Montréal boasts of a downtown where people not only work but live, play and enjoy life with customary “joie de vivre.” A bustling metropolis of 1.9 million, the city combines modern facilities and attractions with old world charm.
There are more than 60 international organizations headquartered in Montréal, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, International Air Transportation Association and the World Anti-Doping Agency, and some 60 foreign and 80 financial centers also have offices in the city.
The region of Montréal is renowned for its expertise in the aerospace industry, specifically in aircraft assembly, engine manufacturing, overhaul and repair. The life sciences represent a booming industry in Metro Montréal. In all, there are 630 companies, including 150 public and parapublic research organizations. Greater Montréal is recognized as a center of creativity and excellence in digital technology. The region also excels in microelectronics and advanced materials, mathematics and modeling, computer and networking applications and services, multimedia (video games and e-commerce), photonics and the emerging Bio-ICT and Nano-ICT industries.
Michael Banks is co-owner of Les Passants du Sans Soucy Bed and Breakfast and was also past president of the SDC Vieux-Montréal (Commercial Development Association of Old Montréal). A visionary, he has been involved in the rejuvenation of the area of Old Montréal since 1986. His main interests are history, culture and the numerous activities going on in this historical neighborhood.
Getting around Montréal is easy — there’s an excellent public transit system which includes a metro and bus service. www.stm.info/english/a-somm.htm. You can also hail a cab on the streets. The vast majority of accommodations and attractions are within walking distance of the downtown core, or minutes away using public and private transport.
Montréalers have a great sense of fashion. In late spring or summer Montréal can be surprisingly hot and humid, so dress accordingly. During early spring and late summer, be sure to bring along something extra to pull on if it cools down during the day or later in the evening. Fall/Winter: Montréal can be cold, but you’ll be fine as long as you’ve got warm, dry feet. So pack your boots, don’t forget your scarf, gloves, and especially a hat — it can make a big difference.
The city offers 187 establishments counting more than 26,000 rooms. The award-winning Opus Hotel Montréal is conveniently located near both Montréal’s Convention Center and business district and restaurants and bars. www.opusmontreal.com
The Power Lunch
Le Montréalais is ideally located downtown, it is a two-level restaurant, including a bar section. A favorite with the downtown crowd, the restaurant offers a tantalizing menu featuring sunny Mediterranean cuisine, such as fish and seafood pot-au-feu, succulent grilled meats like their calf liver and roast prime rib and luscious desserts in a lively bistro ambiance.
In downtown Montréal’s Chapters Bookstore, Starbucks’ Coffee offers two hours of Internet service if you purchase a $5 gift card redeemable for a coffee. 1171 Sainte-Catherine Street West, 514.849.8825, opened seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Le Pois Penché is the latest see-and-be-seen restaurant. After a hard day’s work, sit down at the wood and polished brass bar to enjoy drinks and be tempted by their display of fresh shellfish piled high on crushed ice.www.lepoispenche.com
Scandinave Les Bains Old Montréal is my recommendation for those who crave uber-relaxation. This spa provides a soothing experience. Try the Scandinavian baths, a three-stage treat: Heating the body, a beneficial rinse in cold water and a period of relaxation, followed by a massage.
Foot Loose & Fancy-Free
Montréal-Trudeau International Airport is a mere 20 minutes from downtown and it handles some 200 flights daily to more than 100 destinations in Canada, the United States and internationally.
Thanks to our friends at Info Touriste Centre for providing the fun facts for this feature. Photos supplied by Tourisme Montréal. AT