Traditional Architecture of Canada
The largest city in the province of Quebec, Montreal is an ‘island city’ nestled on the Saint-Laurent river, housing a quaint hub of grand historical and architectural interest. A city of over 50 Historical sites (more than any other city in Canada) and a UNESCO City of Design (one of three in the world), Montreal’s traditions are preserved, its old structures still in their original form and its modern day design community celebrated.
While many tell me that I absolutely must visit Montreal in the summer (which I most certainly will), it’s fair to say I fell in love with the city even when it was encased in the misty air and snow showers of the winter season. It might have been a more challenging introduction, but it didn’t stop its true character shining through and, at times, added a more enchanting feel.
Montreal really is as beautiful as it sounds and although my time here was brief, I was able to see enough for it to be put on my ‘I Would Live Here’ list – the highest accolade I give to a city when accessing if I like it or not. So what exactly captured my attention there during my three days of exploration?
Narrow cobbled streets, quaint shop fronts, ancient churches, centuries old structures, aged pavilions, warehouses and factories line the streets of Old Montreal and the adjacent Downtown and Old Port. Colour may be lacking, but character certainly isn’t.
A window into the past, the city’s historical legacy is interspersed with the new rendezvous of quaint cafes, gourmet restaurants, bars, boutique hotels and chic hangouts, making Montreal an artistic and architectural haven. The Notre Dame Basilica, the scattered monuments and sculptures and the dominating historical city and museum buildings make for a beautiful for a stroll, especially after fresh snowfall.
Marie-Eve, Montreal resident and expert from A Montrealer Abroad, took us on a stroll through some of the key residential areas and to see the infamous outdoor staircases the city is well known for. We spent our time primarily in Plateau Mont-Royal, a chic neighbourhood of colourful houses and grand mansions, close to the beautiful Mont Royal Park.
Modern Artistic Montreal
From the rainbow clad National Convention Centre and it’s ‘Lipstick Forest’ art installation, to the 20-mile long Underground City which features public artwork in its interconnect below ground network, modern Montreal is a thriving hub of colour, art and design (with an abundance of museums to boot). It’s always best to keep your eyes peeled, since you never know what’s around the next corner.
Tradition in Outer Montreal
You know when you’ve seen a real picture of Canada when you come across a snow-capped forest canvas dotted with traditional barns like this.
The Sucrerie de la Montagne is a French Canadian maple grove, more affectionately known as a ‘Sugar Shack’. Nestled within acres of stunning woodland atop Mont-Rigaud, around 45 minutes drive outside of Montreal, this official ‘Canada Signature Experience’ open to visitors all year round is not one to be missed.