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Montreal, Quebec
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Montreal, Quebec

Ville de Montréal, Québec, Canada
Motto: Concordia Salus (Salvation through harmony)
Area: 500.05 sq. km.
 - Total (2001)
 - Cdn. CD Rank:
 - Cdn. Mun. Rank:
 - Density

Ranked 3rd
Ranked 2nd
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5
45°28' N
73°45' W
See Members of Parliament from Montreal
Line Beauchamp, Lawrence S. Bergman, Michel Bissonnet, André Boisclair, Yvan Bordeleau, André Boulerice, Jacques Chagnon, Russell Copeman, William Cusano, Rita Dionne-Marsolais, Jacques Dupuis, Henri-François Gautrin, Louise Harel, Monique Jérôme-Forget, Geoffrey Kelley, Michèle Lamquin-Éthier, Nicole Léger, Diane Lemieux, Nicole Loiselle, Pierre Marsan, François Ouimet, Couillard Philippe, Yves Séguin, Lise Thérieault, Tony Thomassi, Daniel Turp, (2 vacancies)
MayorGérald Tremblay
Governing bodyMontreal City Council
Ville de Montréal

For other places named "Montreal", see Montreal (disambiguation)

Montreal (French, Montréal) is the largest city in the province of Quebec, Canada. It is also Canada's second most populated city after Toronto (Statistics Canada), and the world's second largest francophone city after Paris.

Montreal is situated in the southwest of the province, approximately 200 km southwest of the provincial capital Quebec City and 150 km east of Ottawa, the federal capital, located in the neighbouring province of Ontario, at 45°30 north, 73°35 west, in the Eastern Time Zone (UTC-5).

Montreal sits on the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and Ottawa River; the island divides the Saint Lawrence between the main channel and Rivière des Prairies. The city also includes a total of 74 nearby islands such as Île des Soeurs, Île Bizard;, Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame. The city occupies an area of 482.84 km2.

Table of contents
1 Demographics
2 History
3 Climate
4 Economy and transportation
5 Places in Montreal
6 Education
7 Sports
8 See also
9 External links


3,511,800 people (Montrealers; French, Montréalais) live in the greater Montreal area (Statistics Canada 2001), which includes the cities of Laval and Longueuil among others. The current mayor of Montreal is Gérald Tremblay.

The city of Montreal per se is home to about 1.6 million people, after the demerger referendum of June 2004, which has force of law on January 1, 2006.

The majority of Montrealers are French speakers. As with all major North American cities, however, a great number of people have a different first language from the majority. About 18.4% of the population of the Greater Montreal Area are of allophone mother tongue and 13.8% are native anglophone. On the island of Montreal, the percentage of anglophones rises to 18.8% while that of allophones reaches 27.7%. A majority of allophones speak French or English as a second language. A May 2004 survey noted that 53% of the people in Montreal speak both French and English, while 37% speak only French and 7% speak only English.

While the official language of Montreal is French, services are also commonly offered in English in downtown and tourist areas as well as in areas designated as bilingual boroughs. The city has well-rooted Italian, Jewish, Greek, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Haitian and Portuguese communities, as well as a sample of numerous other cultures from around the world.


Main article: History of Montreal

An Iroquois fort, Hochelaga, was already on the island when Jacques Cartier arrived on October 2, 1535. Samuel de Champlain visited again in 1603, but the French did not settle until 1642, when a group of priests, nuns, and colonists under Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve founded the village of Ville-Marie on May 17 of that year. One of the members of this group of settlers was Jeanne Mance, who, in 1644, founded the Hôtel-Dieu, the first hospital in North America.

The village grew and became an important centre of the fur trade. It was the jumping-off point for the French exploration of the interior by such explorers as Jolliet, La Salle, La Vérendrye, and Duluth.

The town was fortified in 1725 and remained French until 1760, when Pierre de Cavagnal, Marquis de Vaudreuil surrendered it to the British army under Lord Geoffrey Amherst.

A fire destroyed one quarter of the town on May 18, 1765.

The town remained populated by a majority of Francophones until around the 1830s. From the 1830s, to about 1865, it was inhabited by a majority of Anglophones, most of recent immigration from the British Isles or other parts of British North America.

Montreal was incorperated as a city in 1832. The city's growth was spurred by the opening of the Lachine Canal, which permitted ships to pass by the unnavigable Lachine Rapids south of the island. Montreal was the capital of the Province of Canada from 1844 to 1849. In 1852, Montreal had 58,000 inhabitants.

From 1861 to the Great Depression of 1930, Montreal went through what some historians call its golden age. What is today Old Montreal was then the most important economic centre of the Dominion of Canada.

The Canadian Pacific Railway made its headquarters here in 1880, and the Canadian National Railway in 1919.

With the annexation of neighbouring towns between 1883 and 1918, Montreal became a mostly Francophone city again. The tradition to alternate between a francophone and an anglophone mayor began and lasted until 1914.

Its international status was cemented by the World's Fair in 1967 (Expo '67) and the summer Olympics in 1976. Montreal now constitutes one of the regions of Quebec.

As of January 1, 2002, the entire island of Montreal, home to 1.8 million people, as well as the several outlying islands that were also part of the Montreal Urban Community, were merged into a new "megacity". Some 27 suburbs as well as the former city were folded into several boroughs, named after their former cities or (in the case of parts of the former Montreal) districts.

On June 20, 2004, a number of those former cities voted to demerge from Montreal and regain their municipal status, although not with all the powers they once had. Baie-d'Urfé, Beaconsfield, Côte-Saint-Luc, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Dorval, Hampstead, Kirkland, L'Île-Dorval, Montréal-Est, Montréal-Ouest, Mont-Royal, Pointe-Claire, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Senneville, and Westmount voted to demerge. The demergers will come into effect on 1 January 2006.

Anjou, LaSalle, L'Île-Bizard, Pierrefonds, Roxboro, Sainte-Geneviève, and Saint-Laurent had a majority in favour of demerger, but the turnout was insufficient to permit demerger, so those former municipalities will remain part of Montreal. No referendum was held in Lachine, Montréal-Nord, Outremont, Saint-Léonard, or Verdun - nor in any of the boroughs that were part of the former city of Montreal.

Origin of the name

; and 1250 René-Lévesque (far right).]] Montreal was named for the island of Montreal, which in turn was named for Mount Royal.

It is not certain how the name changed from Mont Royal to Mont Réal. In 1556, Italian geographer G.B. Ramusio translated Mont Royal to Monte Reale in a map. In 1575, François de Belleforest became the first to write Montreal, writing:

... au milieu de la compaigne est le village, ou Cité royale iointe à vne montaigne cultivée, laquelle ville les Chrestiens appellerent Montreal..
"In the middle of the field is the village or royal colony near a cultivated mountain. Christians call this town Montreal."

During the early 18th century, the name of the island came to be used as the name of the town. Two 1744 maps by Nicolas Bellin name the island Isle de Montréal and the town, Ville-Marie; but a 1726 map refers to the town as "la ville de Montréal." The name Ville-Marie soon fell into disuse to refer to the town, though today it is used to refer to the Montreal borough that includes downtown.

In the modern Iroquois language, Montreal is called Tiohtià:ke. Other native languages, such as Algonquin, refer to it as Moniang.



Thanks to competing climactic influences, Montreal's climate is extremely variable (both by season and from day to day) and is considered by its citizens a part of the character of the city.

Precipitation is common throughout the year, with extensive snowfall in the winter (usually about two metres per year) and regular rainfall throughout the year. Frequent thundershowers make summer the wettest season statistically, but it is also the sunniest.

Significant temperature fluctuations are common, especially during winter and the transition before and after. Maximum temperatures in winter are usually below 0°C, with minimum temperatures usually around -15°C, but falling as low as -37°C. In addition, the wind chill can often make it feel even colder. In summer, the daily high averages around 25°C, but occasional heat waves can raise it as high as 35°C. Moderate to high humidity is common in the summer, making it feel even hotter. In spring and fall, temperatures and precipitation amounts are generally more moderate, although some snow in spring and fall is normal. Similarly, early heat waves as well as "Indian summer" are a regular feature of the climate.

Despite its challenging climate, the Montreal region supports a diverse array of plants and wildlife. The maple is one of the most common trees, and the sugar maple in particular is an enduring symbol of Montreal and Quebec, thanks to the production of maple syrup.

Economy and transportation

Once the largest city in Canada, Montreal remains a vibrant major centre of commerce, industry, culture, finance, and world affairs. Montreal is a major port city, being at the start of the Saint Lawrence Seaway a deep-draft inland waterway which links it to the industrial centres of the Great Lakes. As one of the most important ports in Canada, it is a transshipment point for grain, sugar, petroleum products, machinery, and consumer goods. For this reason, it is part of the railway backbone of Canada and has always been an extremely important rail city.

The city has two international airports. The primary airport is Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (formerly Montreal-Dorval) in the Dorval-L'Île-Dorval; borough, which serves all commercial passenger traffic. Further from the city is Montreal-Mirabel International Airport in Mirabel, which was envisioned as Montreal's primary airport but which now serves only cargo flights.

The Montreal Metro is a metro system, inaugurated in 1966 in time for the Expo 67 World's Fair held in the city the following year. See List of Montreal metro stations. Montreal is also served by a commuter rail system, which is managed and operated by the Agence métropolitaine de transport.

As is the case of cities, an important problem for Montreal is vehicular traffic, especially from off-island suburbs such as Laval on Île Jésus;, and especially Longueuil on the south shore. The width of the Saint Lawrence River has made the construction of fixed links to the south shore expensive and difficult. Accordingly there are only four road bridges (plus one road tunnel, two railway bridges, and a metro line), whereas the Rivière des Prairies is spanned by eight road bridges (six to Laval and two to the north shore). See List of Montreal bridges.

Montreal industries include pharmaceuticals, high technology, textile and clothing manufacturing, electronic goods, transportation devices, printed goods, fabric, and tobacco.

Places in Montreal

The city's downtown area sits at the foot of Mount Royal, the origin of its name, whose forested top is a major urban green space. Southeast of downtown is Old Montreal, a historic centre with such attractions as the Old Port, Place Jacques-Cartier, City Hall, Place d'Armes, and Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica.

from Île Sainte-Hélène;]]

Downtown contains dozens of skyscrapers including 1000 de La Gauchetière, 1250 René-Lévesque, and Ieoh Ming Pei's Place Ville-Marie. This cruciform office tower (1962) sits atop an underground shopping mall which forms the nexus of the Underground City (Ville souterraine), one of the world's largest, with indoor access to over 1600 shops, restaurants, offices, and businesses, as well as Metro stations, transportation terminuses, and tunnels extending all over downtown.

Montreal was host of the most successful World's Fair in history (Expo '67) in 1967, and of the 1976 Summer Olympics. The Olympic Stadium has the world's tallest inclined tower, and is the home of the Montreal Expos baseball team. Montreal is also home to the Montreal Canadiens, the locally revered hockey team which is among the most celebrated teams in North American sports.

Montreal is a major centre of Québécois and Canadian culture. It boasts a Museum of Fine Arts, a Museum of Contemporary Art, and a variety of historical, crafts, and specialized museums such as the Redpath Museum of Natural History and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The Place des Arts cultural complex houses the Museum of Contemporary Art and several theatres, and is the seat of the Montreal Opera and usual residence of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (which is scheduled to receive a new concert hall adjacent to Place des Arts). The east-end Olympic complex includes a modern ecology museum, an insectarium, and the Jardin Botanique de Montréal, one of the largest botanical gardens in the world (second only to Kew Gardens in England).

Nicknamed 'the city of saints,' Montreal is renowned for its wealth of beautiful churches. Mark Twain once remarked, "This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window." The city contains four Roman Catholic basilicas: Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral, Notre-Dame Basilica, St. Patrick's Basilica, and St. Joseph's Oratory. This last is the largest church in Canada, with the largest dome of its kind in the world after that of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. Other well-known churches include pilgrimage church of Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Secours (called the Sailors' Church), and the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral, which was completely excavated and "suspended" in mid-air during the construction of part of the Underground City. All of the above are major tourist destinations, particularly Notre-Dame and the Oratory.

Other notable buildings include the Biosphere (a geodesic dome) and Habitat '67, both legacies of Expo.

Montreal is the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations body.

Montreal has a small Chinatown (le quartier chinois), just south of the city core. It is home to Chinese shops and restaurants, as well as a certain number of Vietnamese establishments.

Notable Montrealers

Parliamentary representation

Members of Parliament
Riding MP Riding MP Riding MP
Ahuntsic Eleni BakopanosLac-Saint-Louis Francis ScarpaleggiaPapineau Pierre Pettigrew
Bourassa Denis CoderreLaSalle—Émard; Paul MartinPierrefonds—Dollard; Bernard Patry
Hochelaga Réal MénardLaurier Gilles DuceppeRosemont—La Petite-Patrie; Bernard Bigras
Honoré-Mercier Pablo RodriguezMount Royal Irwin CotlerSaint-Laurent—Cartierville; Stéphane Dion
Jeanne-Le Ber Liza FrullaNotre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine; Marlene JenningsSaint-Léonard—Saint-Michel; Massimo Pacetti
La Pointe-de-l'Île Francine LalondeOutremont Jean LapierreWestmount—Ville-Marie; Lucienne Robillard

Visitor's guide

Montreal is informally known as a party city. This may be due to the number of students and pubs. First time visitors wanting to discover Montreal's nightlife should travel down two streets: boulevard Saint-Laurent and rue Sainte-Catherine.

Boulevard Saint-Laurent, known as "the Main", runs through Montreal from south to north and has many sights such as historical restaurants, pubs, and clubs. The street runs from Chinatown up close against the mountain and passes through the Plateau Mont-Royal district (a recently gentrified area).

Rue Sainte-Catherine is an east-west street that passes straight through the downtown core. There are many boutiques and restaurants, as well as strip clubs (which are legal and regulated in Montreal).

Rue Saint-Denis, a street six blocks east of boulevard Saint-Laurent, and the old port area situated next to the river, are also prized destinations for tourists as well as locals.

Rue Crescent is a relatively small south-to-north street that crosses Rue Sainte-Catherine near downtown's westernmost extremity. It houses a variety of more upscale night-clubs and terrasses, including Montreal's Hard Rock Café.

Montreal is also home to several internationally known dance companies including Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and La La La Human Steps.

Street system

Orientation and numbering

As Montreal is on an island; the directions Montrealers use in navigating the city do not precisely correspond with compass directions, but are oriented to the geography of the island. The convention for the use of compass directions is that the St. Lawrence River flows west to east; in reality, it flows from the southwest toward the northeast.

North and south directions are defined as roughly perpendicular to the St. Lawrence River and the Rivière des Prairies. North is toward the Rivière des Prairies; south is toward the St. Lawrence River. On north–south streets, house numbers begin at one at the St. Lawrence River and increase to the north.

East and west directions are defined as roughly parallel to the St. Lawrence River and the Rivière des Prairies. East is downstream; west is upstream. Boulevard Saint-Laurent divides Montreal into east and west sectors. Streets that lie on both sides of boulevard Saint-Laurent are divided into two parts, which have "East" (est) or "West" (ouest) appended to their names. Streets that lie on only one side of boulevard Saint-Laurent do not generally contain a direction in their names. House numbers begin at one at boulevard Saint-Laurent. East of it, numbers increase to the east; west of it, numbers increase to the west.

Odd numbers are on the east or north sides of the street; even, west or south. Numbered streets generally run north and south, and the street numbers increase to the east.

The municipalities annexed to Montreal in 2002 do not follow this system, except for Verdun and Montréal-Nord.


According to the rules of the Commission de toponymie du Québec, the French-language form of street names is the only official one, and is to be used in any language: e.g. chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges; rue Sainte-Catherine; côte du Beaver Hall. Many English speakers, however, use English generics (such as "street" or "road"). Officially bilingual boroughs have the right to use such names in official contexts, such as on street signs.

In the past, a number of streets had both English and French names, such as avenue des Pins or Pine Avenue, rue Saint-Jacques or St. James Street, rue de la Montagne or Mountain Street. Some of these names are still in common colloquial use in English.

There are many streets whose French names incorporate an English specific, such as chemin Queen Mary, rue University, avenue McGill College. There are also a few cases where two names are official, such as chemin du Bord-du-Lac/chemin Lakeshore.


Montreal has one of the highest per-capita populations of post-secondary students of any large city in North America, due to its four urban universities:



Montreal is the site of the Canadian Grand Prix, a Formula 1 auto race held annually at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame. On July 13, 1982, Montreal hosted the first baseball All-Star Game outside the United States.

  North: Laval, Terrebonne, Repentigny  
West: Vaudreuil-Dorion, Île-Perrot Montreal East: Longueuil
  South: Kahnawake  

See also

External links

Regional County Municipalities of Quebec
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