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Canada’s Summer of Sport city guides: Montréal.

The marvellous architecture, cuisine, shopping and nearby nature of this Quebec jewel are just some of the highlights in the latest from our special city series.

25 February 2015
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Suggested tweet: A Quebec jewel is next in our series of city guides for Canada’s Summer of Sport http://ow.ly/DiPSg #explorecanada

In 2015, the jewels in the sporting world’s crown will be in Canada. Toronto hosts the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015 action plays out at six cities across the nation.

Need more? Then Rogers Cup tennis, F1 Grand Prix in Montréal, RBC Canadian Open golf, Major League Baseball, Canadian Football League and Major League Soccer should satisfy sporting tastes throughout the summer.

To help visitors make the most of Canada’s Summer of Sport, we’re running a series of short and occasionally irreverent city guides for the seven host destinations of the World Cup and Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

Up now: Montréal, QC.

Age: 373 years

Appearance : From the rod-iron spiral staircases of the Plateau and the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal to the prominent green space of Mount Royal Park and downtown’s steel-and-glass skyscrapers, Montréal’s diversity of appearance mirrors the diversity of her people.

Montréal in five words : French, historic, chic, poutine, bicycles

Is it easy to get around? Montréal’s efficient Metro is Canada’s busiest subway, but many summertime tourists choose to manoeuvre through The City of Saints via the Bixi Montréal bike-share. (Bonus: all that pedalling equals guilt-free poutine.)

What’s the city’s hidden gem? Pies. Yes, we said pies. In a modern world it’s a simple pleasure to find an old-world pie shop: Rustique Pie Kitchen, in St-Henri.

Where can you catch the sporting action live? Have a notepad handy? Major League Soccer’s Montréal Impact score at Stade Saputo; catch nine Women’s World Cup games next door at Olympic Stadium. The hard-hitting Alouettes play Canadian football at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium; the men conquer the tennis courts at Uniprix Stadium for Montréal’s portion of the Rogers Cup. Find the fastest sport of all, the Grand Prix du Canada, at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve—named after the late Québeçois racing icon.

Are there fun bars and pubs to watch the games from, too? Last year, Chez Serge became Montréal’s most famous sports bar following an on-air anecdote from “The Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. (It’s still the only place you can watch a game from atop a mechanical bull.) Looking for a classy affair? Pub Burgundy Lion is a distinguished British sportive bar—ideal for viewing a football (soccer) match or golf game.

Enough about sport—where are the hot spots to eat and drink in the city? Book the Chef’s Table at Pastaga and savour seafood and sweet treats alongside engaging cooks. After three years in a food truck, Grumman 78’s new brick-and-mortar eatery wows with gourmet adaptations of classic street fare and an extensive wine list. Le Saint Bock microbrewery entices beer-lovers with an impressive selection of taps. Other local must-eats are Montréal smoked meat from Schwartz’s, bagels from St-Viateur Bage land poutine from La Banquise.

Some visitors like to shop ‘til they drop—where should they go? You can’t skip Rue Sainte-Catherine, the quintessential shopaholic street in La Métropole. While boutique bohemians prefer L’Avenue du Mont-Royal—home to one-off shops, cafés and yoga studios, upscale aficionados favour meandering along intersecting Rue St-Denis, where 300 merchants sell everything from comic books to lingerie.

What’s the nightlife like? Crescent Street is the après epicentre for every major event in the city. Brickwork buildings with floral-laden terrasses house beer-halls such as Sir Winston Churchill Pub (“Winnies”) and chic lounges such as Le Newtown. There are three hotels in this area if you can’t quite make it back to yours at night’s end.

Life isn’t just fun and games—where can visitors feed their minds? Start with the extensive Québecois artwork at Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, then move on to Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal for a 7,600-item modernist collection (plus rotating exhibitions). If visiting in June during the Grand Prix, experience art’s wild child: the Festival St-Ambroise Fringe de Montréal.

One of Canada’s attractions is its amazing nature—what are some nearby outdoor delights?  Mount Royal Park is but a taste of what awaits to the city’s northwest. Day-trips into Quebec’s Laurentians uncover serene hikes and canoe routes through scenic Canadian Shield country. If you’re looking for adventure closer to the city, try river surfing at Habitat 67, near downtown.

Make local friends in Montréal: Speak Franglais. One local describes this dialect as, “A little bit of Molière and a little bit of Shakespeare—all unofficial, but all Montréal!”

Make local foes in Montréal: No “short” comments about our beloved Mount Royal, please—it’s a “real mountain” to us.

Looking for more visual inspiration from Montréal and quebec? Browse our Brand Canada Library for thousands of images and videos from all over Canada.

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