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Home » Destinations » Canada » Montreal » Montreal Transportation

Airports nearby Montreal, Canada

Montreal International Mirabel Airport Map

Montreal International Mirabel Airport

Montreal, Canada

Latitude: 45.68, Longitude: -74.025

Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, (or Montréal International (Mirabel) Airport) originally called Montréal International Airport and widely known simply as Mirabel is an airport located in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, northwest of Montreal and was opened October 4, 1975 ...

Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport Map

Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Montreal, Canada

Latitude: 45.47, Longitude: -73.74

Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport or Montréal-Trudeau, formerly known as Montréal-Dorval International Airport, is located in the city of Dorval, on the Island of Montreal, from Montreal's downtown core ...

Montreal Map


Montreal, Canada

Latitude: 45.4825, Longitude: -73.54861

Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport or Montréal-Trudeau, formerly known as Montréal-Dorval International Airport, is located in the city of Dorval, on the Island of Montreal, from Montreal's downtown core ...

Get In

  • By bicycle

    Montreal is an island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River, accessible only by bridge. Not all bridges are bike accessible, however, several are including the breathtaking Jacques Cartier bridge. Prominent bike lanes exist throughout the city, most notably along the Lachine Canal, Rue Rachel and most recently along de Maisonneuve Blvd. However, bike theft is rampant, especially in the Plateau. Most locals can recall at least one time of observing a bike theft; many have seen rows of bikes pilfered at a time. It is not uncommon to have somebody offer you a stolen bike for sale on the street. Be equally aware of the peripheral articles of your bicycle; seats, baskets, and wheels can often be easily detached if not properly secured to the bike's frame.

    From Montreal-Trudeau International Airport

    The airport is on the western part of the island. From the main terminal, exit onto the main access road and turn right. Wind along the access road until the first major interchange and turn right. You will reach Albert de Niverville Boulevard and be forced to turn left (south) towards the main highway (Autoroute 20). At the end of this Boulevard, turn right on Cardinal Avenue. To your right, you will come to a pedestrian underpass that takes you under the railway tracks and leads to the Dorval Circle, a very busy traffic circle. This looks intimidating, but the traffic lights will allow you to ride safely under Autoroute 20 to Dorval Boulevard (Boulevard Dorval). Continue south down Dorval Boulevard until the end. Turn left on Lakeshore Drive (Chemin Lakeshore) towards the city. This road turns into Boulevard St. Joseph. You will eventually come to a bike path to your right that winds along the shores of Lac-Saint Louis (part of the Saint Lawrence river) through the town of Lachine. Continue down this path until you reach the entrance of the Lachine Canal. Cross the canal and continue down the Lachine Canal Bike Path (Piste Cyclable Canal Lachine) and follow the signs to the Old Port (Vieux Port) in Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal). The Lachine Canal Bike Path can be quite busy on weekends and holidays, so be ready to take your time. It is paved over its entire length.

    From Ontario

    Cyclist approaching Montreal from the west should take secondary highways to Dorion, where Autoroute 20, inaccessible to bicycles over most of of its length, becomes accessible as it crosses bridges first to Île Perrot (Perrot Island) and then to the Island of Montreal (at Saine-Anne-de-Bellevue). Bicycles should use the sidewalk on these bridges as traffic is usually heavy. From here, cyclists may take Lakeshore Boulevard and the Lachine Canal Bike Path (see Airport section above) to Old Montreal and the downtown core.

    The Isle-aux-Tourtes Bridge on Autoroute 40 is not accessible by bicycle.

    From the United States

    Cyclists approaching Montreal from the South Shore to the south and east of Montreal may access the Island of Montreal a number of ways (See map:).

    The surest (but not foolproof) way is using the sidewalk Jacques Cartier Bridge. When it is not closed for repairs, it is open year round and all day. A paved bike path along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River provides the most scenic approach to the bridge. As of July 2007, the sidewalk is closed for repairs.

    An equally popular route is from the Saint Lambert Locks (Ecluses Saint-Lambert) of the Saint Lawrence Seaway near the Victoria Bridge (Pont Victoria) east of Montreal. The bike drawbridge may be blocked by the entertaining spectacle of a ship passing through the seaway. From here, cyclists take the Grand Prix racing track (Gilles-Villeneuve circuit) on Île Notre Dame to the Concord Bridge to Montreal. This route is closed sometimes for car racing events. In this case, cyclists can take a circuitous detour down a gravel causeway dividing the seaway and river to the Estacade, an ice boom that crosses the river parallel to the Champlain Bridge to Nun's Island and eventually Montreal. A lesser known crossing involves one at the Sainte Catherine Locks (Ecluses Sainte-Catherine) at Saint Catherine south of Montreal. These bridges cross the seaway to the same causeway as the Saint Lambert locks. In this case, the road to the Estacade ice boom is paved. These bike links from the South Shore are open from 15 April to 15 November, from 6:30AM to 10:00PM..

    The Champlain Bridge, Mercier bridge, and Lafontaine Tunnel are definitely inaccessible to bicycles. These can be dangerous, even in a car.

  • By bus

    There are extensive services to Montreal from cities in Ontario, Quebec, New York, Vermont, and Maine. Buses arrive and depart from the Station Centrale d'autobus (not to be confused with the Gare Centrale or central train station) at 505 boulevard De Maisonneuve Est, (directly above the Berri-UQÀM métro station]. Call 514-842-2281 for schedules and prices.

    Intercity bus services to Montreal are offered by Megabus, Coach Canada, Adirondack Trailways, Greyhound Canada, Greyhound Lines, Vermont Transit, Voyageur, TheLuxBus, and Orléans Express. Orléans Express is the principal bus carrier in the St. Lawrence valley, including the Montreal—Quebec City route. Its sister company Acadian Lines provides connections from eastern Quebec to destinations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Voyageur, a subsidiary of Greyhound Canada, provides service to Ottawa, connecting with other bus routes to points in western Canada. Coach Canada provides service to Toronto, connecting with other bus routes to western New York, southern Ontario, Michigan and Illinois. Other regions of Quebec are served by various companies. A map of the intercity routes and carriers in Quebec can be found on Intercar's site.

    Greyhound Lines offers three daily direct services and Adirondack Trailways offers two daily direct services, from New York, with additional trips operated on weekends and in summer (eight hours, from $76.50USD). Vermont Transit, a subsidiary of Greyhound Lines, offers four daily direct services from Boston, though Vermont Transit is now operating under the name of Greyhound Lines (seven hours, from $72USD). Note that there is no student discount on the Montreal-New York service. TheLuxBus also offers service from New York.

    The train is slower, but significantly cheaper; around $62 compared to $70-80 for the bus. However, for $10-15 extra for the bus makes for a much faster journey with a much quicker passage through customs; so for speed the bus is far superior; but for comfort and scenery, the longer train journey is more pleasantly spent.

  • By car

    From Toronto, take Highway 401 east about five hours until it becomes Autoroute 20 on the Quebec side of the border. Highway 20 takes about an hour to get to downtown. Be alert for frequent speed-limit changes along this road. To reach downtown follow the Centre-Ville signs and take Highway 720 (Highway 20 continues over the Pont Champlain bridge to the South Shore).

    From Ottawa, it's about two hours east along Highway 417 (which becomes the 40 in Quebec) to Montreal.

    From Quebec City, it's about 2.5-3.5 hours west on either Highway 40 or 20.

    From New York City, take Interstate Freeway 87 north through Albany and the eastern half of New York State for about six hours. After the border crossing near Plattsburgh, the freeway becomes Highway 15, which leads directly into downtown Montreal over the Pont Champlain, the most beautiful approach to the city. The drive time from Plattsburgh to downtown Montreal is approximately one hour.

    From Boston, take Interstate Highway 93 to Highway 91 north in St Johnsbury, Vermont to the border crossing , where it turns into Highway 55, which intersects Highway 10, which taken west leads directly into downtown Montreal. The whole trip takes between six and seven hours.

  • By plane

    Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport (formerly Dorval Airport) is west of the city centre on highway 20. Note that travel time to the airport from the city centre can be as much as an hour, depending on traffic. The airport is served by all major Canadian and U.S. airlines and is a major hub for Air Canada, Air Transat, and WestJet. There are multiple daily trans-Atlantic flights to and from (amongst others) London, Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Athens, Frankfurt, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, Munich, and Casablanca.

    The taxi fare to and from downtown is a fixed price of $38 (a sticker on the window behind the driver gives the boundaries of the zone where the flat fare applies; for origins and destinations outside this zone, you will have to pay a metered fare).

    STM Airport Express bus 747 offers 24 hour service between the airport and downtown Montreal. A single fare will cost $7 including unlimited use of the STM bus and metro network for the following 24 hours. It will call at Lionel-Groux métro and a number of downtown stops.

    Alternatively, public bus number 204 (STM) leaves from outside arrivals every half hour to Gare Dorval (Dorval train station - check with the driver which direction he is going in, as both bus routes stop at the same place and make sure to ask for a transfer as you will need it later). From Dorval, you can use your transfer ticket to catch bus number 211 or express bus number 221 to the Lionel-Groulx métro. Make sure it is going east as the same routes go west too. Your transfer will then let you into the métro. This costs only $2.75, but exact change must be provided to the first driver.

    Another option is to take the VIA Rail AirConnect service from the airport terminal to downtown by shuttle and train. This service runs infrequently, but costs only $11. The same trip can be made on the AMT commuter train for $4.25 from Dorval Station. The public bus ($2.75) from the airport arrives here for busses to the nearest metro station as well.

    The Montreal region is also served by Burlington International Airport , in South Burlington, Vermont. Burlington is served by JetBlue, USAirways, Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines and United Airlines, with direct, non-stop service to numerous U.S. cities, including Orlando, Florida. Burlington International Airport is approximately 90 minutes' drive from Montreal. In addition, Plattsburgh International Airport , in Plattsburgh, New York, is about one hour away by car. Domestic US flights to Burlington and Plattsburgh can be cheaper than international flights to Canada.

  • By train

    Montreal Central Station (Gare Centrale) is at 895 De La Gauchetière West, one block west of rue University, and is served by the Bonaventure metro (subway) station.

    VIA Rail Canada operates fast and comfortable passenger trains from Montreal along the busy Quebec-Ontario corridor and to destinations in northern Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. All fares below are five-day advance booking prices for one-way travel in "Comfort" (coach / economy) class, expect to pay almost 50% more if you book on the day of travel. "VIA-1" (first / business) class is available for a premium and includes a meal, alcoholic refreshments, snacks, and pay-per-use wireless internet in both station lounges and on board the train. An ISIC student card can obtain a discount on all services (both VIA and Amtrak).

    • Five trains a day operate to and from Ottawa (two hours, from $35).
    • Six trains a day operate to and from Toronto (four and a half hours, from $85).
    • Five trains a day operate to and from Quebec City (three hours, from $47).
    Six evenings a week, VIA's "Ocean" service departs for the overnight journey to New Brunswick (fifteen and a half hours, from $110 coach, $162 upper berth, $219 bedroom) and Nova Scotia (twenty hours, from $133 coach, $187 upper berth, $245 bedroom). The choice of sleeping accommodation varies according to the season. Along with trains between Montreal and Quebec, the Ocean is now almost exclusively operated by modern Renaissance trains that were originally built for the aborted Channel Tunnel sleeper services between Great Britain and France.

    Three evenings a week, the Ocean also pulls the "Chaleur" train as far as Matapedia. The train divides in the early morning and the Chaleur follows the southern shore of the Gaspé peninsular as far as Gaspe (seventeen and a half hours, from $106 coach, $165 upper berth, $215 bedroom).

    VIA also offers three weekly round trips to Senneterre, in Abitibi (eleven and a half hours, from $81), and Jonquière in the Saguenay (nine hours, from $55). Both trains operate as wilderness services: a request stop may be made at any point along the route for those who want to hike and kayak in the remoter regions of Quebec that the train passes through.

    Amtrak's 'Adirondack' service to New York (11 hours, from $61) departs daily, with connections in Schenectady to (but not from) Chicago (twenty-four hours, USD$114) and in New York to Philadelphia (14 hours, USD$97) and Washington, DC (16 hours, $120). The train also passes through much of upstate New York and hugs Lake Champlain for a large part of the trip. South of Albany, the route follows the Hudson River and passes a number of historic sites. Reliability of the service has improved greatly since an extra hour was added to the previous 10-hour schedule, however one should still factor in the possibility of arriving an hour later than scheduled.

    The journey to New York is cheaper but slower than by bus (see below), which takes 7-9 hours, but the superior comfort, extra legroom and ability to walk around the train and visit the cafe car for food and drink at your leisure, as well as the good view from the train of the Lake Champlain and Hudson River scenery, make up for this. While the bus is superior in terms of speed for a direct journey to New York, where getting for A to B is most important, the extra time on the train is more pleasantly spent in terms of comfort and scenery.

    Amtrak sadly no longer offers a Thruway Motor Coach connection from Montreal to St-Albans, Vermont, and the Vermonter service, and with it the opportunity to link to Boston by rail; a Boston-bound passenger will as a result be better off traveling by Greyhound instead.

    Train passengers leaving from Boston may take the Regional Service to Penn Station, New York, and transfer to the Adirondack line to Montreal, however this method requires significant layover times in New York.

Get Around

    Montreal has historically been divided into east and west by boulevard Saint-Laurent. Numbered addresses on streets that cross Saint-Laurent start there and increase in either direction; most addresses are given as "rue Saint-XXX Ouest" (west) or "rue Saint-XXX Est" (east). Many streets are named after Catholic saints and figures from local history, both well-known and obscure. Note that in Montreal street names, "east" and "west" refer to the direction parallel to the St. Lawrence River, and "north" and "south" refer to the direction perpendicular to the St. Lawrence River. Because the St. Lawrence River runs almost north-south near downtown Montreal, "east", "west", "north", and "south" are actually northeast, southwest, northwest and southeast respectively. Don't try to navigate by looking at the sun!

  • By bike

    Cycling and in-line skating are very popular once the cold winter weather is over. The city is criss-crossed by 660km of well-maintained cycle paths, including some which cross the St. Lawrence onto the island of Montreal. By far the nicest path is the Lachine Canal path that stretches from Lachine, along Lac St-Louis, down to Old Montreal along the canal. You can cross over to the South Shore either on the Jacques Cartier bridge, Ile Notre Dame, or via the Estacade ice bridge from Nun's Island.

    Even if you are on a bike path, beware of drivers as they are not always aware that there are bikes around. Some downtown bike paths are separated from the road by parked cars, which decreases your visibility. If one is comfortable driving in Montreal, one generally can feel comfortable biking there as well. While wearing a helmet is not required under the law, it is highly recommended.

    As of May 2009, the, is safe, efficient, and pleasant to use. Tickets have been replaced by cards with magnetic stripe containing one trip, called an à la carte ticket. These are valid for one trip (including transfer) on the metro and buses cost $2.75 each but are also available for less when you purchase six for $13.25 either from the Metro agent or the automatic fare vending machine located in Metro stations.

    You need to keep your payment card as it is your proof of payment and transfer (correspondance); fare inspectors may give you a large fine if you are unable to show it when they request it.

    If you are using cash to pay your fare on the bus, it is important to have the exact fare since the driver does not give change; you will receive an à la carte ticket, your proof of payment and your transfer. Pictures and specific instructions can be found here:.

    Tourist passes offer unlimited travel on the bus and metro for periods of one day ($7.00) or three days ($14.00) and are well worth it. They are available from most downtown metro stations during the summer but only at Berri-UQAM, Peel, and Bonaventure stations on the off-season. Weekly ($20.00 regular, $11.25 for students under 18; valid from the nearest Sunday of purchase) and monthly ($70 regular, $38.75 for students under 25) passes are also available. Only students studying at a recognized academic institution in Montréal may benefit from student fares, and a special card must be obtained from the STM.

    The STM has stopped issuing disposable monthly passes and has started using the reusable OPUS card. The OPUS card is a smart card with a chip that contains your fare and transfer information. The OPUS card can be purchased at all metro stations and transit fare points of sale. As of April 2010, the card costs $3.50.

    OPUS cards can be refilled at Metro stations using the automated machines or at the ticket booth.The STM website offers an on-line trip-planner service called Tous azimuts. Trip planning can also be done using Google Maps. Free bus and Metro system maps are available from the ticket booth at most metro stations.

    At each subway station, directions are not indicated by compass directions, such as westbound or eastbound. Instead, trains go in the direction of a subway line's terminus. The green line runs from Angrignon in the west to Honore-Beaugrand in the east. If you were to travel eastbound, you would look for "Honore-Beaugrand" on the platform. There are four interchange stations at which commuters can change subway lines: Snowdon (blue/orange), Lionel-Groulx (orange/green), Berri-UQAM (green/yellow/orange), and Jean-Talon (orange/blue).

  • By car

    Driving (SAAQ) in Montreal can be a challenge for many North American motorists. Although turning right on a red light is authorized across Quebec (except at intersections where a sign indicates this is not permitted), rights on reds are strictly prohibited on the island of Montreal. The stop lights at most of downtown intersections are located on the far end of the intersection, not at the actual stop line.

    The use of salt to provide grip during severe winters takes its toll on the roadways, which are either heavily potholed or subject to perpetual construction. Downtown traffic is dense. Street parking can be difficult. Parking meters are in use seven days a week until 9PM, including statutory Holidays. Parking tickets can only be contested in court by the owner of the car that was subject to the infraction, so if a rented car is ticketed the person who rented may be unable to contest the charge. Car parking downtown costs $3 an hour at parking meters or $25 per day at commercial parking lots.

    There are also many private and public parking lots, and their prices vary a lot. There may even be 15-20$ differences between two parking lots just a few blocks from each other.

    During the winter months, heavy snowfalls are common. In the aftermath of a snowstorm an intensively prepared "déneigement" (snow removal) process begins with intimidatingly large snow plows and trucks clearing, chewing up, and transporting away the snow. If you leave your car parked on a street, pay close attention to any orange signs that might appear on the banks of snow on the sidewalk and listen out for horn sirens. This is the announcement that a street is about to be cleared and that all parked cars should be moved. If you do not move your car, it will likely be towed to the nearest street with space (with a $100 fine) or it could be impounded. It is best to use indoor or underground parking if snow clearing is likely.

    Many downtown streets are one-way, which can complicate getting around. If you see a sign at an intersection that has direction arrows in a green circle, that means those are the only directions you are allowed to go. Most left turns are prohibited, although a flashing green light indicates a left-turn priority. Autoroutes (expressways or freeways) can be challenging for visitors, as signs are mostly in French.

  • By train

    Montreal has a commuter train system run by the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) with termini at the Montreal Central Station (Gare Central) and at Lucien L'Allier (both are accessible from the metro). Commuter trains are handy for getting to suburbs and neighbouring towns.

    Commuter train stations are divided into six zones that radiate out from downtown. Stations have automated machines from which you must purchase a ticket appropriate to the zones of the station you are traveling to or from, whichever is farther (e.g. a trip from Zone 1 to Zone 3 or vice versa would require a Zone 3 ticket). Trips in zones 1 and 2 can be reduced in price if you have an STM transfer from the city bus or metro. You must then purchase the tarif combiné ticket at a lower cost. Pre-purchased tickets must be validated in the stamping machines at the entrance to the platform. In general, reduced fares (for students and seniors) require ID that is not available to travelers.

    There are no ticket machines on the train and ticket inspections are random. If the ticket is not valid, the customer can get a fine of up to $400. In some cases, incorrect tickets will go unnoticed because the security agents pass through only occasionally. Note that instructions for paying are clearly displayed in French only.

  • Map

    MapArt produces an excellent map of downtown Montreal and environs, including Vieux Montréal, Mt. Royal, the Plateau as well as areas as far north as the University of Montreal and as far south as Parc Jean-Drapeau. This is handy so you don't have to keep folding a map of the whole island.

    Below is a basic map of the primary areas of interest to visitors.

  • On foot

    Walking is a favoured way to get around the densely packed downtown and the narrow streets of Old Montreal, especially during the warmer months. However, beware during the winter months, because sidewalks can be icy and extremely hazardous after winter snow and ice storms. Winter boots with good grip are essential for surviving pavements that have not been cleared. Beware also (as much as you can) of thawing ice falling from overhanging balconies and roofs. But you can always take the stairs down to Montreal's famous "Underground City" (Montréal souterrain), called RÉSO, a network of pedestrian corridors connecting Métro (subway)stations, shopping centres, and office complexes.

    Jaywalking is widespread and rarely punished. However, be aware that drivers will usually not stop or slow down if a pedestrian steps out in front of them, even at marked crosswalks. At an intersection, however, a pedestrian will have right of passage before turning traffic and most drivers respect this. Despite Montreal drivers' reputation for aggressiveness, they generally respect pedestrians.

    Saint Catherine Street (Rue Sainte-Catherine) is Montreal's main commercial artery and busiest pedestrian thoroughfare. The "Underground City" and the Green Line (or line 1) of Montreal's Metro is easily accessible from all the major office complexes, shopping malls, department stores, and theatre complexes that line it. Smaller chain stores and restaurants also vie for valuable commercial space. Well-kept historic churches with green space provide quiet oasis and contrast with the giant neon signs of strip clubs. Major hotels generally can be found one or two blocks north and south of Saint Catherine in the downtown core. Bars, restaurants, and dance clubs cluster within a block of Saint Catherine around Crescent and Bishop streets, catering to a mostly English-speaking clientele. Saint Denis Street (Rue Saint-Denis), further east, and the Gay Village between Berri and de Lormier even further to the east are mostly French-speaking. McGill College Boulevard in the downtown core from Saint Catherine Street offers an open view of Mount Royal to the North and an impressive view of the Place-Ville-Marie skyscraper to the south. Keep your head up and beware of following the flow of the crowd on this street: throngs of pedestrians often walk across cross streets against red lights, risking life and limb.

    Prince Arthur Street (Rue Prince-Arthur), east of Saint-Laurent, is pedestrian only. Another pedestrian-only locale is Montreal's Chinatown, situated on Rue de la Gauchtiere between Saint-Urbain and Saint-Laurent. A good trick for navigating downtown Montreal is to remember that streets slope up toward Mount Royal, which is just north of downtown and easy to see from most locations.

    The districts surrounding downtown Montreal are especially delightful on foot. To the south is Old Montreal (Le Vieux-Montréal) — its narrow streets and buildings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries really can make you feel like you're in Old Europe — and the Old Port (Le Vieux-Port), a waterfront strolling park with exhibits and boat tours, is very popular with the locals. To the north, the Golden Square Mile and the McGill University Campus is wedged between Mount Royal and Sherbrooke Street on the southern slope of the mountain. Old Victorian mansions and townhouses can be found along the sloping streets, many now housing McGill University's offices and libraries. Just west of downtown is affluent Westmount, a perfect example of 19th-century English-style homes and gardens (inhabited to a great extent by English-speaking people) climbing the slopes of Mount Royal's western part (the higher you climb, the larger the old mansions). Just east and northeast of downtown are the mostly French-speaking Gay Village (Le Village Gai) and Plateau (Plateau Mont-Royal) districts. Street after street displays turn-of-the-19th-century row duplexes and triplexes, replete with famous Montreal outdoor staircases, overflowing front gardens (or snow-covered gables, depending on the time of year), and tiny shops tucked into every nook and cranny. For people who like to see a culture where it lives, Le Plateau is the place to wander about in.

    Mount Royal (Mont-Royal) is also accessible from the urban core on foot.. Fit pedestrians can climb Peel Street (Rue Peel) to the southern edge of the park. A series of renovated staircases will take you directly to the Chalet near the top of the mountain, with its classic view of the downtown core. A more leisurely climb to the top awaits those on Olmsted Road (6.5 km), a wide, gently sloping bike and foot path accessible from the Plateau in Parc Jeanne-Mance (also known as Fletcher's Field). Smaller foot paths serendipitously branch off from this road. A cross-country ski path also winds to the top in the wintertime. Mount Royal's park was designed by Frederick Olmsted , an architect who lived from 1822 to 1903 and was also responsible for the design of Central Park in New York City and the Emerald Necklace in Boston.

Get Out

As in the rest of Quebec, language politics and Quebec sovereignty are contentious issues in Montreal. Don't make the assumption that all French Canadians and Quebecois are in favor of Quebec's separation of Canada. If you really want to discuss those topics with locals, be sure you are well informed. It is still a very emotional issue. Use common sense and be respectful.

The first language in Quebec is French. Making an attempt to use the language is a great way to show respect for locals, whether or not they can speak English. However, it should be noted that Montreal is considered to be one of the world's most bilingual cities with many residents whose primary language is English. In case of doubt, you may want to open with a warm "Bonjour!" and see what language is used in response. Most likely you will be answered in English, if your French accent does not sound local. Try not to take offense if you are trying to speak French and locals respond to you in English. Since most Montrealers speak both French and English they are simply trying to make it easier on you.

Many people working in the tourist and service industries are completely bilingual without accents. But don't make jokes about French people (especially since francophones in Montreal are mostly Québecois with a few Acadiens and Franco-Ontariens, all of which consider themselves different from the French). Also, do not assume that all Quebecois are francophones. Montreal has a significant English speaking community with a long history in Quebec and many immigrants whose first language is neither English nor French.

See also Quebec#Talk, Quebec#Respect and the French phrasebook.

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