So, we have you eating all over town (what with brunch, intimate restaurants, unique dining, and after-hours eats). But what are you actually going to do in Montreal? Besides the ninety-or-so festivals they have?
A Habs Game
The Montreal Canadiens have twenty-four Stanley Cups—so who’s the real City of Champions, Edmonton? Even if you aren’t a hockey person—or even a sports person in general—you can’t miss out on the beating heart of Montreal: Bell Centre. If Canada has a religion, it’s hockey, and Montreal has the most fervent worshipers.
Who’s your favourite comedian? Doesn’t matter what you said, if they’re touring, they’ll be at Just for Laughs. It is literally the largest international comedy festival in the world. But don’t worry if you aren’t in Montreal in July—they host year-round events too.
What do you do with an old velodrome built for the Olympics? Well, Montreal turned theirs into a biodome, sans Pauly Shore. It has replicas of four biospheres: a South American rainforest, a North American wilderness, an estuary habitat modelled on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, and a polar habitat.
Montreal has some of the best museums in the world. You don’t have to see them all, but make sure you pick one. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has art from the world over (and you won’t be able to do it in a day). The Pointe-à-Callière Museum is a must-see for any history buff, containing one of the largest archaeological collections anywhere in Canada and a huge collection of First Nations artefacts. The Museum of Civilization has permanent collections about the history of Quebec and regularly hosts other collections from around the world.
Visit Saint-Laurent Boulevard on a Saturday afternoon and you’re bound to find a half-hour line-up for the best smoked meat in the world. What’s that, New York? Pastrami? Never heard of it. Schwartz’s brick smokehouse has eighty year’s worth of smoke build-up, they’re the people who invented Montreal steak seasoning, and it is the most famous of the remaining Montreal smoked meat restaurants. You’re there for a medium-fat smoked meat on rye with a cherry cola; chase it with a kosher pickle.