Observe a city with a strong French influence that loves festivals, the arts, delicious food, living well, and having a good time.
Montréal, which has one of the most vibrant food scenes in North America, is filled with temples to foods like Arctic char, Kamouraska lamb, and, of course, poutine (fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy). Tempting patisseries, English pubs, Jewish delis that are more than 80 years old, and exquisite food markets evocative of Paris can all be found here. There are numerous vegetarian restaurants, hipster bars with tiny bowling alleys, and cafes galore where you can idle away a lazy afternoon. And there are late-night restaurants where you can linger over amazing cuisine and drink concoctions you’ll find no where else.
Montréal continues to be the cultural powerhouse of Canada, despite Toronto being its economic hub. The city, which represents a whole linguistic and cultural identity—Francophone Canada—simply thrives on the idea of public art celebration. Over 90 festivals, 250 theatre and dance groups, and a fascinating jumble of districts all contribute to the city’s illustrious history as a major cultural hub. The festival’s main attraction is the International Jazz Festival of Montréal, which is followed by celebrations of comedy and international cinema.
Montréal is a slice of old Europe and alluring contemporary architecture design. A day’s stroll could include Old Montréal’s picturesque 18th-century façade before a bicycle tour of the charming Canal de Lachine, or it could meander through downtown’s glitzy stores and eateries before arriving at the pleasant terraced cafes of Plateau Mont-Royal. The stunning Basilique Notre-Dame is only one of the city’s many historic cathedrals. Other 20th-century landmarks include the Stade Olympique and Habitat 67. The hotels and institutions in Montréal also push the limits of modern interior design.
The winter characterises much of Quebecois’ lives, which slow down and become more alone in the grip of those protracted, dark months, while they also enjoy their summers and the hues of the autumn. That being said, the joie de vivre that fuels Canadian Francophones is not fully extinguished by the cold but is instead enjoyed by warm fires, in welcoming bars, at steamy sugar shacks, and, of course, on the mountain slopes of the nearby mountains on skis, snowboards, and toboggans.