• Photo: (c) Mmckong | Dreamstime.com

Downtown and the Golden Square Mile

The heart of Downtown—with department stores, boutiques, bars, restaurants, strip clubs, amusement arcades, theaters, cinemas, art galleries, bookstores, and even a few churches—runs from avenue Atwater to boulevard St-Denis. Ste-Catherine is also the main drag of the Quartier des Spectacles, which runs west to east from rue Bleury to rue St-Hubert. Inside this arts and entertainment district are the Place des Arts

and several other cultural venues; it also serves as the Downtown home to most of Montréal's many summer festivals.

Walk farther north on rue Crescent to rue Sherbrooke and the lower slopes of Mont-Royal and you come to what was once the most exclusive neighborhood in Canada—the Golden Square Mile. During the boom years of the mid-1800s, baronial homes covered the mountain north of rue Sherbrooke. Many are gone, replaced by high-rises or modern town houses, but there are still plenty of architectural treasures to admire, most of them now foreign consulates or university institutes.

And underneath it all—the entire Downtown area and then some—is Montréal's Underground City, a vast network of more or less anything you'd find on the street above.

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