From the unique culture, influenced heavily by it’s French past, to the sublime weather to it’s interesting attractions and unique people, Montreal is a city of distinct personality unlike any in Canada. Though the city is located in North America, Montreal’s success is due to it’s decisively European flair which is rare to find on the continent. The urban forest of Montreal if filled to the brim with quirky places to experience and as for lodging, you’ll have many options, including the coziest cabins in Canada.
Montreal and its surrounding regions have so much to offer, you might have a hard time deciding just what you should focus on while you visit. There are a million and one things to do and it is no wonder should you find yourself in this predicament. By day, head out to explore some of Montreal’s best attractions and by night head into the city’s bar scene for great fun you will not soon forget. Right now, I’m going to cover a few things you can do with your time outside the bar scene. So, here are seven things you should definitely give a try while you visit the city!
Take a look at the Pied-du-Courant-Prison
A true eerie adventure awaits you at the Pied-du-Courant Prison, where it is rumored that the ghosts of the French-Canadian patriots who were hanged there still roam the prison grounds. Located just next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge this majestic looking structure features a free entry museum which showcases the high points of the rebellion in the history of Quebec and the role of the Les Patriots.
Hunt for ghosts
The Grey Nuns Mother House is without doubt the most haunted place in Montreal. When the Concordia University took over the building in 2008, Montreal decided that the tombs of the 276 persons buried there, mostly nuns, would remain in the crypt. Other dark tales concerning the place were about a mysterious fire which claimed the lives of at least 40 infants in 1918. If you are a fan of the supernatural, then this place is for you.
Surf the St. Lawrence
Montreal is miles away from the sea, so surfing should be the last thing if not none on your to do list. Still the St. Lawrence river is the place ripe for some surfing action. The Habitat Wave, as it is known as, is where you can hone your skills with the help of Imagine Surfboards. This is said to be the largest river surfing school in the world, for beginners and professionals as well.
Take a stroll in Jean Talon Market
This market was inaugurated way back in 1933, and is located in a region known as the Little Italy district. Till date it remains as one of the oldest public market in the country and the perfect place to sample fresh fruit and vegetables. The atmosphere is extremely friendly amidst a village like setting, where business is said to have been carried out cordially between the customers and the sellers for a long time.
The Jean Talon Market stands apart from other similar spots due to the diversity of the traders doing harmonious business there, which include farmers, bakers, butchers, fish sellers, grocers and more, all in one place. The market abounds in assorted eating outlets where one is sure to get a sumptuous meal. Local specialties can be found in almost every shop, along with products procured from neighboring regions, to cater to the taste of every individual.
This largest open-air market of North America, bustles with activity all through the year. The atmosphere inside is redolent with the aromas of herbs and flowers making walking around a real pleasure. Culinary demonstrations and other activities take place from time to time, which are open to visitors for active participation.
Step back in time at Fairmount Bagel
The bagels of Montreal are said to be far better than their nearest rivals in New York. There is no better way to enjoy this sweet treat than to visit the Fairmount Bagel, circa 1919. This is one place where you can witness the old traditional method of making handmade bagels in wood fired ovens, in full view of the customer.
Incidentally, this was the first bagel bakery of Montreal, located just off St Lawrence Boulevard. The family, till today, continues to make the bagels in the old-fashioned way, which the founder Grandfather Isadore mastered from the old country.
Visit the Notre Dame Basilica
This spectacular church, the brainchild of Irish-American James O’Donnell, was for over 50 years the largest in North America. Located at Place D’Armes Square, this excellent example of Gothic architecture has ornate stained-glass flooring, intricate carvings on the walls, palatial floors with high ceilings, all reminiscent of a chapel which is out of the ordinary. The church also houses the famous Casavant Freres pipe organ, having four keyboards, 92 electro pneumatic action stops and 7000 pipes, made by this master organ maker in 1891.
Whether you are looking for a place to eat, drink or explore, Montreal has something for you to experience, especially something quirky, which you will not find anywhere else in the world. This insider guide on the secret offbeat spots of Montreal, will go a long way in making your Canadian vacation fulfilling.
Click here if you’re interested in exploring Montreal’s Magical Nightlife!