Montreal: The city, the party!

More About Montreal

Founded in 1642 on the banks of the St-Laurent River, Montréal is the 8th largest city in America and it’s biggest francophone metropolis. Montréal never fails to charm with its irresistibly unique blend of European chic, avant-garde attitude and North American urban effervescence. In this vibrant metropolis of culture and fine dining, skyscrapers soar next to craft shops, and visitors and locals alike enjoy the world-renowned international festivals as well as emerging independent events and it also harbors one of the world’s most thrilling nightlifes.

Montreal is the most bilingual city in Quebec and Canada with 56% of the population able to speak both English and French. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. Montreal hosted the 1967 International and Universal Exposition and the Summer Olympics in 1976. It is the annual host of the World Film Festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival, the Montreal en lumière and Grand Prix F1 of Canada. The Hockey Club Montreal Canadiens have elected domicile since its creation in 1909. Its historic district, Old Montreal was declared a historic district in 1964.

Montreal was named a UNESCO City of Design. Historically the commercial capital of Canada, it was surpassed in population and economic strength by Toronto in the 1970s. It remains an important centre of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, gaming, film and world affairs. In 2009, Montreal was named North America’s leading host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

What to do?

Old Montreal and Old port
Explore the birthplace of a great metropolis in the Americas, founded in 1642.
“Old Montréal is the perfect place for a trip back in time. The old cobbled streets, witnesses to the city’s origins, are today lined with art galleries, shops and elegant buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Old Port, meanwhile, is where skaters, cyclists, runners and families gather, in summer as well as winter.”

Notre-Dame Basilica – Métro Place-d’Armes
With its sculpted wood interior, paintings, sculptures and stained glass windows, this church is a true jewel in Montréal’s religious-heritage crown.
“A masterwork of Gothic Revival architecture, Notre-Dame Basilica was built between 1824 and 1829. Inside, a wealth of artworks illustrate the history of the parish and of Montréal society. Evenings, don’t miss the sound-and-light show that recounts the founding of Montréal and the Basilica.”

Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History – Métro Place-d’Armes
On the very spot where the city was founded, this museum tells the archeological story of Montréal from the 14th century to today.
“A national historic site, Pointe-à-Callière is a chance to discover such riches as Native artifacts, the city’s first Catholic cemetery, its first marketplace, while the multimedia show brings the city’s past to life in a whole new light.”

Underground city – McGill métro
Spread out beneath the downtown core are 33 km of connecting passageways, plazas and meeting places: Montréal’s underground city.
“Some 500,000 people use this extensive pedestrian network every day. It is home to about 2,000 retail outlets and 200 restaurants. The network also connects to 10 major hotels, museums, concert halls, university campuses, eight métro stations as well as train and bus stations.”

Casino de Montréal – Métro Jean-Drapeau, 777 bus
Your ticket to great entertainment with gaming tables, slot machines, and fine dining all under the same roof.
“With nearly 100 game tables and some 3,000 slot machines, Montréal’s casino offers up one of the most varied gaming experiences in North America. It is home to bars with sleek modern design as well as four restaurants with stunning views of the city.”

Mount Royal Park – Métro Mont-Royal, 11 bus
This splendid woodland is a haven for birds, crisscrossed by walking trails and featuring lookouts that offer superb views of Montréal.
Inaugurated in 1876, Mount Royal Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also gave the world New York’s Central Park. It is an ideal place to admire a wide variety of plants and birds, and for enjoying all kinds of outdoor activities

Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal – Métro Côte-des-Neiges
This majestic structure, with its impressive dome, attracts pilgrims from all over the world.
“Perched on the slopes of Mount Royal, the sanctuary of Saint Joseph’s Oratory is one of the world’s most-visited pilgrimage sites. The imposing edifice, topped by a 97-metre dome, contrasts sharply with the slight stature of its founder, Saint André of Montréal (formerly Brother André), the humble doorkeeper who inspired its construction in 1904.”

Space for Life – Métro Pie-IX
Four institutions form a place where nature and science are honoured, and visitors can better understand, and learn to protect, our planet’s biodiversity.
“Montreal Botanical Garden: A magnificent 75-hectare oasis where some 22,000 plant species and cultivars flourish in various themed gardens. Biodôme de Montréal: An impressively realistic life-size re-creation of five of the most picturesque ecosystems in the Americas. Montréal Insectarium: The fascinating world of insects is revealed in this collection of thousands of living and naturalized specimens. Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium: The cosmos is unveiled in all its splendour under the huge dome of the Théâtre des étoiles.”

Photo credit: Sebastien Gauthier

Eat and Drink in Montreal

There are many excellent places to get a drink in Montreal, all of which are openned until 3:00 AM everyday. This is not the exaustive list of pubs, bars, clubs and breweries (far from it), but some suggestions by the local organization committee. Do not hesitate to try a bar out of this list, chances are it will also be a nice place. After all, Montréal is yours to discover!

Near Polytechnique

  • McCarolds

    Great food (and poutine) and wide selection of great local and imported beers, scotch, whisky. It is the place where professors and grad students go out for a drink after a long day at the lab.

  • Resto-Bar La Maisonnée

    This is the bar where undergrads generally go. It serves pitchers of cheap or great microbrewery beer at good prices. It displays sports events, hosts beer pong matches and karaoke.

  • Tabasco Bar

    This is the only bar near Polytechnique with a dancefloor. Honestly, if you feel like dancing, go downtown, you will have a better selection.

Don’t miss out the traditional Quebecers meal: The Poutine. French fries, gravy and cheese, could you ask for something better? The best restaurant for the poutine is La banquise opened 24/7. You can taste over 30 types of Poutines


Other bars in Montreal

  • L’Amère à boire

    An excellent microbrewery favorite to many that serves a vast selection of fine beers at reasonnable prices (around 7$ for a pint).

  • Dieu du Ciel

    Another excellent microbrewery were you’d take that important collaborator for a protocolar drink. Dieu du ciel’s beers are frequent world award winners.

  • Saint-Bock

    This microbrewery serves locally made beer and over 500 imported and Quebec made beers. It is not the cheapest place to get a drink, but an excellent bar nevertheless.

  • Salon Daomé

    This loft is the electronic music fan’s paradise on earth. In a decontracted atmosphere far from the mainstream clubs of Saint-Laurent Street, live Djs of international caliber perform almost everynight of the week.

Eat and Drink in Montreal

Festival Transamérique– May 21 to June 6 2015
“Make way for dance and theatre! The Festival TransAmériques presents companies boasting the leading lights in contemporary theatre and dance from Québec, Canada and abroad. This feast for the mind and senses, will join spectators and artists in the heart of the action, placing them at the cutting edge of contemporary trends in the arts.”

Accès Asie– May 1 to May 31 2015
“The Festival Accès Asie presents an eclectic and colorful program. From the sacred, profane, ancient, modern and classical to the popular, this Festival of multi-disciplinary delights, features performers from music, visuals arts, new media, dance and film to celebrate the history and the cultural richness of Canadians of Asian origins.”

Elektra festival day– May 1 to May 31 2015(to be confirmed)
“Since 1999, ELEKTRA Festival presents artists and works that combine innovative electronic music and creative imagery derived from new technologies (animation, installations and robotics). Elektra is a nexus where the latest in digital technology meets diverse media, such as music, video, cinema, design, gaming and sound/interactive installations.”

Aires Libres-May 15, 2015 – September 15, 2015 (Dates to be confirmed)
“Pedestrianization of Rue Sainte-Catherine and an artistic happening that invites the general public to celebrate freedom of expression in the heart of downtown Montréal. The pedestrian mall becomes a space where you can mingle with artists and actors as you reflect on ephemeral art installations. Numerous festivals and patios welcome visitors from all walks of life.”

Montreal Museums day– May 31 2015
“A total of 34 museological institutions across Montréal have planned a multitude of free activities and events for this occasion, with complimentary shuttle service between the different institutions, open houses, entertainment, workshops, etc. Free exhibitions and activities!”