Of the many opportunities ISTR Conferences offer, an important element is the opportunity to learn how the Third Sector manifests locally in the host country. Our upcoming conference will feature panels on the Québecois and Canadian experience more broadly and a colloquium hosted by the ARIMA partnership embedded within the conference itself (starting the day before). More information about these opportunities will follow in future blog posts. For now, we wanted to help familiarize you with the city of Montréal and provide some context for the city where we will gather in July.
A striking union of European charm and North American attitude, Montréal presents visitors with a captivating combination of the historic and the new, from exquisite architecture in the Old Port to diverse art displays throughout the city to fine dining in the Plateau.
Its strategic position in the St. Lawrence River made the island of Montréal a popular trading area for regional First Nations: the Atikamekw to the north, the Anishinaabe (Algonquin) to the west and the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, to the south. Today, the First Nation communities most closely associated with Montréal are the Kanien’kehá:ka—who named the island Tiotia:ke—in the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory on the South Shore and the Kanehsatà:ke Lands on the North Shore, near Oka.
Once home to the First Nations people, this island gem on the magnificent St. Lawrence River has seen travelers from far and wide visit its shores creating a bustling port city. The French colonists were the first to arrive, followed by the English, the Scottish and the Irish. Later, myriad peoples from around the world settled the fertile ground stretching up to the now defunct volcano Mount Royal.
Today, 120 distinct ethnic communities are represented in its population of more than 3.6 million, making Montréal a veritable mosaic of cultures and traditions. The world’s second largest francophone city after Paris, it truly merits the moniker ‘international’ city, a cosmopolitan centre with proud roots in the past that enthusiastically embraces the future. A world leader in such industries as aeronautics, information technology and biotechnology, the city has also made significant innovations in medicine, multimedia, the arts and urban planning. Its avant-garde spirit has not gone unnoticed: in 2006, Montréal was named a UNESCO City of Design. The strength and number of its academic institutions have also won Montréal the QS ranking of the top university city in the world.
Montréal provides a diversity of choices of activities for visitors day and night. It is host to a dizzying array of events, exhibitions, and festivals year round. While Montréal’s masterful chefs continue to elevate its reputation as a gourmet destination, creative artists and artisans draw admirers in droves to the haute couture ateliers, arts galleries and charming boutiques that line the city streets.
Getting around the city on a day-to-day basis is hassle-free. Its quaint streets, plentiful parks, underground pedestrian network, and métro system are safe and easy to navigate. The best way to get to know the city is on foot, through any one of its colourful and vibrant neighbourhoods, from Little Burgundy and Griffintown to the Plateau and TMR, which overflow with markets, boutiques, restaurants and local cafés—diverse expressions of the inhabitants’ joie de vivre. Montrealers are welcoming hosts and multilingual, passionate about their city and excited to share its abundance. Photo caption: © Festival MURAL – The Seven Deadly Sins, Buff Monster. Photo by Alexandre Choquette
Tourisme Montréal provides a constantly updated events calendar, https://www.mtl.org/en/what-to-do, searchable by date, type of activity, and area of the city to help make the most of your visit.
July in Montréal brings Formula One races, the International Jazz Festival, Francofolies, Juste pour rire, Fireworks, and a Circus Festival for just a start.