A town with many faces
Cobbled streets and glass skyscrapers, both noisy and crazy or calm and relaxing, Montreal well and truly has many faces.
Built between Mount Royal and the St. Lawrence River, Montreal offers a variety of landscapes and environments: its red brick Victorian houses, the quirky atmosphere of the ‘Village', and the trendy streets of the Plateau-Mont-Royal. There is also a huge cultural gap between Old Montreal to the north of the island home to the Old Port, Place Jacques-Cartier, City Hall, the Place d'Armes and Notre Dame and the city centre, where modern skyscrapers soar ever higher, such as 1000 de la Gauchetière, the CIBC tower, and the famous Stock Exchange Tower, designed in 1962 by I.M. Pei (who also designed the Four Seasons in New York and the Louvre Pyramid in Paris).
But the most amazing contrast due to climate extremes is one that separates life ‘above' and life ‘below'. Montreal's underground walk ways vibrate with sustained intensity and are powered by their own economy 30 kilometres of shopping malls, a shopping centre, boutiques, and numerous restaurants. So, Montrealers have invented a new way of life. They live on the surface when the weather is mild, enjoying its green zones (the botanical gardens, or Mount Royal Park) and the countless festivals that have given Montreal an international cultural dimension: the International Jazz Festival, Franco Folies, African Nights… And they live underground in winter, when temperatures outdoors can easily reach -20°C.
In short, whether above or below, walk, entertain yourself, and discover Montreal.