Built in 1930, the Jacques Cartier Bridge connects the Island of Montreal to both the Île Sainte-Hélène and the mainland shore of Longueuil. It’s one of Canada’s busiest bridges, on which traffic comes to a standstill during rush-hour, but a separate lane for pedestrians and bikes provides an incredible view of the city’s skyline.
Built as the American Pavilion for the 1967 World Expo, the Biosphère on Île Sainte-Hélène has become one of the defining landmarks of Montreal. Today, this geodesic dome is home to a museum about the state of our planet’s environment.
Perhaps the most iconic piece of architecture in Montreal is Habitat 67, designed by Israeli/Canadian architect Moshe Safdie for the city’s World Expo. The brutalist interlocking system of identical concrete living cubes still seems as outlandish and visionary as it must have in 1967.
Jürgen and I are really clever guys. Check this out: while planning our hike on Mont Saint-Hilaire, we decided against going on a weekend, and instead chose a Monday. Because the mountain would be less busy. Now that’s clever! But as it turns out, Quebec was celebrating Patriots’ Day on this particular Monday. Turns out, we’re not so clever after all.
Located in the neighborhood of Plateau Mont-Royal, the Parc La Fontaine is a popular place for picnics, strolls, and laying out in the sun. This is among the city’s largest parks, at 84 acres, and on summer weekends, you’ll find nearly every square inch of it occupied.
In 1976, the same year as it would be hosting the Summer Olympics, Montreal moved its port a few kilometers downstream, opening up a significant section of prime riverside land in the historic center. The Old Port was redeveloped in the 1990s and has since become one of Montreal’s favorite hangout zones, with parks, museums, activities, cafes and even a beach.
Located just north of Quebec City, the Chute-Montmorency provides a perfect half-day excursion. This waterfall has a height of 83 meters, taller than Niagara. And by following an exciting trail which includes a suspension bridge and a gondola, you’re able to admire it from every conceivable angle.
Mont Royal is a lot larger than we expected. Sure, we figured that the hill which provides the city its name would be big, but we didn’t know this hill would be roughly the same size as the city itself. So it came as a shock to learn that the northern side of Mont Royal is nothing but cemeteries… half the mountain, dedicated to the dead.
As the St. Lawrence River winds its way from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean, most of its journey is smooth sailing. However, just before it reaches Montreal, the river hits a rough patch. Jürgen and I hiked to the neighborhood of LaSalle to check out the Lachine Rapids.
Not to be confused with the Biosphere on the Île Sainte-Hélène, the Biodôme is a small zoo housed in the former Olympic velodrome. The zoo is organized into five distinctive ecosystems found in North America, introducing some of the plant and animal life found in each.