Historically the commercial capital of Canada, Montreal is the second largest municipality as a whole, after Toronto. Named after Mount Royal, the hill in the heart of the city, it is one of the world’s five largest French-speaking cities, and most residents are bilingual with many also speaking a third language.
One cool fact about the city is that it has what is called an Underground City – a labyrinth of tunnels connecting 20 miles of shopping malls, museums, universities, hotels, banks, offices and seven metro stations. These were built in order to help the city’s residents shelter from the winter chill and snow, as well as from the hot summer temperatures.
Rich history and architecture
This city offers many interesting things to see and visit. For those who are in love with beautiful buildings, the city might of special interest as it features a rich history and architecture, being a UNESCO city of design. In case you’re thinking about visiting, do not forget to check out Old Montreal and the Old Port.
An important factor to the city’s beautiful architecture is the rule stating that no building is to be taller than the Mount Royal Cross. This monument has an interesting history as it was first erected by Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve in 1643, fulfilling his vow made to the Virgin Mary in his prayers to end a disastrous flood.
The illuminated version of the cross was installed in 1924 and given to the city 5 years later. It was in 2004 that the city renovated the monument and did additional work to improve access to the site and installed new park furniture. The Cross is made of steel and consists of 1,830 pieces.
If you’re wondering how people get around in such a large city, then you should know they thought about it ahead of time. Montreal’s metro was inaugurated in 1966, and today it has 68 stations on four lines. The best part is that every station was designed by different architects with individual themes and original artworks.
The city of Montreal was originally inhabited by the Saint Lawrence Iroquoians, who in the 14th century established a little village called Hochelaga at the foot of Mount Royal.
The world’s first recorded indoor ice hockey game was held in Montreal on March 3rd, 1875, at the Victorian Skating Rink. The game was organized by McGill University student James Creighton and it was played with wooden pucks by two teams of nine members.
Montreal is also linked to another great moment in the history of sports. It was during the Summer Olympics held in 1976 that the Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10 and captured the all-around gold medal. These days, the Olympic Park is a popular tourist attraction.