MONTREAL: Charming and energetic

Guide Arc-en-ciel Quebec Rainbow Guide
Photo prise par © Steve Labonté

On Montréal is the metropolis that has everything a big city can offer. But Montréal (pronounced Muun-treal) is also a one-of-a- kind multicultural city that blends its French accent with that of over 80 other ethnic communities and charms visitors with its Euro-American ambiance. The city is innovative and invigorating, offering a whirlwind of cultural creations, both traditional and modern. Its downtown bustles with life at the foot of its mountain, while history is rooted in the old quarters near the river. Every seasons Montréal beats to the rhythm of its festivals: jazz, comedy, cinema, fireworks and of course the GLBT events — Montreal Pride Festival, Image + nation and the notorious Black&Blue. The city beckons you to discover its fashionable boutiques and famed cuisine, spread over 30 km (18 mi.) of indoor pedestrian walkways, and its lively casino. Stroll through its colourful streets and typical neighborhoods representative of a mosaic of nations. Take a ride along one of its many bicycle paths (over 660 km / 400 mi. in the region) and party in its inviting bars... Montréal? Oui, s'il vous plaît! Riding in a horse-drawn carriage around the 18th- and 19th-century residences of Old Montréal, you will discover the imposing neo-gothic Notre-Dame Basilica, as well as museums that recount the past, such as the Pointe-à-Callière museum and the Centre d'histoire de Montréal. The Old Port invites you to relax all year round. Among its attractions, you will find the Montréal Science Centre, a vast complex dedicated to scientific culture that also includes an IMAX theatre. The Old Port is also the starting point for trips along the turbulent Lachine Rapids, at the western end of the island!

The Downtown core is packed with department stores, boutiques and cinemas, not to mention major museums, such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d'art contemporain, the McCord Museum of Canadian History and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Île Notre-Dame and Île Sainte-Hélène are synonymous with vacationing fun. At Parc Jean-Drapeau, you'll have a ball at Québec's largest amusement park, La Ronde, and at the beach. In the east portion of the city, in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighbourhood, you will find irresistible attractions, such as the Olympic Park, host to the 1976 Olympic Games, which boasts the tallest inclined tower in the world. On the same site, you can also visit the Biodôme, a magical place that is home to four ecosystems. Nearby, the Montréal Botanical Garden, one of the world's largest, introduces you to a host of horticultural universes, including a Chinese garden, a Japanese garden and at the Insectarium you can observe up close insects from around the world! Recently open the Planetorium is a must see. 

Montréal offers shoppers a sweet deal with its "underground city." A 30-km (18.5-mi.) network of shopping malls and corridors connects major stores, restaurants, hotels, museums, cinemas and theatres and provides access to metro, train and bus stations. The network brings 2,000 businesses in contact with dozens of residential complexes and office buildings. Nearly 500,000 people walk these underground corridors each day, where they are sheltered from the inclemencies of weather. Favoured for its proximity to downtown, the Plateau is a human-scale neighbourhood popular for its intense cultural life, trendy restaurants and urban, friendly lifestyle.

A favourite with the artistic community, the neighbourhood begins just east of Mont Royal and converges around Parc Lafontaine. Major shopping avenues alternate with quiet streets that are lined with the city's characteristic low-rise dwellings and curving outdoor staircases.The Quartier des Spectacles has long welcomed numerous international festivals. It boasts some 30 entertainment venues, including the halls at Place des arts, art galleries and alternative cultural centres. The entertainment district's list of luminary sites includes the Théâtre du Nouveau-Monde, the Monument-National, the Society for Arts and Technology, the Metropolis and Club Soda. Situated downtown Montréal, Chinatown has an immense multicoloured archways that hearken back to Imperial China welcome you to our own little slice of Asia. Montréal's Chinatown provides a welcome change of scene with its pedestrian mall lined with Asian businesses, restaurants and food markets. Everything works to reinforce the impression of exotic new surroundings: the perfumes of the Orient, the ornate street lights and engraved bronze paving stones that pave Rue de La Gauchetière, the park commemorating Sun Yat-Sen, and the pagoda-topped hotel.

Montreal Aires Libres MARC CRAMER

Consult or download Montreal and it's Village map (PDF)

A Village under the rainbow and... the pink balls

A proud symbol of the city's openness and joie de vivre, ''the Village'' is the neighbourhood of choice for thousands of gay tourists who come here to experience the multitude of activities in relaxed and secure surroundings. Full of specialized bars that manage to stay in business even without overflow crowds and too expensive drinks. Its easygoing vibe, hot nightlife and trendy bars and restaurants come together to create a paradise for those who like to see and be seen, just as they are. There are a number of bathhouses, with theme nights and spanking-new equipment and several strip clubs catering to various tastes. Even the Beaudry métro station in the heart of the Village proudly wears the colours of the gay community. Active, vibrant and teaming with creativity, this community offers a calendar of events definitely worth discovering. The Village's line-up of celebrations means fun, fun and more fun for thousands of participants. Friends, couples and families come here to discover a taste of the world at its many restaurants, uncover treasures in Amherst Streets's antique shops or admire the neighbourhood's buildings. If you happen to be looking up this summer, don't worry: it's not spots you see in front of your eyes, but rather some 200,000 suspended pink balls in their triumphant return to Aires Libres, Montréal's original summertime event for the masses! Artsy and eco-friendly, this original event features urban installations, performers, bazaars, events, and a whole lotta free-form fun! What's more, it all goes down in the Village's summertime dedicated pedestrian zone (a.k.a. outdoor party central!) until mid September, once again demonstrating that in Montréal, summer isn't just a season, it's a celebration! 

What makes Montreal a fun city is it's diversity : diversity of it's sectors, it's lively people, it's services and a vibrant cultural life. More than 10 million tourists visit Montreal yearly. Many visit for business, but many others come for a vacation, but wether for fun or business, they all discover the many attractions that this city has to offer such as the following must see ones we selected for you... You'll find a selection of them inside this 17th edition of the Quebec Rainbow Guide (Guide Arc-en-ciel).

Montréal en Lumière

In a festive spirit 

Montrealers are known for their festive spirit. Major sports and cultural events, lively international urban festivals or small community events; simply put, anything is an excuse to celebrate and share good times! While some cities roll up the sidewalk at night, Montréal rolls the sidewalk onto the street for days (and nights) at a time. And when streets get closed to traffic, outdoor cafés and restaurants pop up like palm trees across the pavement for you to roam, mingle with the locals and enjoy all the fun. Film, music, art, song, dance, community events – the list is as long as there are days in a year. Your days and nights in Montréal will be unforgettable! READ ALSO > MONTREAL: In a festive spirit

Feux Loto-Québec La Ronde



Consult or dowload the 17th édition of Quebec Rainbow Guide (Guide arc-en-ciel)