in the summer of 1976. Today, you can visit the Olympic Park and see icons like The Montreal Tower.
2. You know the song “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono? This famous tune was recorded at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel 1969 during a week long bed-in.
3. Mount Royal Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City. Be sure to stop and take in the view at the lookout.
4. Long before Europeans made their way to what’s now Montreal, the Iroquois people called this region home. You can visit the Pointe-à-Callière, a national archaeological and historic site, to discover more local history.
5. Montreal was the largest city in Canada for a period of time. Now, just because it’s smaller than Toronto doesn’t mean there isn’t still a ton to see and do.
6. Love architecture and history? Then the fact that Montreal is a UNESCO city of design might be of interest to you. Check out the beautiful architecture around the city - especially in Old Montreal and the Old Port.
7. In 1967, Montreal hosted the World’s Fair or as it’s popularly known, Expo 67. One of the best mementos from that time is Habitat 67 - a quirky housing complex designed by Moshe Safdie.
8. During Prohibition, Montreal was a sinful reprieve for Americans hopping over the border to track down booze and places to gamble. You can still find delicious cocktails all around the city, and even a speakeasy or two.
9. Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, or Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal in French, is Canada’s largest church. Built in 1904, now a National Historic Site, this beautiful building is full of history and the notable dome is picture-perfect.
10. Though most of the rest of Canada speaks English as a first language, Montrealers (and most Quebecers) are known for their French culture. This dates back to 1535 when Jacques Cartier (who now has a bridge named after him) arrived in Montreal after navigating the St. Lawrence River and claimed it for France.
Fusing the past and present, Montreal is a city that’s waiting to be explored. Plan your trip at the Tourism Montreal website.