Celebrate Montreal’s 375th anniversary


Notre-Dame Basilica and Old Montreal will be central to 2017 celebrations of the city’s 375th birthday. (Julia Pelish file photo/ has teamed with to create a series of articles highlighting fantastic travel experiences in Canada. In this installment, Deputy Editor Rod Charles looks at the wonderful things the city has to offer and explains why you need to make a trip to Montreal in 2017.

Story by Rod Charles Deputy Editor

MONTREAL, QUEBEC — Montreal is getting ready to break out the wine, fireworks and ticker-tape for its 375th anniversary in 2017. The city has already seen a surge in tourism and it’s only going to ramp up when the party kicks off next year. The big investment will be special lighting on the Jacques Cartier bridge, estimated to cost $40 million.

According to Tourism Montreal, 2017 will be punctuated with commemorative events, marking a new phase in the city’s efforts to position itself as a cultural metropolis and international-calibre tourist destination. Tourism Montreal expects the total volume of visitors to increase by 6% over 2016. The buzz surrounding 2017 and the overall enthusiasm for Montreal are paving the way for a strong tourism performance.

Here are five reasons why you need to be in Montreal in 2017 for its big birthday bash.

1. Architecture

There’s no shortage of outstanding architecture and culture in Montreal. From the Montreal Basilica to Olympic Park, Montreal City Hall, Bell Centre and Habitat 67, Montreal is one of those cities that will give your camera a good workout.

While it’s easy to focus on the large, Montreal is also good at the small things, with each community offering its own unique footprint. Among the attractions are the external staircases, which are usually found off-the-beaten tourist paths and are unique to Montreal.

Housed in three gorgeous 19th-century neoclassical buildings, Le Place d’Armes Hotel & Suites is an architectural gem located right beside two others — Notre-Dame Basilica and the Old Bank of Montreal building (119 Rue Saint-Jacques) in the historic district of Old Montreal.

The hotel is also close to the Chinese District, a part of the city that offers even more examples of Montreal’s diverse architectural contributions.

Hotel Suggestion: Le Place d’Armes Hotel & Suites Guest Rating: 4.6/5.0
Location: 55 Saint-Jacques Street West
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $206* per night. Click here.

2. Step back into history


Montreal’s Old Port features outstanding sight-seeing opportunities, including a view of the tower above the historic Bonsecours Market. (Julia Pelish file photo/

It’s difficult not to talk about architecture without mentioning historic buildings. Enjoying all the fun things planned for 2017 is an excellent way to celebrate Montreal’s 375th birthday. Another way is to step back in time. Located close to Pointe-à-Callières Museum — a must-see museum — are three hotels in renovated older buildings that will allow you to enjoy a historic ambience while enjoying modern-day comforts.

Hotel Suggestion: Hôtel Pierre du Calvet Guest Rating: 4.6/5.0
Location: 405 Bonsecours Street
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $424* per night. Click here.

Hotel Suggestion: Auberge Bonaparte Guest Rating: 4.7/5.0
Location: 447 Saint-François-Xavier Street
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $146* per night. Click here.

Hotel Suggestion: Auberge du vieux Port Guest Rating: 4.7/5.0
Location: 97 de la Commune Street East
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $198* per night. Click here.

Bottom line: Whether you are into food, culture, architecture fashion, scenery, history or just a rollicking good time, Montreal is a city you have to get on your list of places to visit in 2017. It’s a birthday celebration you simply can’t miss.

3. Boutique Hotels

Montreal has several outstanding beautiful boutique hotels — too many to name here. With just 28 smoke-free guestrooms, Le Petit Hotel is an excellent choice. One of the things that makes Le Petit Hotel a standout is its location in Old Montreal, just a three-minute walk from Notre Dame Basilica and a six-minute walk from famous Bonsecours Market. This hotel has everything the traveller needs with free continental breakfast and WiFi and complimentary use of bicycles.

Another wonderful choice is Hotel Gault. With 30 smoke-free guestrooms, a restaurant and bar as well as a 24-hour fitness centre, Hotel Gault is within a short walk of all the action in Old Montreal. You’ll love the beautiful rooms overlooking the city, valet parking and massage options.

Hotel Suggestion: Le Petit Hotel Guest Rating: 4.7/5.0
Location: 168 Saint-Paul Street West
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $179* per night. Click here.

Hotel Suggestion: Hotel Gault Guest Rating: 4.7/5.0
Location: 449 Sainte-Hélène Street
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $224* per night. Click here.

4. Montreal Culture — Young and Trendy


The annual Montreal Jazz Festival, one of the world’s biggest events of its kind, hosts a diverse range of acts, including the Hypnotic Bass Orchestra. (Adrian Brijbassi file photo/

Montreal is a young, spunky, creative, energetic city and this is reflected in many of its prized events, including Just For Laughs Festival (July 14-30, 2017) to the Montreal Jazz Festival (June 28-July 8, 2017) and the Grand Prix Montreal festivities (June 9-11, 2017).

There are also several galleries that will allow a visitor to dive deep into Montreal’s artistic and cultural side, including Arsenal art contemporainStation 16 and FOFA Concordia.

If there is one hotel that reflects Montreal’s cultural and youthful side it’s Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel with its popular colours and displays of art.

Hotel Suggestion: Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel, Montreal Guest Rating: 4.8/5.0
Location: 1250 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $219* per night. Click here.

5. Poutine, Bagels – and Award-Winning Restaurants

Montreal is an outstanding city for food. If you enjoy delicious food — whether it’s food trucks, chocolates, poutine, bagels, simple hole-in-the-wall diners or award-winning restaurants, Montreal is a food lover’s dream.

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Diverse and bustling neighbourhoods like Little Italy, Verdun and Parc-Ex provide has treats for everyone.

One of my favourite restaurants in Montreal lives in the neighbourhood of Le Plateau-Mount-Royal. Schwartz’s Deli has been serving delicious food since 1928 and is one of the most famous places to eat in the city, just be prepared to wait in line if you want to sit down. It goes without saying you should order the Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich.

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For award-winning dining, there are several notable choices. publishes the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada, a comprehensive look at the best dining establishments in Canada.

Some of restaurants that appear on our list year after year are Joe Beef, Au Pied de Cochon, Club Chasse et Peche, and Toque! Experiencing fine-dining in Montreal is truly a pleasure but sometimes you just want to chill out and relax in the hotel. Two that are perfect for a foodie vacation are Hotel Intercontinental and Hotel Le Germain, not only because of their locations near many of our award-winning restaurants but because they also have fine places to dine themselves.

Hotel Le Germain features Laurie Raphaël restaurant, which offers authentic and creative cuisine. Besides an outstanding restaurant, Hotel Le Germain provides free continental breakfast and WiFi in its 101 smoke-free guestrooms.

Hotel Suggestion: Hotel Le Germain Montreal Guest Rating: 4.7/5.0
Location: 2050 Mansfield Street
Phone: 866-299-2910 Room Rates: As low as $220* per night. Click here.

Another thing to love about this hotel is it’s only a 10-minute walk to Europea (1227 Rue de la Montagne – 1-514-398-9229) — one of Montreal’s finest restaurants.

*Pricing accurate as of November 2, 2016 date on

** Secret Prices are available to app users,™ Rewards members and individuals who unlock Secret Prices on the website by subscribing to by email. Secret Prices will be shown where the “Your Secret Price” banner is displayed on your search results. Available on selected hotels and selected dates only. Subject to full terms and conditions.

Rod has previously worked for and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

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