March 4, 2014 — Here are some tips and fun facts to make your stay in Montréal even more enjoyable. So give it a go, and let the following guide lead you linguistically and culturally through a wondrous travel experience à la Montréal!
UNESCO City of Design
Did you know that Montréal was the first urban centre in North America to be designated a UNESCO City of Design? Did you also know that Montréal was the third major city in the world, after Buenos Aires and Berlin, to achieve this designation? There you go!
Our "underground city" has over 32 km (20 miles) of pedestrian walkways, indoor areas and tunnels linking eight metro stations, five train stations, 63 buildings, 10 major hotels (4,734 rooms), 2,000 businesses, 37 movie theatres and exhibition halls, 10 university buildings and 43 indoor parking areas. More than 500,000 people use the tunnels on a daily basis, which can be accessed through 190 different entrances.
Public art collection
Among the numerous public artworks scattered across the island of Montréal, some 300 belong to the city. The 1% project states that new governmental and other buildings receiving government subsidies must spend 1% of an overall budget on public art. The public art collection includes sculptures, monuments, busts, and contemporary art pieces.
Montréal, a circus capital
Numerous circus companies have chosen to settle in Montréal, with its advanced infrastructure, and a global festival that make it a springboard for young artists. Companies include Cirque du Soleil, Les 7 doigts de la main, and Cirque Éloize. Montréal is also home to the National Circus School, La TOHU, and the MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE festival.
Montréal Botanical Garden
With some 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, over 30 thematic gardens, the Montréal Botanical Garden is one of the largest and most spectacular botanical gardens in the world.
Montréal's 'heart' is Mount Royal, a stunning urban park and nature reserve designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the creator of New York's Central Park.
Building Height Bylaws in Montréal
In Montréal, the municipal building code stipulates that all construction is limited to a height of 200 metres and may contrast the view of Mount Royal. There is, however, one building downtown that exceeds 200m: the 1000 de la Gauchetière tower, which was built as a special project in 1992.
Montréal is the only francophone metropolis in North America. According to the 2011 census, 63.3% of its 1,650,000 residents are native French speakers. Also according to the 2011 census, 53.3% of Montrealers are fluent in both French and English, representing the largest bilingual population in Canada.
80 languages spoken
Close to 80 languages are spoken in the Montréal region, including French, English, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Greek, Chinese, German, Portuguese, Creole and Vietnamese.
Less morbid, Montréal went faster, higher, and stronger when the city hosted the 1976 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic Games ever held in Canada. It was here that Nadia Comaneci became the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event.