Tourist Attractions

The conference hotel on Mountain Street in downtown Montreal is just one street over from popular Crescent Street with its lively restaurants and pubs. It’s a 150 m walk up to rue Sainte-Catherine, the main shopping and entertainment street. Note: In downtown Montreal up means towards the mountain and away from the river, also sometimes called north although it is actually closer to west. A five minute walk gets you up to Sherbrooke Street and the Museum of Fine Arts with its excellent permanent art collection. It’s always pleasant and safe to walk around Montreal.

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Among North American cities, Montreal stands out for its distinct architecture and historical buildings. The old churches are among the most impressive, including Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral and Saint Patrick’s Basilica in the downtown area and Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal. Perched near one of the summits of the mountain is the more modern and huge St. Joseph’s Oratory; it will be on the itinerary of the conference excursion.

Canadian and American tourists flock to Old Montreal, which they see as having a European charm and lots of activities. A 20 minute metro ride takes you to the semi-white-elephant Olympic Stadium. You can go up to the top of its inclined tower for a good view. Next door is the Biodome with several ecosystems, from tropical to Canadian to Antarctic; the highlight is the penguins. Across Sherbrooke Street is the beautiful and world renowned Botanical Garden with a vast greenhouse and outdoor gardens including the Japanese the Chinese with bonsai and penjing.

Gamblers might go the Casino on Notre-Dame Island. Outdoors types could walk all day on the paths of Mount Royal Park (it’s actually a hill 230 m high). Also walk through the cemetery which occupies half the summit of the mountain; with more than a million graves, we sometimes say there are more people lying there than standing in Montreal. The young and adventurous might want to try white-water rafting on the Lachine Rapids. Just south of Montreal across the Mercier Bridge is the Kahnawake Indian Reserve, populated by Mohawks, where one can visit the shrine of Kateri Tekakwitha who recently became a Roman Catholic saint.

Farther afield, it is 200 km to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, 250 km to historic Quebec City and 670 km to Niagara Falls.