When most people picture the old part of Montreal, they think of cobblestone streets and accordion players on busy plazas – and, on some level, they would be right. But there is a vastly underrated part that even locals know very little about, and that only recently started getting some traction.
Ladies and gentlemen, here’s everything you need to know about one of my favourite parts of my hometown: Old Port Montreal.
* Photo credit: Gaelle Leroyer
The suggestions below have been updated to reflect the COVID-19 regulations currently in place in Montreal.
Please respect the restrictions and health recommendations rigourously.
Where to take photos in Old Port Montreal
Both the Old Town of Montreal in general and the Old Port more specifically are certainly easy on the eyes of photographers with their narrow streets and stately townhouses; Rue de la Commune and Bassin de l’Horloge are among the most loved spots in the city. Let your camera be guided by the Old Port’s bygone atmosphere!
Old Port Montreal Food Tour
A visit to Montreal wouldn’t be complete without one (or two, or three…) gourmet indulgences. After all, my hometown is nothing if not a foodie destination but it can be hard to fully comprehend the extent of our culinary heritage without a knowledgeable guide. Local Montreal Food Tours offers three-hour long fascinating and well-priced food tours of the Old Port and Old Montreal that include five stops and seven tastings.
Habitat 67 is one of Montreal’s most iconic housing complex, designed by architect Moshe Safdie for Expo 67. In addition to being super photogenic on its own, it also offers visitors a unique and often-missed panorama of the city. During the summer, you can even book a guided tour with architecture experts.
Old Montreal festivals & events
One of the main reasons Old Port Montreal has gotten so popular over the past few years is the almost overwhelmingly busy list of events happening throughout the year; from outdoor dance parties in January (yes, you read that right) to an entire weekend dedicated to poutine (again, it really is a thing), let’s just say visitors will not be bored in this area.
- Montréal en Fêtes (December)
- Le grand poutinefest (July)
- Igloofest (January)
- Divina Dali (until November 2021)
Old Port Montreal outdoor activities
Not interested in wasting time indoors? if Mother Nature is kind enough to grace you with clement weather, Old Port is the place to be in both summer and winter.
- La Grande Roue de Montréal – Canada’s tallest observation wheel
- Le Bateau-Mouche sightseeing cruise
- History walking tour of Old Montreal
- Old Montreal ghost walking tour
- Montreal zipline adventure
- Saute Moutons jet boating on St. Lawrence River
- Ice and summer fishing
- Musical ice skating at Bassin Bonsecours
More things to do in Old Port Montreal
Sure, Old Montreal has the Gothic basilicas and the historic markets; but that doesn’t mean the Old Port doesn’t have anything to offer. Quite the contrary!
- Farine Five Roses: Having welcomed train visitors to the city since the mid-1940s, this 30-feet tall, iconic sign sitting atop a massive flour mill is famous for its blinking, bright red sign that act as a reminder of Old Port’s industrial past.
- Science Centre: a fun and whimsical museum where both kids and adults will be entertained by all things pertaining to science through a wide range of interactive exhibitions, with themes stretching from Star Wars to human evolution.
- Silo Numéro 5: Another token of Montreal’s bygone industrial history, the silos located in the Peel Basin were built in 1885 – right around the industrial revolution – and once were the highest structures in the city.
- Clock Tower & Beach: Best enjoyed in the summer, this modestly-sized but rather remarkable space in the Old Port features both a high-rise historic clocktower with fantastic views of Montreal, as well as a sandy and trendy beach along the edges of the marina.
- Musée Pointe-à-Callière: a renowned archaeological site, the museum was built over Montréal’s birthplace, which is beautifully showcased in the museum’s permanent exhibition.
- Fondation Phi: Is modern art up your sleeve? Old Port Montreal is home to a state-of-the-art gallery that regularly hosts and creates contemporary, thought-provoking exhibits with a strong focus on virtual reality.
Get the book!
Find out where I go for a romantic date, for happy hour drinks, for designer splurges, and for Instagram-friendly cafés. Inside this eBook you will find 40+ pages full of preciously handpicked, highly curated Montreal insight with little-known attractions, off-the-beaten path itinerary ideas, and neighbourhood highlights that locals love.