© Société du parc Jean-Drapeau, Gilles Proulx Credits: © Société du parc Jean-Drapeau, Gilles Proulx
Day 1 – Morning
BEST FOR THE FESTIVAL FANATIC (Week-ends du monde, Jean-Drapeau Park, 1 circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, 514-672-6120, www.parcjeandrapeau.com/events/week-ends-du-monde)
Week-ends du monde is a world culture festival held in Montreal’s Jean-Drapeau Park over two weekends in July. This vibrant, colourful, one-of-a-kind event celebrates Montreal’s cultural diversity. From Africa to South America – and beyond – the festival provides the opportunity to tour over 50 countries for free through music, dance, craft and food. The festivities are family-friendly, too: there is a zone that offers games, shows and activities for the kids. Jean-Drapeau Park, located just east of downtown, is easily accessible by the metro, and children under 11 years old travel for free on weekends when accompanied by an adult.
What the guide books don’t tell you: In less than 10 years, this has become one of Montreal’s most popular festivals. Over 200,000 people attended in 2012.
Best time to go: Plan your visit around programming that’s a fit for you. Visit the website for more details.
Day 1 – Evening
BEST FOR THE HISTORY BUFF (Old Montreal Walking Tour, http://www.guidatour.qc.ca)
Old Montreal, located along the St. Lawrence River, is full of history and beautiful architecture. The best way to discover it is on foot, and Guidatours is a fantastic, knowledgeable tour company ready to show you the way. Led by a certified local tourist guide, you’ll get an insider’s perspective on Old Montreal must-sees: Place d’Armes, Notre-Dame Basilica, Place Jacques-Cartier, Champ de Mars, Bonsecours Market and more. Old Montreal is filled with surprises, too. Highlights include a piece of the Berlin wall that was gifted to the city; and Metropolitain, one of the only surviving original art nouveau Parisian metro entrance gate.
What the guide books don’t tell you: Old Montreal is a hot spot for filmmakers: The Day After Tomorrow and Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana’s The Words were both filmed here.
Best time to go: In the afternoon, so you can finish the tour at one of Old Montreal’s trendy restaurants.