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Sightseeing in Montreal

The island city of Montreal is no pushover when it comes to the number of sightseeing spots in the city. Art and culture, sports, science and technology, history, parks and gardens, --Montreal is a city that will leave you floored with all her charming attractions.

Get to know the past from Montreal’s historic treasures. Orient yourself at the McCord Museum of Canadian History, which has a comprehensive photo collection (over 700,000) by William Notman and his son on Canadian life dating from 1850 to 1920 as well as interesting displays on Quebec history. Take a tour of Old Montreal or Vieux Montreal, the oldest quarter of the city boasting of many fine buildings dating back to the 18th century. Important sites here are the Place Jacques Cartier, Place Royale, Bonsecours Market, Eglise de notre Dame de Bonsecours, Place d'Armes and Basilica Notre Dame., the The Montreal History Centre, Chateau de Ramezay, the Sir George_Etienne Cartier National Historic Site, the Musee Marc Aurele Fortin are all worth visiting . The Pointe-a-Calliere or the Museum of Archaelogy and History built where the first European settlement was established is utterly fascinating.

If you have not had your fill of Montreal's historic flavor, worry not for there are more gracious, old buildings for you to linger on, inspecting the remains of days gone by. Visit the Renaissance styled Mt. Stephen Club dating back to 1880 or the Cathedral of Montreal modelled on the Basilica of Rome and built between 1870 and 1894. Don't forget to swing by the Old Port or Vieux Port with its Sailors' Memorial Clock. The four piers (quais) here have some permanent attractions and offer a range of entertainment in summer.

Get an eyeful of the arty stuff in town at the Fine Arts Museum (the Musee des Beaux Arts) with its dazzling display of Canadian, European, African, Native Inuit and Middle Eastern art. Other spectacular visual treats await you at the Contemporary Art Gallery and the Museum of Decorative Arts. For a more poignant display, stop by at the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre . Religious artifacts and displays are prominent at the Musee de Soeurs Grises (Grey Nuns Museum) housed in a nunnery that is a classic example of early Quebec architecture. For more on the architecture heritage of the country, visit the Canadian Centre for Architecture, partly housed in the remarkable Shaughnessay House dating back to 1874. There's an excellent sculpture garden here -do not miss it at any cost.

Take a break from all that art and culture and work out those muscles - walk, run, jog, cycle or play Frisbee in the Parc du Mont Royal, spread around the 233m extinct volcano Mont Royal .The biggest city park, it holds the attractive Beaver Lake -relax along its banks . Take off for the Island Parks (Parc des Iles) to the south on the two islands Sainte Helene and Notre Dame -- you can go by car, metro or water shuttle. On Sainte Helene is fun-filled La Ronde, the largest amusement park in Quebec, the interesting Stewart Museum and remnants of the 1967 World's Fair such as the Biosphere. On Notre Dame, is the massive, glitzy and glamorous Casino de Montreal - make or break your future here. Also here is the artificial JMb Plage des Iles beach, the Nautical Pavilion from the Montreal Olympics in 1976, and the Giles Villeneux racetrack where the Grand Prix is held. The Botanical Gardens, spread over 81 hectares is another amazing natural spot in Montreal - only the ones in London and Berlin are bigger than this garden. Gaze spellbound at the 30 garden settings here especially the Chinese and Japanese gardens and marvel at the over 700 types of orchids here.

The 1976 Olympics in Montreal contributed greatly to the city skyline -visit the Olympic Park & District with its flamboyant Olympic Stadium which can seat 80,000 spectators, the stunning Montreal Tower which offer's a birds-eye view of the city and the Sports Centre with its array of swimming pools. Closeby, the former Velodrome has been converted into a mind-blowing Biodome -- four eco-systems have been painstakingly recreated here with over 5000 plants and 4000 animals. The tropical rainforest section is definitely the showpiece here. If you like creepy-crawlies, head for the Insectarium with a collection from all over the world. It really is a bugs life in here.

Hold on! Don't take off for the horizontal zone yet -- there are miles to go before you can sleep. You've still got to see the Montreal planetarium and St. Joseph's Oratory, both in town. Don't miss a visit to the McGill University the most prestigious in Canada and home to the Redpath Museum devoted to natural history. And how about getting a little out of town to visit Lachine, 10 kms from downtown, with some interesting museums and great for river-rafting. Stop by at the Lachine Museum, the Lachine Canal National Historic Site and the Fur Trade in Lachine Historic Site. Further south of Lachine, go to the Kahnawake Indian Reserve and get a taste of native culture.

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