Architecture and history

© Tourisme Montréal, Daniel Choinière - Old and new buildings

Only in Montréal does a simple stroll seem like time travel: you go back in time or leap to the future with every step. With memories of New France swirling amongst ultramodern construction, it’s no wonder that Montréal was the first North American city to be appointed a UNESCO City of Design (2006).

Past
Step back to relive the romance of days gone by amidst Old Montréal’s cobblestone streets and 18th- and 19th-century stone buildings, taking time to gaze in awe at Notre-Dame Basilica.

Once home to Canada’s wealthiest neighbourhood, the Golden Square Mile features some of Montréal’s most luxurious real estate with gorgeous Victorian homes and tree-lined streets.

Present
Montréal’s new jewel of urban design—the Quartier international—displays an eclectic mix of old and new with striking skyscrapers nestled alongside heritage buildings. The World Trade Centre that fuses modern design with historical buildings is an example of such architectural ingenuity, as is the nearby Montréal Convention Centre whose multi-coloured glass façade colourfully reflects light in and outside the building. And let’s not forget Place Ville Marie and the Underground Pedestrian Network that set the scene for Montréal’s cosmopolitan vibe.

An international research centre and museum, the Canadian Centre for Architecture is a magnificent structure which merges a contemporary building with a grand 19th-century house.

Where Montréal “lives”—its neighbourhoods with wrought-iron staircases, “plexes” of multiple configurations, and the cultural touches of our diverse communities – reveal the true nature of this tremendous city.

Future
Nearby, futuristic constructions such as Expo 67’s geodesic Biosphère, the Casino de Montréal, Habitat 67’s building-block apartments and the Olympic Stadium, built in 1976 for the XXI Summer Games, are all testament to Montréal’s avant-garde vision.

Feeling inspired after reading this article? Have a look at the Old Montréal Itinerary - Architecture to find out how to make the most of your stay in Montréal.