Last week, I spent Canada Day exploring Old Montreal where one long street has been stripped down to the cobblestones and historical building exteriors have been preserved.
Schedule your visit during one of the many Montreal events to enjoy festivities and fireworks. Fully immerse yourself in the area by staying at a boutique hotel with historical significance like Pierre du Calvet, Le Saint Sulpice, Hotel Place d'Armes, or Hotel Nelligan. Here are some insider tips. (Yes, I grew up in Montreal.)
Getting to Old Montreal
A 20-30 minute stroll from downtown hotels.
Three subway stops are near Old Montreal.
On a bike.
Pick up a bicycle downtown. Drop it off in Old Montreal.
In a horse-drawn caleche.
Enjoy a panoramic view of Montreal from the belvedere on Mont-Royal. Beside the chalet, get into a caleche for a carefree ride.
What to See in Old Montreal
- Discover Montreal's history at Pointe-a-Calliere Archeology and History Museum.
- Take a photo at the Pointe-a-Calliere marker, the birthplace of Montreal. This was once the intersection of the St. Lawrence River and Riviere Saint-Pierre where First Nations people would ashore in their canoes. It is also where the first group of settlers from France landed.
- Explore Chateau du Ramezay.
- Visit Notre Dame Basilica where Celine Dion was married.
- Visit the boutiques at Marche Bonsecours, a real farmers' market from 1847-1963. This facility also has a special events venue.
- For corporate events, you can see the world-famous Cirque du Soleil.
What to Do in Old Montreal
- Browse boutiques and art galleries along the cobblestone streets and Artisans Alley.
- Purchase clothing, art and artifacts by Canada's First Nations people.
- Listen to music in a cafe or by street musicians.
- Stop for lunch at cafes like Creperie Chez Suzette.
- For team events, take a cooking class or explore the area through an Amazing Race inspired challenge.
- Arrange group dining at a restaurant with historical significance like Les Filles du Roy or Gibby's (formerly a stable) located on a street that was once a river.
- Take a dinner cruise on the St. Lawrence River. (More about that tomorrow).