Montreal Introduction Walk I (Self Guided), Montreal

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 and more. To appreciate Montreal in its entirety, take this orientation walk and enjoy yourself in this beautiful city to the fullest!
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Montreal Introduction Walk I Map

Guide Name: Montreal Introduction Walk I
Guide Location: Canada » Montreal (See other walking tours in Montreal)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: alice
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Ste-Catherine Street
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • McCord Museum
  • Redpath Museum
  • Sherbrooke Street
  • Maison Alcan
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Crescent Street
  • Les Cours Mont-Royal
  • Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde
  • Place Ville-Marie
  • Underground City
1
Ste-Catherine Street

1) Ste-Catherine Street

Sainte Catherine Street is a renowned thoroughfare in downtown Montreal. In fact, downtown is often identified with this street. It stretches for 15 kilometers from east to west across the city. You can find a wide range of shops, departmental stores, shopping malls and restaurants here.

Christ Church Cathedral is located in Ste-Catherine Street on top of a shopping mall called Promenades Cathedrale. The church is a historical monument and was designated as a national historic site of Canada. The street is also home to other churches like Saint James United Church and St James the Apostle Anglican Church.

If you are interested in roadside shopping, it is worth driving through Gay Village that extends along Ste. Catherine Street. The street is closed to traffic during the summer months, so it is practically a large pedestrian area. Many stores sell their wares outside. Restaurants and bars serve delicious food varieties and beverages. Gay Village offers tourists an unforgettable experience. You can also enjoy being a part of special events and festivals organized in this Village.

At any part of the year, Sainte Catherine Street is abuzz with activities. Walk along the street and you cannot miss the music in the air with performers playing on instruments, dancing and singing with gusto. If you wish to have a glimpse of the funky side of Montrealers, visit this street on your trip to this city.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Christ Church Cathedral

2) Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral, built in 1859, is a classic example of neo-Gothic architecture, designed by British architect Frank Wills. The original Christ Church in old Montreal was established in 1814, but was destroyed by fire in 1856. The present church is located at the heart of Montreal’s commercial area. This is the only cathedral that has re-invented itself as per modern day settings with its impressive shopping mall below. To the north of the church, there is a 34 floor skyscraper. Other prominent buildings in proximity include the McGill University and KPMG building.

The last decade has witnessed a lot of important restoration and renovation work on the area costing millions of dollars. This has been made possible by the generous infrastructure grants and support from the federal government as well as the Quebec religious heritage foundation. The government declared Christ Church Cathedral a historic monument and a National historic site of Canada in 1999.

The prominent features of the cathedral include a choir gallery, a square shaped crossing tower, music practice rooms, Cathedral’s Sunday school and a drop-in center.

On your trip to Montreal, enjoy a visit to this impressive cathedral that stands as a testimony to the great Christian art of ancient times.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
McCord Museum

3) McCord Museum

McCord museum was inaugurated in 1921. It was a pet project of a passionate collector David Ross McCord. It is located near McGill University in downtown Montreal. The museum contains more than 1,375,000 archeological objects, paintings, manuscripts and images that showcase Canadian history in-depth.

Simply Montreal is a permanent exhibition in McCord Montreal that allows you to discover Montreal as it is. You can find a wide variety of first nation objects, photographs, gowns and toys. The exhibition also features interactive installations.

Browse through the costumes and textiles collection at the McCord Museum. This extensive collection boasts of dresses, suits, coats and gowns worn by women, men and children over the last three centuries. Photographic archives contain more than 1,300,000 photographs, which gives you a deep understanding of the history of Montreal and Canada from 1840s.

Do not miss the decorative arts collection in the museum, which features a wide selection of furniture, ceramics, sports equipment and sculpture made in ancient times.

McCord museum is a great place for family activities as well. Many activities are conducted every month, which include Mother’s day tea time, live storytelling and arts and crafts.

Opening Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10 am - 6 pm; Wednesday: 10 am - 9 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Redpath Museum

4) Redpath Museum (must see)

Redpath Museum came into existence in 1882 and is one of the oldest buildings in the country constructed for the very purpose it serves today. This museum has an extensive collection of Sir William Dawson. He was a well known natural scientist and principal of McGill.

Redpath has always been appreciated for its unique design. It is built along the lines of the Greek Revival Style which was popular in the 1800s. At this museum, you can find a whopping three million object collection in different genres such as ethnology, zoology, geology, paleontology, and mineralogy.

The permanent exhibition here features one shrunken head, 16,000 specimens of minerals, 3 Egyptian mummies, 2300 Roman and Greek coins and 150,000 fossils that include bones of dinosaurs.

A science myth is busted by McGill scientist every Friday called Freaky Fridays at the museum. Those who are interested attend free, informative lectures at the Redpath Auditorium. Visit the museum on a Sunday when science documentaries are screened at 4pm. If you are interested in attending lecture series given by prominent McGill and other scientists, be at the Redpath on Thursdays at 6 pm.

Between September and April, Redpath Museum holds interesting and exciting family events such as Discovery Workshops. Kids of any age enjoy participating in hands-on activities that are related to science. If you are in Montreal on a Sunday, do take part in the mummy tour. This guided tour is offered to the public free of cost. Beginning at 3 pm, the tour takes you through mummy and Egyptian exhibits.

Why You Should Visit:
If you are interested in minerals/rocks you'll be in heaven, but there are plenty of other things to appreciate and learn. How can you go wrong with mummies, shrunken heads and fossils of everything?

Tip:
You can visit the museum for free but a donation is welcomed.

Operation Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm; Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Sherbrooke Street

5) Sherbrooke Street

Sherbrooke Street is a major east-west artery and at 31.3 kilometers (19.4 mi) in length, is the second longest street on the Island of Montreal. The street is divided into two portions. Sherbrooke Street East is located east of Saint Laurent Boulevard and Sherbrooke Street West is located west. Sherbrooke Street West is home to many historic mansions that comprised its exclusive Golden Square Mile district, including the now-demolished Van Horne Mansion, the imposing Beaux-Arts style Montreal Masonic Memorial Temple as well as several historic properties incorporated into Maison Alcan, the world headquarters for Alcan.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Maison Alcan

6) 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.
7
Museum of Fine Arts

7) Museum of Fine Arts (must see)

Located in Montreal, this museum has an extensive range of encyclopedic collection. The museum displays unique exhibition designs through its temporary exhibitions in fields such as film, music, fine arts, design, and fashion.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is the oldest art museum in Canada and was founded in 1860. James Ross, a businessman, through his large donation, facilitated the movement of this museum in 1912 to its present location at Sherbrooke Street’s mile-long historic Golden Square.

You will find this museum divided into three pavilions. The Beaux Arts building, now named as the Reneta Hornstein and Michal Pavilion was designed by Edward Maxwell and his brother William Sutherland Maxwell. This pavilion especially features artworks from Quebec history.

Across the street, you will find the Jean-Noel Desmarais modernist pavilion constructed in 1991 based on Moshe Safdie’s design. Here you will find an extensive collection of exquisite artworks from around the world. The third pavilion is the Liliane and David M. Stewart Pavilion.

The Hornstein and Desmarais Pavilions together have a collection of over 30,000 pieces of artworks.

Why You Should Visit:
If you're happy to discover artists you are not already familiar with or to stop and spend time with at least one masterpiece, this place is a good choice for you.
The masterpiece is the museum's Rembrandt – perhaps the best, most loving portrait of a female you will see by Rembrandt.
The Inuit & African exhibitions are well worth seeing, too!

Tip:
The new Peace Pavilion, which houses European art, has a very special room on the main floor where the walls are alive with trees swaying in the wind, bird calls, and even a rabbit or two hopping by if you sit still long enough.
Also, check the special exhibitions which are often not to be missed!

Opening Hours:
Tue, Thu-Sun: 10am-5pm; Wed: 10am-9pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Crescent Street

8) Crescent Street

Crescent Street (rue Crescent) is a southbound street located in downtown Montreal, Quebec. Running perpendicular to Saint Catherine Street, Crescent Street descends from Sherbrooke Street south to René Lévesque Boulevard. North of De Maisonneuve Boulevard, one can find many luxury boutiques and art galleries in a Victorian architectural setting. To the south of de Maisonneuve the concentration of nightclubs, bars and restaurants makes Crescent Street one Montreal's most well-known nightlife strips. The street which opened around 1860, was originally in the form of a crescent, and was located just north of Dorchester Boulevard. Crescent Street is home mostly to pubs and restaurants. One such business is the popular Lebanese restaurant Boustan, located north of De Maisonneuve Boulevard. Crescent Street was also home to the famous Russian restaurant The Troika which closed in April 2012 and has now been replaced by the Brass Door Pub & Grill. Crescent street merchants hold an annual street fair, known as the Grand Prix Festival, the week prior to the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix with open air free concerts, terrasses for the bars into the streets, street vendors, and racing displays. This festival un-officially kicks off Montreal's festival season. Crescent Street is alive with culture and nightlife, a place where locals and tourists gather for shopping, great food, and entertainment. The place is also visited a lot by famous people and by those who enjoy all kind of nightlife. With its hospitality, lodging, and a wide selection of gathering places, Cresent Street is the center of excitement in Montreal.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Les Cours Mont-Royal

9) Les Cours Mont-Royal (must see)

A lot of fun and excitement is in store for you at Downtown Montreal, such as the popular upscale shopping center Cours Mont-Royal. It was in 1988 that the Mount Royal Hotel was converted to a shopping mall and has since been offering discerning customers a range of designer brands.

On your trip to Montreal, browse through the exclusive boutiques and shop for your favorite fashion clothes and accessories. This shopping mall offers a great ambiance and a unique shopping experience for men and women.

Mount Royal Hotel was constructed in 1922, designed by a prominent architectural firm Ross and MacDonald. This hotel featured 1,100 rooms and was the largest in the British Empire at that time.

The French name Les Cours originates from the fact that the shopping mall is organized around four courts. David Ruben Piqtoukun, a popular artist, is the author of six bird-human sculptures that are placed under the main skylight.

Go right up to the top of the building and you will find luxury condos on many floors. All condos have separate entrances and elevators and are completely independent of the mall. As it is connected to the underground network of transportation hubs, hotels and shopping centers of the city, you can access this building through the Peel Metro Station.

Enjoy shopping for your favorite clothes, or watch events, such as fashion shows, after a unique Montreal spa experience at Cours Mont-Royal.

Why You Should Visit:
The architecture inside truly is gorgeous, and the boutiques are for the most part classy and high-end, but you may also find some unique places that sell reasonably priced items...

Tip:
Stop by the Barbie Expo – a unique large display of over 1,000 dolls spanning different eras, wearing outfits from major designers including Dior and Givenchy.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed: 10am-6pm; Thu-Fri: 10am-9pm; Sat: 10am-5pm; Sun: 12pm-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde

10) Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde (must see)

Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is the third largest and the most beautiful church in Montreal. It is said to be the scaled-down version of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Designed as its one-fourth scale model, the church definitely retains the grandeur and magnificence, along with a controversial and significant history.

It took almost 20 years to build this church and, after its completion in 1894, it was sanctified as St. James Cathedral. It was then rededicated to Mary, Queen of the World in 1955. The cathedral was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 2006.

The marvelous interior closely resembles the interiors of St. Peter’s. Enter the church and the first thing you will notice is the high altar with a permanent canopy of state over it. You will also be impressed with the appealing exterior that features magnificent statues of 13 patron saints. The crucifix of the church, sculpted by Philippe Hébert, is the most notable piece of religious culture in Montreal.

The cathedral’s narthex and esplanade have undergone drastic changes in the past few years. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Montreal. Do not miss a visit to this Cathedral on your trip to the city. You will definitely be spellbound by its beauty and piety.

Why You Should Visit:
Peaceful and ornate, this Cathedral will make you feel as if you are in an old basilica in Europe.

Tip:
Don't forget to check the gift shop that has many unique gift and jewelry items.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 7am-6:15pm; Sat-Sun: 7:30am-6:15pm; Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
11
Place Ville-Marie

11) 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
12
Underground City

12) Underground City (must see)

Officially known as La Ville Souterraine in French, Montreal’s Underground City is frequented by tourists from all over the world. Here you can find a set of complexes in Downtown Montreal interconnected below and above the ground. This is the largest complex of its kind in the world and is also known as the Indoor City.

Underground City was created based on urbanist Vincent Ponte’s vision. In 2006 November, a commemorative plaque was unveiled at Place Ville-Marie in his honor. As you browse around this city, you will find that some portions of it are above ground, too.

They are connected by tunnels and have excellent lighting. Both under and above the ground are air-conditioned and most tunnels are large enough to accommodate shops on both sides. Banks, condominiums, hotels, apartment buildings, shopping malls, seven metro stations, universities, museums, Bell center amphitheater and arena, a regional bus terminal and two commuter train stations operate from the 32 km tunnels spread over 12 square kilometers.

You can access the Underground City from at least 120 exterior access points. Underground City is used by at least 500,000 people every day during winter.

Why You Should Visit:
Shop, eat & drink and walk to another part of town, all out of the weather! Very clean, well lit/ventilated and dry (even when the rain is pouring above).

Tip:
There is a revolving restaurant on the top floor which is worth a visit for lunch as the views are fantastic.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed: 9:30am-6pm; Thu-Fri: 9:30am-9pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Montreal, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Montreal

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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
Souvenir Shopping Part 3

Souvenir Shopping Part 3

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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
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

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Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.8 Km or 4.2 Miles
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Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 Km or 3.3 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

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