Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee!

Famous Architecture Walking Tour in Montreal (Self Guided), Montreal

Montreal is an old, but a very modern city. The architectural sights provide ample opportunities for exploration. Modern buildings are situated right next to some of the oldest and most fascinating structures. Take this walking tour to discover the most famous architecture Montreal has to offer.
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Famous Architecture Walking Tour in Montreal Map

Guide Name: Famous Architecture Walking Tour in Montreal
Guide Location: Canada » Montreal (See other walking tours in Montreal)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • City Hall
  • Notre-Dame Basilica
  • Pointe-a-Calliere Museum
  • Montreal World Trade Centre
  • 1000 de la Gauchetiere
  • Place Ville-Marie
  • Sun Life Building
  • Maison Alcan
  • Canadian Center for Architecture
City Hall

1) City Hall (must see)

Montreal City Hall is a five-storied flashy building exclusively constructed to house the municipal administration. Built in the second empire style, it is one of the most impressive and spectacular buildings in Old Montreal. It was constructed between 1872 and 1878 as per the designs suggested by architects Alexander Cowper Hutchison and Henri-Maurice Perrault. This building survived a major fire break in 1922 after which architect Louis Parant completely remodeled the same with more robust construction.

The exterior of the building is decorated with attractive turrets, balconies and mansard roofs. You can enjoy an amazing sight of the building in the evenings when it is completely illumined with hundreds of bulbs. The interior is decorated with elegant and exquisite art pieces collected from all over the world. The marble flooring, hand-carved ceiling, stained-glass windows, decorative lampshades and a huge bronze and glass chandelier add to the glamor and beauty of the hall. The hall of honor is very interesting as it displays portraits of all the mayors who have held office.

As opposed to many government buildings where public entry is restricted, Montreal City Hall permits visitors to take a quick 15-minute tour.

Just walk into the City Hall and you'll be given a free tour of the building. There are a handful of tours to choose from, with the schedules clearly visible when you walk in.
Tours are both in French or English, so check the schedule for the language you need.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8:30am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Notre-Dame Basilica

2) Notre-Dame Basilica (must see)

Notre-Dame Basilica is renowned for its lavish, colorful and enticing interiors. It is a stunning example of Gothic Revival style architecture. It took years to complete this majestic structure. The original church was demolished in 1830 and was reconstructed.

The interiors are carved from gilded and painted rare woods. The imported glass windows expertly depict the rich history of Montreal as compared to other churches here where you will only find biblical scenes. The ceiling is deep blue in color and decorated with golden stars. Interior walls of this Basilica are painted in sky blue color offering a stunning effect. Look around and you feel like you are standing under the vast open sky. The impressive paintings, religious statues, exquisite wooden carvings, rich altar and appealing stained glass windows are some of the notable features of this basilica. The 10 bells that toll on special occasions cast a spell on the worshipers. This church was designed by Irish-American architect James O'Donnell.

Pope John Paul II was instrumental in raising the status of Notre-Dame church to a basilica in 1982. This church was also declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1989.

Notre-Dame Basilica has witnessed several grand weddings and funerals of eminent personalities. If you plan on visiting Notre-Dame, do not miss the live concerts in the basilica.

The 'AURA' light show (presented usually at 7 and 9pm) is exceptional but sometimes full so plan your visit: you can book your ticket online or come early before the show timing. Try sitting somewhere in the middle of the basilica – between 50-70% from the front, and more towards the middle to get the best music & light experience.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 8am-4:30pm; Sat: 8am-4pm; Sun: 12:30pm-4pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Pointe-a-Calliere Museum

3) Pointe-a-Calliere Museum (must see)

If you have a penchant for history and its invaluable footprints, then Pointe-à-Callière Museum in Montreal is definitely a place to visit. This museum houses rare collections and artifacts unearthed during a decade of digging. Visit this museum and you can trace the history of this city right from the Natives era.

Pointe-à-Callière Museum was opened in 1992 at the very site where evidences of the origins of Montreal housing were unearthed. This site was instrumental in bringing to focus a thousand years of life and activities of the people of this city. All the remarkable archeological remains are displayed with complete integrity in honor of people who have lived in Montreal through ages.

The mission of the museum is to educate visitors on the heritage of ancient Montreal and its developmental stages that led to the modern era. There are various educative, research, outreach and conservation programs that educate visitors and help them appreciate the rich historical heritage of this city.

Of all the varied sections tracing the history of Montreal, the one on “Where Montreal Began” is very popular and keeps tourists spellbound with its attention to detail. So, if you wish to etch a piece of Montreal history in your memory, Pointe-à-Callière Museum will not leave you disappointed.

Why You Should Visit:
A fun and fascinating introduction to Montreal history!
Specializing in the many component parts of the city's history and combining this with archaeological discoveries provides one of the more unique museum experiences you will find anywhere.

If you have kids it's worth checking the museum website to see what's going on for the little ones.
Note that the museum also has a Bistro with a lovely view, that closes at 4pm.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Montreal World Trade Centre

4) Montreal World Trade Centre

Montreal World Trade Centre is one of the most famous buildings in Montreal. This center is located in Quartier International district, Montreal. The trade center was completed in 1992 by Arcop, one of the most prominent architectural firms in Canada. This is a ten storey building filled with architectural and historical valuables.

Apart from being a rich repository for artifacts, the center houses a huge glass atrium previously known as Fortification Lane. The other main attractions in the building include a preserved piece of the Berlin Wall and a sculpted fountain by the famous French sculptor D-B Guibal, who lived in the seventeenth Century.

Montreal World Trade center is the heart of the city’s commercial platform with offices, stores and restaurants sprawling across the ten floored building. The building also houses the well known Montreal Intercontinental Hotel where tourists from across the world stay on their visit to this city.

Montreal World Trade Centre is connected to Montreal’s Underground City and the metro station Square-Victoria. Because of easy access and central location this center is one of the popular tourist attractions in Montreal. Your tour in Montreal is incomplete without a visit to the famous World Trade Centre.
Sight description based on wikipedia
1000 de la Gauchetiere

5) 1000 de la Gauchetiere

Of all the skyscrapers in the city of Montreal, Canada, 1000 de la Gauchetière is the tallest, touching the city’s approved limit of 205m. This building is 673 feet high and has 51 floors. One of the features that make this a famous tourist attraction is its atrium that has a vast skating rink.

1000 de la Gauchetière was built in 1992 and is an excellent example of postmodern architecture comparable to JPMorgan Chase Tower in the city of Dallas, Texas. A unique feature of this building is its street level design that projects out in a unique style.

The structural core of the building is made of concrete and the rest of the floor plates in steel. There are a total of 22 elevators and as many as 12 corner offices on each floor. Visitors enjoy shopping at the numerous shops and malls. At any given time, you can find thousands of tourists, window shoppers and serious shoppers here.

The major attraction at 1000 de la Gauchetière is of course the indoor skating rink. Apart from this, the center also houses a physical fitness center. 1000 de la Gauchetiere can be easily accessed as it is well connected to the downtown bus terminal and metro stations.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Place Ville-Marie

6) Place Ville-Marie

Place Ville Marie is definitely one of the most majestic buildings in Quebec, Montreal. The modern version of this building was constructed to headquarter the Royal Bank of Canada in 1960.

Place Ville-Marie features a huge underground shopping mall that has over 1600 shops, businesses, offices and restaurants. Apart from this the building is a part of Montreal’s metro station network and features tunnels and suburban transportation terminal.

On your visit to 1932 Place Ville-Marie, you cannot miss out the four horizontal white beams that illuminate the surrounding sky. The complex has recently undergone a facelift wherein a lot of greenery was added on to the terrazzo and to the grey concrete. Parking lot is designed to accommodate at least 900 cars.

Originally, the building was designed by I.M. Pei and Henry N. Cobb. 1932 Place Ville-Marie holds the distinction of being the city’s only cruciform building. The Restaurant Club Lounge Altitude 737 restaurant is located at the penthouse along with a famous nightclub. The nightclub is well known for its unique dance-floor that spans two floors.

If you visit Place Ville-Marie during Christmas, you will find a huge Christmas tree at the central court. Do not miss out the attractive abstract sculpture by Gerald Gladstone called the “Feminine Landscape” located at the center.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Sun Life Building

7) Sun Life Building

On your trip to Montreal, Canada, do not miss a visit to the Sun Life Building. Located in downtown, this historic building is at Dorchester Square across the Central Station and Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

One-block to the west of the building is the Windsor Station. Sun Life Building is strategically located between two major Metro lines. You can access this building by car through Ville-Marie and Bonaventure expressways.

Construction of the building was completed in 1931 in three stages. Constructed especially for the Sun Life Insurance Company, the 24 storied building is 122 meters high.

Construction started in 1913 when the southern part of the base was put in place. Base was further extended north and eastward between 1923 and 1926. By 1931 construction of the 16 storied set back towers was completed.

When the Sun Life Building was completed, it held the distinction of being the most spacious in terms of square foot in the whole of British Empire. Taller buildings have since emerged in Montreal and today this building is the 17th tallest flanked by taller CIBC building and Place Ville-Marie.

If you are a fan of interesting cityscape and architecture, do not miss a visit to this historically significant building in Montreal.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Maison Alcan

8) Maison Alcan

Montreal is a very interesting city with many beautiful and unique tourist attractions. One of the buildings tourists do not miss visiting is the Maison Alcan. This building is popular for its atrium and was constructed in 1983.

Maison Alcan houses the Aluminum Company of Canada. Here you will find a hotel, three historic row houses, the elegant and stunningly beautiful glass atrium connected to the aluminum-clad office structure.

Maison Alcan is extremely popular for its amazing architectural design. Here you will find an aquarium as well as a museum. Spend a leisurely couple of hours and learn in detail about all the structures and houses at Maison Alcan as each one of them has a unique background story.

People in Montreal are fiercely passionate about their old buildings and take great efforts to rehabilitate and maintain them on a constant basis. Many of the old buildings in the city were rehabilitated by the Maison Alcan also known as the Alcan House.

The atrium is built exquisitely in contemporary style and aids with effective communication between the Victorian houses and the historical hotel. Do not miss the hugely impressive main entrance that was rehabilitated to its present version.
Canadian Center for Architecture

9) Canadian Center for Architecture

In keeping with Canada’s impressive architectural tradition, the Canadian center for Architecture was constructed in 1979 by Phyllis Lambert. This is a renowned museum and research center that promotes public understanding and advances knowledge. CCA is also vocal about widening debate and thought on architectural history, practice, theory and its societal relevance.

Canadian center for Architecture has a huge collection of relevant material and provides a host of research opportunities apart from conducting many programs and exhibitions. CCA is instrumental in motivating and inspiring design practice and innovation in architecture.

If you are interested in architecture, CCA is a must visit destination on your trip to Montreal. Check out the unique and extensive range of international research publications, plans, drawings, conceptual studies, architectural archives, photographs, prints, models and related ephemera and artifacts. CCA skillfully documents world architectural culture through its collection starting from the Renaissance period to the present day.

Founder Phyllis Lambert initiated this project that went on to act as a guiding force for interdisciplinary advanced research aimed at revealing the transforming thought and character of the world of architecture.

The year 1997 saw the inauguration of CCA Study center. This institute encourages interdisciplinary research in architectural practice and thought at the international level.

Operation Hours: Wednesday: 11 am - 6 pm; Thursday: 11 am - 9 pm; Friday - Sunday: 11 am - 6 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Montreal, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Montreal

Create Your Own Walk in Montreal

Creating your own self-guided walk in Montreal is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Montreal Introduction Walk II

Montreal Introduction Walk II

Montreal is an old, yet at the same time, modern metropolis, flagship of Canada's Quebec. Sitting on an island in the Saint Lawrence River with Mt. Royal (to which the city owes its name) at its center, Montreal represents a blend of architectural moods, from French colonial to bohemian, and a wealth of cultural trends and notable attractions – historic buildings, parks, museums, galleries...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Old Montreal Walking Tour

Old Montreal Walking Tour

Take a tour to discover the oldest district in Montreal. It features numerous unique houses dating back over 300 years, museums, art galleries and a great choice of fine restaurants and cafés. Here you'll also find two of the most popular churches in Montreal - the Basilique de Notre Dame and the Chapelle de Notre Dame de Bon-Secours. Enjoy exploring the highlights of Old Montreal.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles
Souvenir Shopping Part 3

Souvenir Shopping Part 3

Montreal is an exciting city that features all kinds of entertainment. And if you like shopping, here you can find some of the most beautiful and promising shops and markets. Take this walking tour for a unique shopping experience in Montreal.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Montreal without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Montreal, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 Km or 4.2 Miles
Le Plateau-Mont-Royal Night

Le Plateau-Mont-Royal Night

Montreal is a vibrant, multicultural city, offering fascinating nightlife options. The choice of bars, dance clubs and lounges is fabulous. Take the walking tour suggested below to experience the most exciting nightclubs in Montreal.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Top Museums and Galleries Tour, Montreal

Top Museums and Galleries Tour, Montreal

Montreal is a wonderful city blessed with many examples of great French culture. Among them are Montreal's museums and galleries, which offer a diverse view of the local and international culture that flows through the city. Take this walking tour to explore the most exciting exhibitions of Montreal's museums.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Montreal Souvenirs: 15 Trip Mementos to Bring Home

Montreal Souvenirs: 15 Trip Mementos to Bring Home

The outpost of Frenchness in North America (and the world's 2nd largest francophone city after Paris), Montreal is the meeting point of the New and Old World styles, the collision of the French, English and Aboriginal cultures. The historical and ethnic uniqueness of the city is seen throughout...