An October 2004 trip
to Montreal by thestickman23
Quote: Montreal is a truly unique and beautiful city. Experience the culture of France right here in North America. From great food to fun attractions, Montreal has something for everyone.
Here are a few of my "can't-be-missed" in Montreal. The Basilique Notre Dame is a true gem. The intricate wood work, stunning artwork, and attention to detail make this cathedral one of the most beautiful in the world.
Another unique experience in Montreal is the Biodome. This building was used in the 1976 Olympics as the cycling center. It was recreated as an indoor ecosystem—and not just one, but four unbelievable ecosystems. This place is fun for the entire family.
Lastly, Montreal is home to the most decorated team in hockey history: the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal bleeds hockey. If you go during the hockey season (if there ever is one again), don't miss out on this true entertainment experience.
I could go on and on, but these are my top three "can't-be-missed" experiences in Montreal. I can't wait to go back.
If going underground is not your "thing," try taking the many buses that are located around the city. Make sure you have exact change when getting on any city buses. You can also buy fares in advance at any Metro booth, or if you are going to be in the city for at least a couple of days, maybe you should try a weekly pass.
I always prefer to get around on foot, car, or taxi. Taxis are available in front of almost every hotel in Montreal, and you can also hail one curbside. One trip that was well worth the price of the taxi fare was Ile Notre Dame Casino. The casino was packed, and the line for parking was ridiculous. The taxi pulled right up front with no problem.
The Hyatt Regency is also within walking distance of all of your shopping needs. From the lobby of the hotel, there is access to one of Montreal’s many underground malls. You are also within walking distance of Saint Catherine Street, where you can find many major store outlets.
When we checked into the Hyatt, the hotel was under some renovations. They are in the process of renovating the rooms and updating the hotel. Our room was of average size, but the bathroom was a little bit above average in size.
If you drove into the city of Montreal, like we did, you will need to pay overnight parking fees at the Hyatt. If I am not mistaken, it cost us a little over C$20 ($15.86) per night, but that is with valet. Taxis are readily available in the parking garage if you need to get around the city.
Here is a helpful hint. Use your AAA card to get a discount at the Hyatt. We paid about C$180 ($143) per night, and that included a free breakfast buffet ($16 value). With the AAA card, we saved about C$30 ($24) per night, so for the $50 a year, the AAA card benefit is well worth the price of admission.
The Hyatt also has an indoor swimming pool with a gym. In the locker room area, you can also sit in the sauna if you wish. In the hotel lobby, you will also find a bar and gift and souvenir shop. At the bar, you can order yourself some grub if you get hungry. The restaurant that serves the buffet breakfast is also in the lobby.
Overall, the Hyatt Regency Montreal catered to our every need. The hotel staff was pleasant and accommodating, which made our stay in Montreal even more enjoyable. I would definitely stay at this hotel in the future.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 2, 2005
Hyatt Regency Montreal
1255 Jeanne-Mance, PO Box 130
Montreal, Quebec H5B 1E5
Attraction | "Biodome de Montreal"
We purchased a combo ticket that included the Insectarium de Montreal, Jardin Botanique de Montreal, the Biodome de Montreal, and the Olympic Tower. By purchasing the combo ticket (C$27 for an adult ticket), we saved ourselves a great deal of money. For an additional fee, you can rent audio-guide headphones—this is your own personal tour guide. This is an option I did without, and I was very happy with my decision. The audio-guide is a long process, and I just wanted to enjoy the Biodome on my own. The Biodome is open every day from 9am to 5pm (6pm in the summer).
When you walk into the Biodome, your first room will be the Tropical Forest. Unbelievable!! You can feel the humidity of a real rainforest as you enter. At any moment, you can see animals walking around in this amazing habitat: capybaras, sloths, birds, amphibians, crocodiles, and everyone’s favorite, the golden lion tamarin (a small monkey). This little fellow was swinging around on the trees and checking everyone one out as they entered the habitat. In a separate area, you can also see hundreds of bats flying around and other interesting rain forest creatures.
Now head over to the Laurentian Forest, where you will find a beaver in his own natural environment. You will also see ducks, otters, and porcupines in the forest. However, the main attraction in the Laurentian Forest is the lynx. The lynx are maintained in a large habitat with a lot of room to roam. We snapped a couple of photos of these beautiful creatures as they paced back and forth.
The next room is very cool. The St. Lawrence Marine Ecosystem is alive indoors, with birds flying overhead and amazing habitats for living marine animals. When you walk in, you can feel the whoosh of cold air against your face, but watch out—you don’t feel the warmth of seagulls’ waste on your head as they fly above.
The Biodome saves the best ecosystem for last, the Polar World. In this habitat, you will be entertained by curious penguins and tens of puffins. This is actually two ecosystems in one, with the Arctic and Antarctic on either side of the path. It’s truly a unique experience.
Overall, the Biodome de Montreal is a can’t-miss place when you visit this beautiful city. On my next time back to Montreal, this will be one of the first places I visit.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 2, 2005
4777 Pierre-de-Coubertin Avenue
Montreal H1V 1B3
Attraction | "Insectarium de Montreal"
The Insectarium is not only unique on the inside but unique on the outside too. The outside is in the shape of a fly’s head!!! The eyes are made of glass; take a moment to check it out. Upon entering the Insectarium, there is a fun place for kids to draw and learn about insects with trained keepers. When you head down the steps, you will notice thousands of bugs: in shadow boxes on the wall, in miniature environments, and in displays of all kinds.
My favorite displays were of the live insects. There were two that really caught my eye. The first one was of a leaf cutter ant environment. There were two tanks with a sort of "Tree Bridge" connecting them. Here you can see the leaf cutter ants bringing back foliage from one side of the habitat to the other over the "bridge." This is a unique display of watching how hard these little creatures work and seeing how everyone has a job to do. Your kids will love this one.
The other display that really caught my eye was a functioning see-through bee hive. You can see the honeycomb of a beehive between two pieces of glass. Connected to this honeycomb was a tube that actually went from inside the Insectarium to the outside of the building. The bees actually went in and out and collected pollen to keep the hive going. This is great because the Jardin de Botanique is located just outside of the Insectarium. I found that to be very interesting.
Other exhibits include a large scale where you can see how much you would have to carry in weight to match that of a leaf cutter ant. Another display had a number of giant hissing cockroaches. See a black widow spider spinning and living in its own web. You can also check to see what insects live in your neck of the woods.
Overall, this was another great place to visit in Montreal, especially with those who have children in tow.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 2, 2005
4581 Rue Sherbrooke Est
My brothers and I were so impressed with the display that we stayed and took pictures for over and an hour and a half. From what I understand, all of the display pieces were shipped over to Montreal from China, and it took over 30 designers to assemble this awesome piece of living artwork. The four major elements of a typical Chinese garden are captured in this display.
The water element is captured in the beautiful pond with floating Chinese lamps and vibrantly colored fauna.
The stone element is displayed throughout the gardens through walkways, caves, and an amazing mock mountain that you can climb for a bird’s eye view.
Plant life is the third element that is captured at every turn of your head in this gorgeous display.
Lastly, the architecture is what makes this garden worth the price of admission. In the pictures below, you can see for yourself.
The Jardin Botanique de Montreal is open everyday but Monday from 9am to 5pm (until 6pm in the summer months). Check out Jardin Botanique de Montreal for more information.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 24, 2005
Jardin Botanique de Montreal
4101 Sherbrooke E.
Saddle Brook, New Jersey