Montréal: Places to Explore

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Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

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The neighborhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is one of the best spots to go if you're craving green space, plus it has one of Montréal's best markets. In fact, it's worth the trip on the Green Line just to see Jardin Botanique (Botanical Garden); the Insectarium, which houses the world's largest collection of bugs; and Parc Maisonneuve, an ideal place for a stroll or a picnic. Also here are the Stade Olympique, which played host to the 1976 Summer Olympics, and the leaning tower that supports the stadium's roof and dominates the skyline. The rest of the area is largely working-class residential, but there are some good restaurants and little shops along rue Ontario Est.

Until 1918, when it was annexed by Montréal, the east-end district of Maisonneuve was a city unto itself, a booming, prosperous industrial center full of factories making everything from shoes to cheese. The neighborhood was also packed with houses for the almost entirely French-Canadian workforce who kept the whole machine humming.

Maisonneuve was also the site of one of Canada's earliest experiments in urban planning. The Dufresne brothers, a pair of prosperous shoe manufacturers, built a series of grand civic buildings along rue Morgan—many of which still stand—including a theater, public baths, and a bustling market, as well as Parc Maisonneuve. All this was supposed to make working-class life more bearable, but World War I put an end to the brothers' plans and Maisonneuve became part of Montréal, twinned with the east-end district of Hochelaga.

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