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Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History
350, place Royale, 514-872-9150,
Start your visit with Yours Truly, Montreal (yourstrulymontreal.com), a multimedia presentation that cartwheels through six centuries of the island's history. After the show, learn about misguided missionaries, Iroquois chiefs, the fur-loving French and the British invasion (not the musical kind) on a complimentary guided tour.
Kids' highlight: Sitting in one of Montreal's first sewers, as well as seeing an Iroquois head smasher (a club-like weapon).
If you like this, you'll also like: Maison Saint-Gabriel (maisonsaint-gabriel.
qc.ca), a museum dedicated to life in New France in the mid-17th century.
Montreal for animal lovers
21125, chemin Sainte-Marie, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, 514-457-9449, zooenville.ca,
Visit more than 100 animals – including a one-winged snowy owl and a blind fox – that are native to Quebec but can't live in the wild because they have injuries or were born in captivity and lack survival savvy. It's a special place, well worth the 30-minute drive from the city centre. Take a taxi or jump on a city bus (one stops right in front of the property).
Kids' highlight: Getting a bird's-eye view in the waterfowl aviary, a netted enclosure that's 10 metres high.
If you like this, you'll also like: The winding water garden at the Hilton Bonaventure Hotel (hilton.com), chosen by three discerning duck families as a fair-weather home. See them before they fly south.
Montreal for stargazers
Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium 4801, avenue Pierre-De Coubertin,
The newly opened planetarium is filled with interactive stations, one of which is a hands-on meteor lab. Top off your visit by settling into a beanbag chair for Continuum, a 360-degree visual presentation. The planetarium is designed for kids age seven and up.
Kids' highlight: Working the video controls of a Mars rover in a quest to discover water on the Red Planet.
If you like this, you'll also like:
The Montreal Science Centre (montrealsciencecentre.com), where youngsters can immerse themselves in science exhibits and ubercool technological innovations.
Montreal for celebrity-seekers
705, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Eaton Centre, 5th level, 514-788-5210,
This is a new attraction – and the only Grévin wax museum outside of Paris. Get up close and personal with Céline Dion, Albert Einstein, Wayne Gretzky, John Lennon and 116 other lifelike celebrities.
Kids' highlight: Creating a virtual wax likeness complete with a wig and costume.
If you like this, you'll also like: Beatles in Montreal at the Pointe-à-Callière museum (pacmuseum.qc.ca), which runs till March 2014.
Montreal for cycling tourists
Montreal on Wheels
27, rue de la Commune Est, 1-877-866-0633, caroulemontreal.com.
Fun and affordable, cycling in Montreal is a must-do for active families. You can rent bikes and safety equipment for all ages and abilities in Old Montreal, then take a spin along Lachine Canal to the vibrant Atwater Market, or cross over Pont de la Concorde to the F1 racetrack.
Kids' highlight: Careening along the canal's curved bike paths.
If you like this, you'll also like: Walking the cobblestone section of Old Montreal. Sign up for a guided tour at freemontrealtours.com.
If you're waffling on a trip to Montreal, check out 9 reasons to visit it. And if you're doing some Canadian armchair travel, don't miss 10 reasons to love Victoria, B.C.