Montreal is one of the oldest cities in Canada, being founded by the French in 1642. It was originally named Ville-Marie, however after 25 years of growth the settlement gradually became known as Montreal. In 1760 Montreal fell into the hands of the British however this did little to suppress the french influences architectually and culturally.
Unlike many other cities that knock down older buildings to make way for more modern more space efficient developments, Montreal has retained its old town and charm. Many of the buildings are open to the public so Simon and I took the opportunity to look at some stunning interior design and to take a break from the wind. The Bank of Montreal (Canda’s oldest bank) had towering marble columns and large ceiling roses and chandeliers. City Hall and Palais de Justice (courthouse) built in the mid 1800’s are also here, topped with green copper domes.
The oldest part of the district is home to cafes, restaurants, galleries and museums. The streets are cobblestone and horse drawn carriages still rattle by regularly. Down by the old port the mix of industrialisation and recreation makes for a interesting and pleasant vista, especially as we were blessed with sunny blue skies.
As for our french, this is coming along too, we managed to buy two tickets for the subway and a couple of cups of coffee.