When you travel in Canada, you’d realize that Montreal is a part of the New France triumvirate, including Quebec City and Trois-Rivieres. Like the other two, Montreal is actively preserving its heritage and unique culture to share with the world. There are few other places that can boast of the whole city enthusiastically retaining parts of its incarnations from colonial times.
Old Montreal offers the Lachine Canal, which dates back to more than two hundred years hence, as a newly-restored canal where pleasure boats ply the waters and strollers meander along the riverbanks. It’s an important part of Quebecois history.
In a quaintness that belies the modernity of the rest of the city, Old Montreal still has cobblestone streets, bustling cafes, and buildings that harken back to the 1600s. A mix of hotels, shops, eateries, and restaurants give this place a bustling feel that contrasts so greatly with the air of antiquity that is so palpable in it.
Montreal sits on the banks of the St Lawrence River, and it would be best to bring very comfortable walking shoes. The rues or streets are mostly very narrow, which means driving is difficult and parking is almost impossible. Walking tours are more popular than driven ones, naturally.
What you should not miss are the churches and the museums. The Notre Dame Basilica, in particular, explains the history of Montreal in a modern light and sound show played in the old church.
A historical home would be that of a former governor’s residence, the Chateau Ramezay Museum. Lovingly restored and now host to paintings and artifacts that highlight the history of Montreal and Quebec province, it brings you back in time to experience what it may have been like to be alive in those days. Afterward, enjoy a lovely repast in the museum’s cafe and take a stroll through the gardens.
The Place Jacques-Cartier is terrific for people-watching in the old European style. In this public square, people gather and mingle around, perhaps browsing through the latest offerings of the local artists or craftsmen while keeping an eye on who is doing what and with whom.
And it would not be right to leave without even a small souvenir. These shops in historical buildings give a new flavor to the word â€śshopping.â€ť From art to jewelry, trinkets and gourmet items, you’ll find it in Old Montreal.