La Ronde amusement park
Montreal Grand Prix
"Just for Laughs" Comedy
• Cross-country skiing During the winter, many parks offers the possibility to do cross-country skiing with traced paths.
• Parc regional de l'Ile-de-la-Visitation (ski rental available)
• Parc du Mont-Royal (ski rental available and usually the best ski conditions)
• Parc Maisonneuve and Jardin Botanique (no ski rental).
• Year-round ice-skating, 1000, rue De La Gauchetière (metro Bonaventure),
• Canoeing and kayaking,
• Casino de Montréal: 1, avenue du Casino (metro Jean-Drapeau).
• La Ronde (Six Flags): 22, chemin Macdonald (metro Jean-Drapeau). $33.99, $25.99 without rides, 11- pay $20.99; Season pass individual $85 or family $199. Discounts are readily available — for instance, a Coca Cola tin is worth a $5 discount on any rides ticket.
An interactive map of the cycle path network is available at the Vélo Québec (Bike Quebec) website . Particularly pleasant places to cycle and skate include:
• Parc Maisonneuve A large park with smooth paths.
• Parc Jean-Drapeau Particularly the Île Notre-Dame on the Formula One race track: a fantastic view across the water to downtown Montreal.
• Paths along the Lachine Canal, west of the Old Port.
• Paths along the Riviere-des-Prairies. You can ride across Montreal Island from west to east along the river on the north of Montreal. Many sites have incredible views. A stop at Perry Island is a must.
• Carré Saint-Louis, corner of rue Saint-Denis and rue Prince-Arthur, slightly north of rue Sherbrooke (metro Sherbrooke). A charming little park with majestic trees and a lovely fountain, lined with charming houses on three sides (St-Denis is the fourth side).
• Parc Jean Drapeau. The former Expo 67 fairgrounds, Parc Jean Drapeau is spread across two islands in the Saint Lawrence River. (metro Parc Jean Drapeau)
• Parc Lafontaine, from avenue Papineau to avenue du Parc Lafontaine and from rue Rachel to rue Sherbrooke. Ice skating on the lake in the winter, baseball, boules, and outdoor theater in the summer. (metro Sherbrooke)
• Parc Maisonneuve and Jardin botanique, from rue Sherbrooke to boulevard Rosemont and from boulevard Pie-IX to avenue Viau (metro Pie-IX or Viau).
• Parc du Mont-Royal, North of avenue des Pins between avenue du Parc and chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, 514-843-8240 This beautiful, immense urban park tops the "mountain" (at 232 metres, it's more like a hill) that overlooks all of Montreal and lends the city its name. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, creator of Central Park in New York, the park is elegant and accessible, and has hundreds of nooks and crannies for exploring. A broad and gradual 5-mile bike and pedestrian path begins at the corner of avenue Mont-Royal and avenue du Parc, wending its way around the mountain and culminating at the Belvédère (lookout), with incredible views of downtown, the St. Lawrence and the Eastern Townships. Numerous smaller paths and trails crisscross the park. For lazy visitors, or those with limited mobility, you can enjoy a wonderful view from the mountain by taking bus route 11, which stops at the lookout on Chemin Remembrance, as well as Beaver Lake, see the STM website for information. Every Sunday during the summer, thousands of people get together at the monument on avenue du Parc to enjoy the big tam-tam jam.
• Parc Jeanne-Mance, bordered by avenue du Parc, avenue Duluth (with a small extension south as far as avenue des Pins), rue de l'Esplanade and avenue Mont-Royal, across from Parc du Mont-Royal. Includes tennis courts, baseball/softball diamonds, a soccer/football pitch, beach volleyball courts, a skating rink in winter. Also a very popular dog-walking venue.
• Parc de l'Ile-de-la-Visitation, rue d'Iberville and boulevard Gouin, (514) 280-6733 (metro Henri-Bourassa, Bus 69 east). This regional park is along the Riviere-des-Prairies. Quiet and enjoyable place to bring a lunch and relax for an afternoon. Good starting point for a cycling tour along the river.
Montreal has a bewildering variety of festivals, ranging from one-day ethnic fairs to huge international productions running two weeks or more. They are generally held in the summer and autumn, though increasingly they can be found throughout the year. Here are some of the larger ones:
• Festival des films du monde/World Film Festival The Festival is open to all cinema trends. The eclectic aspect of its programming makes the Festival exciting for the growing number of participants from the five continents. Every year, films from more than seventy countries, including well-known and first-time filmmakers alike, are selected. There usually are free outdoor projections every night. Late August - early September.
• Festival du Monde Arabe In November, an annual festival celebrating the music and culture of the Arab world takes place in Montreal. Many Arab performers, traditional and modern, take the stage.
• POP Montréal International Music Festival A massive feast of up-and-coming bands in a variety of popular genres. From September 28 to October 2, 2005, there will be more than 80 events, 300+ artists, a conference about pop and politics, an indie arts fair, and more! POP showcases emerging and innovative artists along side rising international stars and is committed to encouraging vibrant indie communities. 514-842-1919
• Festival Juste pour Rire/Just For Laughs Festival Comedy festival with three main components: indoor paid shows (usually standup, but not always), free street theatre/comedy, and a mini film festival called Comedia. June.
• Festival Mondiale de la bière In Early June yearly: 5 Days of tasting beers, ciders and other beverages from all over Quebec, Canada and further afield. 2004's event boasted over 340 different beers from 130 countries. There is no admission fee (but you can buy a souvenir sampling mug for about $8) and samples typically sell for 3-4 tickets ($1 a ticket) for a 150-200 ml sample. There are also scheduled musical performances and food kiosks. ()
• Francofolies International festival dedicated to French music from all around the world. Late July - early August.
• Montréal en lumière/Montreal High Lights A relatively new wintertime affair, attempting to transplant the city's festival magic to the cold season. Includes three main categories of activities: food and wine, performing arts, and free activities both indoor and outdoor. February.
• Montreal International Fireworks Competition (Le Mondial SAQ), in La Ronde amusement park (in Parc Jean-Drapeau), 514-397-2000 If Montreal feels like a non-stop party during the summer, twice-weekly fireworks events definitely contribute to it. This fantastic festival features full-length fireworks displays, accompanied by orchestral music, by national teams from about a dozen countries around the world. Although the hot seats are inside the La Ronde theme park, the fireworks are visible from pretty much any clear space or rooftop in the center of the city. Pedestrians can watch from Jacques Cartier Bridge, which is closed from 8PM on fireworks nights. Another good spot is the promenade west of the Old Port. $35-45 (seats in La Ronde, free everywhere else). Saturdays 10PM from mid-June to late July, plus Wednesdays 10PM from mid-July on.
• Montreal International Jazz Festival One of the world's largest festivals of its kind, featuring both indoor concerts (paid) and many free outdoor shows, including at least one by a major act. Late June - early July.
• Other film festivals: In addition to the WFF, Montreal has around a dozen film festivals of varying size and scope. Among the better-known ones: Fantasia (action and fantasy, July, ); Image + Nation (gay and lesbian, September, ); Festival du nouveau cinéma de Montréal (new filmmakers, well-known auteurs, new media, October, ); Cinémania (French cinema with English subtitles, November, ); Les Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (November, documentaries, ); Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (Quebec cinema, February, ).
• St-Jean-Baptiste fiesta June 24th is Quebec's national holiday (Fête nationale). During the evening, a huge show takes place at Maisonneuve park. The show to go to hear Made-in-Quebec music. Free. Street parties can also be found all over the city.
Sports to watch
• Canadiens, Ice hockey, Canada's national winter sport: Bell Centre, 1260 rue De La Gauchetière (metro Lucien-L'Allier or Bonaventure). One of the greatest institutions in Quebec culture. Also called le Tricolore, le bleu-blanc-rouge (both nicknames refer to the team's red-white-blue color scheme), les Glorieux (because of their many championships, the most recent being in 1993) or la Sainte Flanelle (loosely, "holy cloth", because the Canadiens' uniform is revered by fans and, the fans hope, by players). Anglophones commonly refer to the team as the Habs, short for habitants, meaning Quebec rural folk. This nickname probably originates from a misunderstanding of the H in the team logo, which consists of two nested C's enclosing an H (for Club de Hockey Canadien). In recent years, the Canadiens have fallen on hard times in the standings and playoffs, but the arrival of new ownership, management and team-building strategies have given hope that better days are not far off. There was no 2004-2005 season due to the NHL lockout, but recent successes in negotiations has made the return of hockey for the 2005-2006 season likely.
• Alouettes, Football (Canadian Football League). Percival Molson Stadium, avenue des Pins at University (playoffs: Olympic Stadium). A dominant team in recent regular seasons, the Als have only won the Grey Cup once since being reborn in 1996. Molson Stadium is an excellent place to see a game, but tickets can be hard to come by; the team has sold out all 46 games in the facility since moving there in 1998.
• Impact, Football association (soccer): Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard, 1000, rue Émile-Journault (metro Crémazie). Consistent contenders.
• Grand Prix du Canada/Grand Prix of Canada Formula 1 race held every June. The city buzzes with events including several large street parties.
• Tennis Montreal hosts Master's ATP series event (men) each two years. The other year, Montreal hosts a WTA event (women).