Montreal - Overview

The city of Montreal, in the province of Quebec, Canada is a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, world class city offering its citizens a high quality of life with a "joie de vivre" lifestyle. It is one of North America's oldest cities and remains the largest French speaking metropolis outside of France Residents are often bilingual and many speak other languages as well! Located in the province of Quebec, it is Canada's 2nd largest city with a greater metropolitan population of about 3.5 million. The City of Montreal proper is located on the island of Montreal along with 12 other municipalities, including Westmount. However in this article when Montreal is mentioned it refers to the whole island.

From a feng shui and geographical perspective, it is understandable to see why Montreal remains a thriving metropolis. Its strategic position as an island on the mighty St. Lawrence River allows it to be a major North American port city (the world's largest inland port) and rail hub. The mountain - "Mount Royal" for which the city is named - is located in the center of the island, and offers a great vantage point. It makes sense that the earliest settlers - the Iroquois Indians - made their settlements at the foot of the mountain facing south to the St. Lawrence River and that later this would later become the heart of Montreal's downtown.

Montreal has a rich architectural heritage and a multicultural population proud to maintain & celebrate its roots. indeed, there is simple pleasure in just walking around the various neighbourhoods, shopping areas and parks, enjoying a meal in a world class restaurant or a local ethnic eatery, having drinks on an outdoor terrace... whether one is downtown, Old Montreal, Westmount, Plateau Mont Royal, Outrement, NDG, Chinatown, Little Italy, on the Main (St. Lawrence Boulevard), St. Denis or around the Lachine Canal. The variety is limitless!

Montreal is also famous for its many ongoing cultural events, many of which are free or have nominal fees including its internationally recognized jazz and comedy festivals and fireworks competition that are celebrated out on the streets of the city. There are also local favorites such as "Shakespeare in the Park", dance performances in the amphitheatre of Lafontaine Park; huge tam tam jams on the eastern side of Mount Royal Park every Sunday in summer, outdoor classical concerts?simply too many to name here. There are many different cultural events occurring at any given day at a huge variety of venues, the venues themselves often being of architectural interest and a destination in itself. It is no secret that artists of all kinds seeking inspiration flock here but lesser known is that Montreal seems to be a magnet for spiritual seekers, offering a large variety of centres, workshops and events.

Montreal boasts several unique major public recreational amenities, many of which have arisen because its unique topography and history. For instance:

Mount Royal Park, designed by Frederick Olmstead - the same landscape architect who designed New York's Central Park, is an oasis in the heart of the city- cross country skiing, skating in the winter, strolling/hiking/pedal boating in summer. The Port of Montreal, serves as a popular venue for many activities including skating in the winter at Bonsecours Basin and as starting point for boat tours. The Lachine Canal, which at one point played an important role in Montreal's and Canada's industrial revolution is now a 11 km (7.5 miles) linear park featuring specially designated bicycle/rollerblade/walking paths connecting with Old Montreal and Rene Levesque Park (on a peninsula) in Lachine. Jean Drapeau park, consisting of two islands in the St. Lawrence River built and/or expanded for the Expo 67 World's Fair, is accessible by metro or bike paths and is a venue for many recreational activities including rowing in the former Olympic basin, swimming at a manmade beach as well as cycling /roller blading on the official Formula One Grand Prix race track. (see links above)

There are multitude of other unique nature parks on the island of Montreal and there are also provincially owned parks (SEPAQ) that are just off the island. For example, St. Bruno Park on the South Shore is only 20 minutes away from the Champlain Bridge.. great for nature walks and cross country skiing Oka Park on the north shore features a public beach. There are also several golf courses within the region, including Royal Montreal Golf Club, North America's oldest golf club that has hosted several PGA tournaments. There are many popular downhill ski areas within 20-90 minutes away.

Montreal is home to four top universities - Mcgill and Concordia are English universities; Universite de Montreal (U of M) and Universite de Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) teach in French.

Montreal is Quebec's economic engine. In recent decades, Montreal has evolved its economy by leveraging its highly educated, creative, primarily bilingual workforce into becoming a world leader in high tech sectors such as pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, multi media and aeronautics. Several high profile entities such as Air Canada, Canadian National, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Canadian National Space Agency, the National Film Board and Cirque du Soleil have their head offices in the Greater Montreal region. In 2007 Montreal was designated a "UNESCO City of Design"- the only city in North America to be given this designation and one of three cities in the world.

Montreal's underground city is also unique -32 km ( 20 miles) of passageways lined with shops and linked to the metro, above ground shopping complexes, universities,cultural institutions, office buildings, hotels, cinemas, train stations- is the largest of its kind in the world?and frankly, useful in inclement weather!

Professional sports fans cheer on the Alouettes football team, Impact soccer team and of course, the world famous Montreal Canadians hockey team, winner of 24 Stanley Cups!

Montreal is also one of the safest larger cities in which to live. In addition, for 2008 the UN Human Development Index has ranked Canada 3rd best country in the world in which to live taking into consideration longevity rates, level of education and overall standard of living. (Canada ranked No. 1 for quite a few years since the ranking started in 1990).

Country properties and world famous resorts such as Mont Tremblant are in close proximity to Montreal - as close as 60 to 90 minutes away offering regions differing in topography and scenery - from the multitude of lakes and mountains in the Laurentians to the rolling hills of the Eastern Townships. The American border only 45 minutes away.

Montreal's real estate offers a huge variety of housing types to suit your lifestyle and budget from the traditional walk up flats in triplexes in the heart of the trendy Plateau Montreal to the large stone mansions in Westmount and Outrement, from the traditional architecture of the apartment blocks in the Golden Square Mile to the world famous Habitat '67. Thus the diverse nature of Montreal real estate will certainly fulfill your needs and most likely inspire your imagination!

As mentioned in the page <%= route([:communities, why-choose-westmount-realty], "Why choose Westmount Realty") %> it is through diversity that creativity thrives...and this is certainly true of Montreal!

Patricia M. Chang, David De Santis and Charline Montrose are native Montrealers and can help you discover the magic of Montreal!



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