Old Montréal and Griffintown: North American cultural capital - Tourisme Montréal Blog


Old Montréal and Griffintown: North American cultural capital

  • When: All seasons
  • What: Arts & Culture
  • Where: Old Montréal and Griffintown
With over 370 years of history, Montréal is one of the oldest and most storied cities on the continent. Considered Canada’s Cultural Capital, Montréal is the perfect fusion of past, present and future – and down by the riverside in Old Montréal, you’ll enjoy exploring and dining in a living period piece. Welcome to one of North America’s most beautifully preserved and active heritage areas, where cobblestones lead to culture.



Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Museum of Archaeology and History

This avant-garde building housing Montréal’s Museum of Archaeology and History is where the city’s story bursts forth into life, with full-dress costume re-enactments, exhibitions and interactive displays spanning the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Explore the archaeological dig, then plunge into the multimedia show Yours Truly, Montréal.

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Centre d’histoire de Montréal

Stroll along the St. Lawrence River or through the cobblestone streets to this centre dedicated to historic preservation. Housed in a gorgeous 1903 firehouse near the site of Canada’s first parliamentary building, the museum presents fascinating multimedia exhibitions on various aspects of Montréal’s history and identity.

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PHI Centre

Discover this multimedia, multi-vocation cultural building for a burst of the contemporary amidst the historical. A daring new interdisciplinary artistic complex integrated into a structure dating back to 1861, the entire venue can be transformed to accommodate everything from visual arts to live music.

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DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art

This private museum dedicated to international contemporary art has brought work by some of the world’s most famous artists to Montréal, including Sophie Calle, Cory Arcangel and Yinka Shonibare – with free admission to every one. The only thing that might overshadow the exciting and daring modern exhibitions presented in this retrofitted historic space are the legendary vernissages on opening night.

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Notre-Dame Basilica

Make a pilgrimage to this famous basilica, a stunning Gothic Revival church (and the location of Celine Dion’s wedding). With its sculpted wood interior, its starry-night ceiling of ravishing gold and blue colours, and an array of stained glass windows depicting scenes from Montréal’s past, Notre-Dame is a visual feast.

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Darling Foundry

Next stop, Griffintown. Follow the Lachine Canal westward to this adjoining neighbourhood once described as the Irish Gateway to North America. This storied art space has art literally coming off its walls, spilling from its façade onto the street outside, as well as in its two beautiful exhibition spaces (one of which is among the biggest in town) and its second- and third-floor studios, rented out to artists from around the world.

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At this huge exhibition centre located in a former Griffintown industrial building, you’ll find their own private collection on display (including a couple of breathtaking David Altmejds), international events like C2 Montréal, and the permanent location of contemporary gallery Division, which presents work by a powerful arsenal of contemporary artists (pun intended).

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Fun cultural musts in downtown Montréal

Montréal is always a good idea, and continues to be a top tourist destination for several reasons, one of which is the profusion of cultural highlights. World-class museums, music shows and art galleries abound for the enjoyment of culture-savvy travellers…

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Culture is in the air at the Quartier des spectacles

Montréal has established a tried and tested reputation as a city of culture where creativity in all its forms flourishes, emerges, and seduces year long, especially in the entertainment district: the Quartier des spectacles. Here’s an itinerary to help you…

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Old Montréal: Everything for the family

Filled with history, charm and unique architecture, Old Montréal is an absolute must for strolls and exploration with the family. Walk its cobblestone streets, and you’ll discover everything from cool spots for a bite to historical sites, museums and loads…

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