5 Things To Do When In Old Montreal
By: Pinki Wed, 27 May 2020 5:31 PM
A historic neighborhood dating back to the early 1600s, Old Montreal is a vibrant area that seamlessly bridges the city’s past and present. Here are the top things to do in the district.
Montreal’s oldest neighborhood – aptly called Old Montreal – is also one of its liveliest. Spanning several blocks near the waterfront of the Saint Lawrence River, Old Montreal is home to historical sites dating back to the 17th century that showcase the city’s indigenous and colonial past. The district also offers a taste of Montreal’s contemporary cultural standing, from art and food to health. With markets, historical landmarks, museums and architectural gems, there are many things to see and do in this cobblestone quarter. Below are our top things to do in Old Montreal.
* Place d’Armes
Place d’Armes is a historical public square in the heart of Old Montreal and the second-oldest public site in the city. Today, it is a popular spot where tourists can enjoy talented buskers and admire some of Montreal’s most impressive architecture, which borders the square. On Place d’Armes’ north side, you’ll find the old Bank of Montreal, while on the western side are the Art Deco Aldred Building and the New York Life Building. On the south side is the famous Notre-Dame Basilica, where Canadian superstar Céline Dion was married.
* Montreal City Hall
Montreal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville) is an impressive building. Built between 1872 and 1878 by architects Henri-Maurice Perrault and Alexander Cowper Hutchison and inspired by the Hôtel de Ville Tours in France, the building embodies the Second Empire style. Located next to Vauquelin Square and its beautiful fountain, Montreal City Hall is no longer home to the mayor’s office which moved to the neighboring Lucien-Saulnier Building – but is still a landmark worth visiting.
* Bonsecours Market
Inaugurated in 1847, the Bonsecours Market is recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada and was once the largest public market in Montreal. Today, the domed space houses 15 boutiques, which sell accessories, fashion, art and other Quebec-made items. The Bonsecours Market also hosts a versatile range of trade fairs and events and is home to restaurants and a terrace (in the warmer months). The market is open every day from 10am.
* Saint-Paul Street
Not only is Saint-Paul Street the oldest street in Montreal, it is also one of the most picturesque in the city. Paved in 1672, the cobblestone artery is home to many historic greystone buildings, which are emblematic of Montreal. While walking down Saint-Paul Street, you’ll encounter all manner of shops, galleries and restaurants. It is also a pleasure just to stroll down the narrow street, which runs parallel to the Old Port waterfront. Eventually, you’ll hit Place Jacques-Cartier, a square named after the eponymous explorer who claimed Canada for France in 1535.
* Château Ramezay
Constructed in 1705, Château Ramezay was the first building to be recognized as a historical monument in Quebec and was also designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1949. The building houses a well-loved museum, which teaches visitors about the early era of the city’s history. Through its exhibitions, the Château Ramezay shows guests how the people of New France lived while drawing interesting links to the present. The historic site and museum were also selected as one of the ‘1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die’ by a team of experts in partnership with UNESCO.