While Toronto is the economic engine, Montreal remains Canada's cultural capital, and the beating heart of the French-speaking province of Quebec. The 18th century streets and facades of Old Montreal are charmingly reminiscent of Europe, but the city is also home to fine examples of more modern architectural styles, such as the Stade Olympique and Habitat 67, a collection of futuristic cube-like condominiums.
Rather like a Canadian Manhattan, Montreal occupies an island connected to outer boroughs by bridges and tunnels, and the island centre is itself home to several neighbourhoods with their own very specific identities, and where a visitor can enjoy some of the finest – and most diverse – cuisine in North America.
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Montreal is also famed as a centre for the arts, with over 90 festivals a year, culminating in the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal in June and July, but with others throughout the year celebrating everything from cinema to dance.
While summer might be the obvious time to visit the city, the locals have got winter living down to a fine art too, with ice skating a particular passion. You can sit back and watch the pros in action as well, with Les Canadiens (ice) hockey team one of the best in the country. There are also several local ski resorts nearby if you're so inclined.