The second largest French-speaking city in the world, and one of the most bilingual, Montreal has a vibe I’ve found in few other places. It may lack (though change is underway) the modern glass sheen of Vancouver or Toronto, but makes up for it in character, and has more history than pretty much anywhere else in North America.
Couple of things probably helped my impression. First that unexpectedly on my first night there was a carnival on the main street. As home to Cirque du Soleil this seemed entirely fitting. Secondly I was there in the height of summer, when the continental climate brought 35C temperatures, in contrast to the literally freezing, and snow filled, winters.
Montreal may have only finished paying for the 1976 Olympic Games in 2006 and the stadium wasn’t even finished in time for the event, but they’ve been left a pretty interesting and unusual sports stadium. It does remind me rather a lot of the Space Jockey from Alien though…
Notre Dame Island
Man made island in the St. Lawrence River, home to the annual F1 GP (usually one of the best of the season), some lovely parkland and the funky biosphere, based on the principles of Buckminster Fuller, housing a reasonable science museum.
The symbol of Montreal and home to the best views of the city, along with some good, if challenging in 35C heat, running tracks.
Enormous basilica with an impressive views over the North of the city.
Musee d’Archeologie et d’Histoire de Montreal
The best archeological museum in North America that I’ve been to (though there isn’t a huge amount of competition), including a fascinating section underground showing the original foundations of the city.
Montreal is home to pretty every style of architecture from the 1700s onwards.