Montreal is often considered to be the most flamboyant city in Canada, and certainly offers an irresistible combination of traditional French flair and cosmopolitan creativity. The city has a long history of immigration, attracting people first as a major fur trading post, then through 19th century industrialisation and more recently as a post-war enclave for people escaping prohibition across the border in the US. This means that today the Montreal is a wonderful melting pot of cultures and offers residents and visitors alike a vastly eclectic array of cultural and culinary experiences.
The city sits at the confluence of the Ottawa and St Lawrence Rivers – Montreal itself actually being an island – and the various suburbs spill out around a large, central hill and civic park, Mont Royal, towards the surrounding waterways. The historic heart of the city – Old Montreal – remains near the waterfront, where cobbled streets and grand stone buildings make you feel a little bit like you’ve stepped back in to 16th century France. The impressive Basilica Notre Dame and lively Place Jacques Cartier act as good landmarks for visitors whist charming cafes, shops and galleries line the surrounding streets.