Canada: Montreal

MJW4373 Edit

We went to Montreal this last fall because (1) Canada is one of our favorite places and (2) why not? We weren’t disappointed; it is a great city. Our timing with the fall color was not the best, but you can’t have everything.

MJW4146 HDR Edit 2
Montreal from Mount Royal Park, Belvédère.

For first timers like us, Montreal’s layout is confusing. Mount Royal is a biggish hill overlooking the city which mostly lays in the flat plain of the St. Lawrence River. Its volcanic geology is complicated, but it is west of the city with the river running mostly north, even though it appears to be south. Leonard Cohen, Montreal’s favorite songwriter, looks up at you from below.

MJW4192 Edit Edit
Airborne in Mount Royal Park.
MJW4296 Edit Edit
Square Saint-Louis

We stayed a few doors away from the Square Saint-Louis (Carré St.-Louis) with these fantastic Victorian town houses lining the square. There is a wonderful kiosk in the center of the park, where coffee is served for those heading to the nearby Metro. And the whole area was once planned to be underwater! After scrapping the original plan for the area to be a reservoir, it was developed as an urban square beginning in 1876. The Project for Public Spaces includes it as a “great public space.”

MJW4308 Edit
Square Saint-Louis
Square Saint-Louis – Victorian fountain
MJW4420 Edit
La Fontaine Park

The remarkably tranquil and pleasant La Fontaine Park (Parc La Fontaine) is just a short walk from Square St-Louis. The park is named after Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine who is “considered the father of responsible Government in Canada.”

MJW4426 Edit Edit
Gwen at La Fontaine Park
MJW4289 Edit

Graffiti may be a plague in some places, but Montreal has some particularly interesting examples – more public art than graffiti.

MJW4123 Edit Edit
Bonsecours Market

The Bonsecours Market is next to the river. It was the city’s main market in the 1800s and once held a session of the Canadian Parliament. It is full of mostly tourist gift shops now.

MJW4134 Edit 2 Edit
Along the riverfront.
MJW4226 Edit
Jean-Talon Market

My wife, who is something of an connoisseur of fruit and vegetable markets, declares the Jean-Talon Market to be the best ever.

MJW4256 HDR Edit
Jarry Park Lake
MJW4350 Edit
McGill University and downtown Montreal
Redpath Museum, Montreal

The Redpath Museum at McGill University reminded me of the Stovall Museum at the University of Oklahoma where I spent many happy hours as a kid growing up in Norman, Oklahoma. The exhibits including shrunken heads from the Jivaro were beyond amazing to a 10-year old boy. It so happened that the father of one of my friends was a professor at the university and allowed me into to some of preparation rooms. I will never forget seeing trays upon trays of horse teeth from the Pleistocene. But, I digress. The Redpath Museum has some wonderful exhibits both of general interest and specific to Canada and Quebec. You should go!

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal

The Basilica is – colorful. European cathedrals are severe and gray by comparison. If the daytime lighting and decoration are not enough for you, you can see a light show there at night. We passed.

MJW4460 Edit Edit Edit
Buddha Reserveé
Montreal façade

Montreal was a major banking center in the 1800s. There was even a Molson Bank; yes, the beer company. Several streets are lined with very ornate façades dating to this period.

Former Royal Bank of Canada building

The Royal Bank of Canada tower is am amazing neo-classical tower with art deco flourishes on Saint-Jacques Street. Once the tallest structure in Canada, the Royal Bank has since mostly moved out. The teller’s cage area has been transformed into the coolest co-working site that I have seen; I couldn’t bring myself to intrude on people working there by photographing them.

Former Royal Bank of Canada building
MJW4612 HDR Edit
Montreal City Hall
Near City Hall
MJW4582 Edit 2
Montreal Biosphere – 1967 International and Universal Exposition

I didn’t make it to Expo in 1967, although I remember wanting to go. But some of it is still there, including Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome. It is now a museum devoted to the environment (Montreal Biosphere). The artificial island it is located on offers an excellent view of the city across the St. Lawrence River.

Montreal, Canada.
Looking at Montreal and freezing boat passengers from Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More photos

Looking for more photos?

Subscribe to receive my infrequent email describing new posts. No more than one per month. Promise! (PS This popup will appear only two times.)

* indicates required
Email Format

Please confirm that you would like to receive emails from MJWhite Photography:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.