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>b>May 1642. A group of French settlers, men and women both, founded Montréal on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, on a tip of land that is now part of Old Montréal.

The area known today as Montreal had been inhabited by the Algonquin, Huron, and Iroquois for thousands of years before the arrival of the first Europeans.

Montreal celebrated its 350th anniversary in 1992, which prompted the establishment of new development projects, including the two tallest skyscrapers in the city: 1000 de La Gauchetière and 1250 René-Lévesque. More museums, neighbourhood rehabilitation, and an expansion of the Metro are under development.

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Montréal is a modern and colorful city offering the perfect blend of historic buildings, modern structures, and skyscrapers. Below the ground, another city exists, where extremes of heat and cold are unknown. To the west and north of downtown are mainly English speaking commercial and residential neighborhoods, centered around Westmount. To the east and north are French speaking quartiers, notably Outremount and Plateau Mont-Royal. In between are the many dialects and cultures of residents and business people from around the globe.

Montréal, home to a third of the population of the province of Quebec, occupies about one-third (60 square miles) of the island of Montréal, which is part of the Hochelaga Archipelago. The island is situated in the St. Lawrence River near where it joins the Ottawa River. At the city's center is a 764-foot hill called Mont-Royal, from which the city takes its name. Nearby rise more mountains: the Laurentides (the Laurentians), the oldest mountain range in the world. The foothills of the Appalachian mountains separate Québec from the United States and add to the province’s beauty.

Two cultural traditions live side by side throughout Québec and in the nine provinces of English Canada, but the blending occurs in a particularly intense fashion in Montréal. French speakers constitute 66% of the city's population, while most of the remaining residents are speakers of many other languages, but predominately English and Spanish.

Montreal is experiencing phenomenal growth and success. Unemployment in Québec, has shrunk to under 7%, the lowest mark in more than 2 decades and below that of Toronto. Crime in Montréal, already one of the safest cities in North America, has hit a 20-year low.

Favorable currency exchange and the presence of skilled workers have made the city a favored site for Hollywood film and TV production. A billion-dollar building boom has filled vacant plots of land all over downtown. The old hockey arena has been converted to a dining and entertainment center called Forum Pepsi, and La Ronde, a popular amusement park, has been given an exciting new look by the Six Flags empire’s multi-million dollar renovation.

The subway system, (the Métro), is modern and rapid. Streets are clean and safe. Montréal's restaurants are known for their fine and varied cuisine and their reasonable prices.

The city has fantastic parks and gardens. The huge Parc du Mont Royal offers year round recreational opportunities including walking, picnicking, jogging, horseback riding, bicycling, tobogganing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing.

The jazz and art scene immediately engage the visitor, and the nightlife is unrivaled in its zest and variety. Montreal is a city of culture, of tradition, of excitement and of promise. It is culturally diverse and always interesting. It is a place to visit as often as possible. There is always yet another delightful corner of this fascinating, fun city to discover.
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