Explore Montreal through Her Historical Sites and Neighborhoods

Most of Montreal's historical sites can be found in her cathedrals and museums dedicated to religious artifacts. Religious institutions figure prominently in Montreal's history as so they are well represented in this list. There are a few traces of early French settlements including the Order of Saint-Sulpice Seminary built in 1685, and the residence of the Governor of Montréal Claude de Ramezay, Château Ramezay, built in 1705. Most of the remaining historical sites still in existence date from the 19th century, as the area's wealthy residents have made way for stores, warehouses and office buildings. For a long time downtown Montréal was confined to the area around Notre-Dame and St-Jacques streets. Cobblestones can still be found in Old Montreal streets and newer buildings have kept some of the old facades all add to the charm of the neighborhood. Historic grain elevators and other light industrial buildings along with the clock tower can be found in the Old Port area - best explored by bike or on foot along the Lachine Canal. Sightseeing by boat is a popular option here too as all of the guides will offer commentary about Montreal's historical waterfront and architecture as well as make recommendations for further explorations.



Montréal's signature university, McGill received its charter in 1821 after being endowed and founded by James McGill, a wealthy Scottish immigrant, in 1813. The gift was intended to give English-speaking residents an educational opportunity....  Read More



This historic church is the seat of the city's Anglican Church. Built between 1857 and 1859, the neo-Gothic structure was designed by Frank Mills (who produced a similar structure in Fredericton,New Brunswick) to emulate a 14th-century English...  Read More



This small chapel, Montréal's oldest church, dates back to 1657. Margaret Bourgeoys, who founded the Notre Dame congregation of nuns, initiated construction, originally to provide sailors a refuge of peace and comfort. Legend has it that...  Read More



The Vieux-Port is Old Montréal's gateway to the Saint-Lawrence River. The port was once the hub of shipping and gave Montréal its powerful economic presence in Canada. In 1992, the city renovated the port as part of Montréal's 350th...  Read More

Le Musée du Château Dufresne
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Musee du Chateau Dufresne


Built between 1915 and 1918, the Chateau Dufresne is a beaux arts-style private mansion which was owned by the Dufresne brothers, two important members of the Montreal French Bourgeoisie. Today, it houses the museum, dedicated to Montreal's East...  Read More



The McCord Museum houses historic artifacts and visual art from the 18th and 19th centuries. Fun exhibitions like the toy collection allow older visitors to revisit their favorites from childhood while younger visitors can enjoy special school...  Read More

L'Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Canadian Tourism Commission. Photo by Pierre St-Jacques


Built in 1904, this is one of the world's most popular Catholic shrines. The Renaissance-style dome was the world's largest when completed in 1955. The shrine now holds a museum, a tomb, monuments, a 56-bell carillon and Stations of the Cross in...  Read More

Vieux Montréal
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Tourisme Montreal. Photo by Lorraine Deslauriers


The starting point of everything that Montréal has become, this area's cobblestoned streets and historic buildings practically beg walking tours. Though some may find it too touristy, the highlights of Basilique Notre Dame, the Old Port, the...  Read More



Built in 1829, the neo-Gothic Basilique Notre-Dame is built in the scale and manner of Europe's great churches. It's said that the protestant architect James O'Donnell, who designed the basilica, was so taken with the project that he converted...  Read More



The Château Ramezay, dating back to 1705, is one of the oldest buildings in North America. AMerican visitors will be interested to learn it was the site of Benjamin Franklin's attempt to persuade Montréal to become the 14th state of the United...  Read More


Meet Sherel Purcell

Sherel Purcell is a travel writer who specializes in golf, Montreal and Quebec, contemporary art, cycling and food and wine. Her articles appear on USA Today's 10Best, About.com, Aol, Matador,...  More About Sherel