Travel Guide: Explore the Diversity and Multiculturalism of Montreal
Montreal: A Brief History
Montreal is a metropolitan city located in the province of Quebec in Canada. It has a population of almost 2 million people, living not only on the island of Montreal itself, but also in the GMA (Greater Montreal Area). The GMA includes other islands like Laval and the South Shore.
Historically, Montreal, as was the case across North America, was home to multiple Indigenous groups, including the Iroquois. The Iroquois cultivated maize and other grains along the St. Lawrence River, which is a major waterway that runs across the city.
In 1603, French explorer Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635) arrived in Quebec, pushing the Iroquois out of their lands and passing on deadly European diseases like Measles, Typhus, Smallpox, and Cholera that saw the deaths of many. Unfortunately, much of Canadian history includes mistreatment of Indigenous groups. It is worth mentioning that they occupied lands like Montreal before European colonization to show respect and recognition for their ancestral and territorial histories.
By 1642, Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve (1612-76) founded the city of Ville-Marie, which eventually became known as ‘Montreal’ by 1665. The city was not only a missionary site of Evangelics hoping to assimilate Indigenous groups to European culture and convert them to Christianity, but it also became a major trading post. In fact, until the 1960s and into the 1970s, Montreal was the largest and most prosperous commercial centre in all of Canada.
Since Montreal was colonized by the Europeans, it is still influenced by European culture. Despite the negative effects of Indigenous colonization, European architecture, food, and culture continues to permeate Montreal in significant and meaningful ways.
Montreal is known for its stunning architecture, much of which is inspired by European styles and construction. Especially in Old Montreal, the historic trading centre of the city, which connect to the Old Port, the cobble-stone streets and ornate building furnishing give off a characteristically European flare.
Another popular feature of Montreal’s architecture is the structure of apartment buildings that line bustling streets like St. Denis. These homes are narrows and known for their spiral staircases. They can be a hassle in the wintertime when icy weather strikes but they are a unique feature of the city that cannot be missed.
Montreal’s replica of the Parisian Notre Dame Basilica is also a must-see architectural beauty. It is located in the heart of Old Montreal.
For a taste of traditional, stone and brick buildings, take a stroll through Old Montreal. This sector is full of artisanal shops, cafes, restaurants, and even high fashion stores, which are all located within stunning buildings that are often centuries-old.
Montreal also boats exquisite modern architecture. The city’s urban engineers have flawlessly meshed old and new structures in a way that is both remarkable and breathtaking for Montrealers and tourists alike.
Foods to Try and Where to Find Them
Montreal is not only aesthetically beautiful, but it is home to amazing culinary dishes from a number of cultures. From cafes, to restaurants, to pasty shops, the city is worth visiting for the food alone.
Coffee and Pastries
Salads and Foods for Health Nuts
Pho and Bahn Min
Montreal is home to a number of stunning parks and natural habitats. Mount Royal is by far the most popular visited spot in the city. It is an inactive volcano that has become a key location for hiking, biking, and picnicking.
Why visit Montreal?
Overall, Montreal is a stunning city. It champions diversity, multiculturalism, and social progress in admirable ways. So much about the city was missed in the short article, but it truly does offer a great taste of different cultures, traditions, and cuisines. From restaurants, to architecture, to its own history, the city is certainly worth visiting the next time you take a trip to Canada.