About Christian W
Lives in Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Since Nov 2013
35-49 year old male
I've lived in Scotland for most of my adult life but am now largely based in the Montreal, Canada. I've been a travel writer since 1997 and have worked on projects big and small: from guidebooks through magazine and newspaper articles to apps and website content. Even when not working I'm always exploring – usually on one of my ten bicycles, and often using the one with the child seat for my young daughter!
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Sacred & Religious Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings, Churches & Cathedrals
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Battlefields
Neighborhoods, Biking Trails, Historic Walking Areas
Specialty Museums, History Museums
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Mountains, Parks, Neighborhoods
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Neighborhoods
Shopping Malls, Neighborhoods
Points of Interest & Landmarks
Observation Decks & Towers, Parks, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings, Arenas & Stadiums
Science Museums, Architectural Buildings, Zoos, Natural History Museums, Gardens
Flea & Street Markets
Start where the city itself began, exploring a mix of cobbled streets, cozy restaurants and boutiques that make Old Montreal a stroller's paradise.
Built in 1656, this is Montreal's oldest church and a key Old Montreal landmark. Inside, the blaze of carvings, sculptures and stained glass may be a little gaudy for some tastes, but they're certainly impressive and unmissable.
Sooner or later any exploration of Old Montreal ends up at this flowery European-style plaza which buzzes with buskers, stalls and visitors, especially in the summer.
Once the city's commercial hub, the Old Port is now a very stroll-able area, not least because special events often take place here. But there's always an interesting cityscape to appreciate too: from gritty defunct port buildings to pretty venerable old townhouses, plus there are views over the expansive St-Lawrence river towards the iconic Jacques Cartier Bridge.
For a rewarding look at the city's humble beginnings, visit this archaeology and history museum. The collection includes all sorts of First-Nations and early settler artifacts, as well as some excavated city foundations.
Montreal's Chinatown may lack any specific attractions but its collection of authentic and inexpensive restaurants make it worth tacking onto the end of a day exploring Old Montreal.
The section of this street south of Rue Sherbrooke is a strip famous for its buzzing bars and restaurants, and is fun to visit for a drink into the wee hours.
Start the day with a quality breakfast in a hip Plateau neighborhood cafe - Avenue du Mont-Royal Est in particular makes for a great foodie hunting ground.
The city's own mini-mountain, Mount Royal is really three adjacent peaks that rise about 200 meters, just east of Downtown, to provide fantastic views of the city. It's Montreal's central park, so it's appropriate that it shares the same designer (Frederick Law Olmsted) with its New York cousin. The path up from Mount Royal's northern side is named after him and the ideal route up from the Plateau neighborhood to the Kondiaronk Lookout at the top.
Montreal's prestigious McGill University lies on the eastern foot-slopes of Mount Royal, on land donated by Scottish-born fur trader James McGill. The campus was built in grand Victorian style in the early 19th-century and is worth walking through along Rue Peel, which leads Downtown.
Probably Montreal's most revealing and intriguing street, Sainte Catherine travels north from the ritzy Westmount neighborhood, through Downtown, where it's the city's main shopping street, and on to its sleazier northern end where strip clubs rub shoulders with the chic haunts of the Gay Village.
Montreal has a reputation as a city of art, with its low rent neighborhoods offering studio space to the creative. While not offering much to keep kids happy, this is its foremost exhibition space and well worth a look.
A glorified mall to some but a refuge from severe weather for many, Montreal's Underground City is a 30 kilometer labyrinth of climate-controlled subterranean passages. They are replete with restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums and metro stations.
Arguably Montreal's finest museum, this is a must for art lovers, with all sorts of European heavyweights and Old Masters represented (including Rembrant, Picasso, Monet). It's also strong on Canadian art from Inuit artifacts to the likes of Paul Kane and the Group of Seven.
This busy street of pubs and restaurants intersects with Sainte-Catherine at the southern end of Downtown and is well worth a visit at the end of the day for food, drinks and people-watching.
Montreal's Olympic Park hails back to the 1976 games and while nothing much of the games themselves remains, its remarkable leaning tower makes it well worth a stop-off. It's the world's largest inclined structure (190 meters at 45º) and views from the top are breathtaking.
Montreal's Olympic Velodrome has been put to a new and novel use here as an indoor wildlife park. Several ecosystems are recreated here — from tropical forest to temperate woodlands and rivers to the polar world — complete with animal inhabitants which range from sloths to penguins.
Among the finest in the world, Montreal Botanical Gardens boasts 22,000 species in 30 outdoor gardens as well as an Insectarium where bugs of all shapes and sizes (most dead and mounted) inspire mixed emotions! Temporary art exhibitions and the like often provide an added attraction.
This exceptional outdoor food market is in a class of its own, as well as being primely located in the vibrant Little Italy neighborhood. A great place to find ingredients for a picnic lunch or enjoy local cafe fare.
Well worth a stop if you have time, this traditionally Jewish neighborhood has become one of Montreal's hippest quarters, full of lots of small shops and tempting cafes.
Finish your day of city sightseeing with a new angle on some now-familiar places, on this 90-minute boat trip that passes beneath the impressive Jacques Cartier bridge. It also provides a view of some of the St Lawrence River islands and their attractions.
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