Saturday, 14 February 2015

Best Views in Montreal

The city of Montreal is unique in that it was built on the largest island of what is now known as the Hochelaga Archipelago, a group of islands at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa rivers.  At its heart is Mount Royal, one of the Monteregian Hills.  Both mountain and river afford spectacular views in and around the city.  Here are five of my favourites, in no particular order.

1. Kondiaronk Lookout.  This terrace is named for a First Nations chief who contributed to a peace treaty with French Canada in 1701.  It's located on the south face of the Mount Royal escarpment and accessible on foot or by road.  Visitors are treated to a stunning view of the city and the Saint Lawrence River. On a clear day one can see several of the other Monteregian Hills in the distance.  Photo courtesy

2. Jean-Drapeau Park.  The park is comprised of two islands in the Saint Lawrence River which were once the grounds for the Expo ‘67 World’s Fair.  Today it offers many year-round activities and has great views of the city and suburbs on either side of the river.  One favourite viewing spot is on the Concorde Bridge that connects the park to downtown.  At right is the silver-domed Bonsecours Market which is a focal point of Old Montreal, and Mount Royal rises in the background.

3. Saint Joseph's Oratory.  Mark Twain once wrote of Montreal, "This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window."  There are still many churches in the city but the best known is Saint Joseph's Oratory which rests on Mount Royal's western slope.  Not only it is Canada's largest basilica but its dome is Montreal's highest point.  Photo courtesy Evelyn Reid. 

4. Lac Saint Louis.  Folklore states that the joining place of the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence Rivers was named for a young explorer who drowned here in 1611.  Panoramic views of the lake and its islands are accessible from the shores of many of Montreal's western suburbs.  It is frequented by watercraft in the warmer months; boaters can see a unique phenomenon as the green waters of the Saint Lawrence meet the brown waters of the Ottawa River near the centre of the lake. Photo courtesy

5. McGill College Avenue.  This downtown avenue is Montreal in microcosm: a wide boulevard on which stands steel and glass skyscrapers that are flanked by older granite, limestone, and brick buildings.  The road ends after only four blocks at the gates to the scenic grounds of McGill University, but the view continues up Mount Royal to the cross that stands on the northeastern summit.  The original wooden cross was planted in 1643 by the city’s founder as thanks to the Virgin Mary for sparing the settlement from flooding.  The current cross was installed in 1924. Photo courtesy Denis Chabot.


  1. Great to see pictures of your part of the world!

  2. Love these beautiful Montreal spots! We visited in September for our honeymoon/ 1 year anniversary and fell in love with the city. We couldn't fit in Saint Joseph's Oratory but will definitely visit on our next trip - hopefully soon! Crystal @EatDrinkCLE

  3. We love Montreal! Thank you for sharing! Tweeted. :-)