Old Montreal is a popular tourist destination since it holds some of Montreal’s oldest buildings, many of which date back as far as the 1600s. This historic neighborhood is picturesque and full of character. Lined with cobbled streets and as a culture hotspot, Old Montreal is a must-see. Here we list our top things to do and see.
More recently known as the place where Canadian superstar Celine Dion got married, Place d’Armes is a beautiful and historical public square in the heart of Old Montreal. The square is also bordered by some of Montreal’s most impressive buildings. On the Northern side you’ll find the old Bank of Montreal and on the Western side, the Aldred Building.
Place d’Armes, Montréal, QC
The Montreal Town Hall
The Montreal Town Hall is a large and impressive building, which was modeled after the Tours Town Hall near Paris. Designed by Henri-Maurice Perrault and Alexander Cowper Hutchinson, it was built between 1872 and 1878 in what is known as the Second Empire style. In 1984 it was designated a National Historic Site.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm
275 Rue Notre-Dame E, Montréal, QC, +1 514 872 0311
Market, Restaurant, Bar, Canadian
Market first started in 1847
Situated on Saint-Claude Street lies Bonsecours, one of Canada’s finest heritage buildings. The Market was inaugurated in 1847 and contains 15 boutiques featuring top-quality made-in-Quebec creations, and various restaurants and bars. It used to be the oldest and largest public market in Montreal so it has changed somewhat but still remains an incredibly impressive piece of architecture.
Opening hours: every day from 10am
350 St-Paul Street East, Old Montreal, QC, +1 514 872 7730
Picturesque street leading to Place Jacques Cartier
Saint-Paul Street is one of the most picturesque streets in Montreal. There isn’t much to do on the street but it is worth walking down it due to its architecture and the general ambiance. Eventually, you’ll hit Place Jacques Cartier, which is a square named after the explorer Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for France in 1535.
Rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC
History and archaeology museum
Pointe-à-Callière is a history and archaeology museum down Saint-Sulpice Street. The modern architecture and futuristic displays may seem at odds with the exhibitions on show but contribute to a very fascinating and interactive experience.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm
350 Place Royale, Montréal, QC, +1 514 872 9150
Museum and historic building
Château Ramezay is situated on Notre-Dame Street and is a museum and historic building. It was the first building to be declared as a historical monument in Quebec, designated one of the National Historic Sites of Canada in 1949. The Museum earned the National Award of Excellence from the Landscape Architects of Canada in 2003. The beauty of the historic building alone is worth a visit.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9.30am-6pm
280 Notre-Dame Est, Montreal, QC, +1 514 861 3708
Small, beautiful chapel with artwork on ceiling
Restored in 1771, Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours is one of the oldest churches in Montreal. The original stone church was completed in 1678 but burnt down in 1754. The chapel is just north of the Bonsecours Market and is a must-see religious site.
400 Rue Saint-Paul E, Montréal, QC, +1 514 282 8670
The Montreal Science Center
Science museum in Old Port
The Montreal Science Center is a science museum located on the border of Old Montreal and the Old Port of Montreal. It is home to an IMAX cinema and, more famously, interactive exhibitions on science and technology. There is so much to see and do here that it’s a great place to spend the day (or two).
Opening hours: Mon-Thu 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 10am-5pm
2, rue De la Commune Ouest, Montreal, QC, +1 514 496 4724
Vieux-Port de Montréal
Port bordering Old Montreal
Though the Old Port is not technically in Old Montreal, it gets listed as a top attraction in Old Montreal so frequently that we thought we would mention it. Vieux-Port was used as early as 1611 by French fur traders and now draws six million tourists annually. Here you can catch a bite to eat, walk, cycle, rollerblade, and rent a pedalo or quadricycle, to name just a few of the activities Vieux-Port offers.
Rue de la Commune Ouest, Montreal, QC, +1 514 496 7678
The Centre d’histoire de Montréal
The history of Montreal in a museum
With three floors and several exhibitions, The Centre d’histoire de Montréal is another museum in which you can spend hours inside, learning about the eventful history of Montreal. Learn about Montreal’s history through sound environments, impressive images, and testimonies.
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 10am-5pm
335 Place d’Youville, Montréal, QC
By Margarita Milne