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Montreal (Montréal in French) is the largest city in the Canadian province of Quebec. It is the second largest city in Canada and the second largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. It lies at the foot of the picturesque Mount Royal on an island in the Saint Lawrence River, one of the world's major inland waterways. This web page attempts to give a brief outline of the city, alongside some of my photographs taken from a visit here in the 1990's.

The city is an international metropolis with over three million people living in the Montreal region. It is an industrial, commercial and financial centre and attracts millions of visitors each year, not only for business, but also as tourists; there are countless tourist attractions here, three centuries of history, cultural attractions and numerous events take place here, including the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Many students come to call Montreal their home as well - there are four major universities here.

Most of the citizens speak French, although English is commonly spoken as a second language. Of the Montrealers, roughly two-thirds claim French as their mother tongue, one quarter English and there are also groups of people of Greek, Italian, Hebrew, Chinese and many other origins. The cosmopolitan nature of the city means it has over 4,000 restaurants offering ethnic cuisine to be found from all over the world (including France, naturellement), as well as the popular outdoor cafes. The city may be considered a world centre and has hosted the Expo World Fair (1967) and the Olympic Games (1976).

The name of the city comes from the French Mont Royal which means 'Royal Mountain'. Montreal has played an important part in the history and development of Canada. As well as being a major seaport (the largest inland one in the world), it was once the country's largest city, a position taken by Toronto. Many buildings in the old city centre still stand from the earliest years of the city and serve as a reminder of the way of life that started here when the area was an outpost for the French fur-trading empire over 350 years ago.

In terms of Arts and Entertainment, Montreal has much to offer. It's three-theatre complex, Place des Arts houses major performances by leading performing artists from Canada and abroad and has also been home of the Montréal Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Opéra de Montréal. The city's brims with a variety of entertainment including nightclubs and theatres. Montreal is also the birthplace of the circus troupe Cirque du Soleil. The city appeals to the shopaholic as well, boasting luxury boutiques, large department stores and if the winter weather gets too much, miles of underground malls.

Attractions in the city range from the Parisian atmosphere of the St-Denis Street's Latin Quarter to the downtown mountain. The city has many beautiful churches and known locally as 'the city of a hundred churches', including Notre-Dame Basilica and Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal, Canada's largest church. Also, there are many important art, history, and science museums and also a Botanical Garden. The location of the 1967 Expo World Fair, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Formula One automobile race course and the site of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games, including its stadium which has an inclined observation tower are all also of interest to the visitor. From June until labour Day, some of the open areas in the city hold large cultural and recreational events. In June, there is an international fireworks competition, in July, a Jazz festival and in August, the film festival.

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