Montreal for work -- what to see?

Old Aug 11th, 2014, 05:30 AM
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Montreal for work -- what to see?

It looks like I will be going to Montreal for a work trip next month. It covers two weeks so I need to decide whether to stick around for the weekend or fly home to see the family. I imagine there's plenty to do over the weekend but as this has just been thrust upon me, I'm very much in the ignorant stage.

I believe our business (cost) policy will dictate that we stay out by the airport (our customer is outside of Monreal proper). Hotel hasn't been selected yet though. I assume public transportation from there to the city center is decent? What do I need to know?

Suggestions for see over a weekend in September?

Forgive me for such a lame request. I know I have some research to do, but I'll need to book flights and hotels fairly quickly. Thanks.
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Old Aug 11th, 2014, 06:29 AM
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If you search back on this site, you will see a wealth of info on Montreal. For enjoying the city, staying by the airport is not the ideal. However if you need to be in that area, Montreal has excellent public transportation. As far as things to do, Montreal is a very lively, safe city with lots of international influences. It is best explored on foot or bicycle (one of the best biking cities anywhwere), with many interesting neighborhoods. The major neighborhoods of interest would be Old Montreal, the downtown, and the Plateau. Attractions would include Notre Dame Basilica, the botanical gardens, the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal, the waterfront, the Fine Arts museum, the large indoor/outdoor markets at Jean Talon and Atwater, the outdoor cafes and restaurants on the Plateau, the Biodome and Olympic Park, and the Biosphere.
With two weeks, you might want to rent a car for a day or so and explore some of the scenic countryside. There is a wine and cider producing area (a mini Napa Valley) about an hour east of the city, and charming resort towns like Magog, Bromont and Sutton. Although Montreal is bi-lingual, bringing a French English dictonary would be a good idea.
Try and get a free copy of the Montreal Tourists Guide from
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Old Aug 11th, 2014, 09:58 PM
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The best way to get from the airport to the city center (and back) is the 747 bus. Take your hotel shuttle to the airport.

Other options,( taxis, commuter trains, regular buses) to put it politely, suck. Be prepared for rude transit personnel.

You can go to the city after work, once or twice would be sufficient to see what there is to see in Montreal.

I would fly home for the weekend.

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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 04:32 AM
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Thanks both. I had decided to return before reading Mark's note. I'll treat this as a scouting trip and decide if I want to return some time with the family or not.

Much appreciated.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 06:02 AM
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Sorry to hear of your decision. If you are staying near the airport, taking the bus into town "once or twice" would only give you time to see one or two of the attractions zootsi listed. I can only assume someone in Montreal peed in cdnyul's cornflakes, or that s/he's been kidnapped and forced to live there. I've visited twice: once for 3 days and once for 4, haven't seen everything on the list, and thoroughly enjoyed both trips.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 02:30 PM
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We are staying at the Novotel Montreal for the first week. That appears to be a little closer to the action.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 05:58 AM
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I was also mystified by the advice that going into Montreal after work "once or twice would be sufficient to see what there is to see in Montreal." Maybe intended as a joke? I would certainly disagree. Montreal is a wonderful city with many attractions. Our family has visited many times over the years. We feel lucky to be close enough for frequent weekend trips.

My husband and I are interested in history and especially recommend the Pointe-à-Callière archeological museum, the McCord museum near McGill and the Chateau Remezay.

There are many festivals all year round, especially in the summer.

The tourist web site has a good description of different events and attractions, including interesting neighborhoods to explore

The Novotel is in a good downtown location.
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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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While Montreal has had its share of public transportation problems, the system is better than most in North America; Montreal is still one of the few North American cities where you can live and live well using public transportation and your own feet. The bike trails in Montreal are fantastic; I've not seen a more extensive network of trails in North America anywhere.

Novotel is centrally located. Zootsi has mentioned much that I would recommend seeing, but I will add to that Mount Royal Park, which you could walk to after work one evening.

Have a great trip, Daniel
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Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 07:51 PM
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Adding to Daniel's comment, great city views from the Chateau on Mount Royal which is accessible by bus. From there you can walk down the stairway through the McGill campus. We did this during the day, so not sure how easy it would be in the evening.
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Old Aug 24th, 2014, 04:25 PM
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i'd only be repeating other's ideas but i spent a fabulous week in montreal last september around a conferenvce. i had the advantage of staying dt as the conference was at the quite wonderful omni mont royal and my expenses were covered for 4 of my 7 nights.

everyone is correct. public transport is quite wonderful. and the bixi bike share program the paths daniel mentioned all contribute to a great cycling city.

a caveat about the 747 bus. i took it into dt on a mid friday afternoon and it was quick and comfortable and very reasonable. i had to return to the airport the following friday afternoon and the trip took an agonizing 1hr 40 minutes in solid traffic. there did not appear to be any priority bus lanes on this route. i understand you can get to an outer metro stop which intesects w/ the 747 or another bu heading to the aerogare. i'm not sure if that is true.

i was quite surprised that a vibrant city like montreal has such dismal traffic impacted access to the airport. even in toronto you can take metro to kipling and only be subject to the vagaries of traffic for ashort stint on the airport flyer bus. the whole trip is the cost of one metro ticket. ottawa has the wonderful busway.vancouver now has skytrain on the canada line

i can't but imagine that tterrible airport access dampens business endeavors . even if one can afford taxi's or limo service. they are all subjected to the potential for gridlock.

however the charms of montreal and les habitants more than make up for the (potential) torture of getting to and from the airport imo

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