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Top 10 Montreal Tourist Attractions

Canada's second largest city has much to offer the energetic tourist.

Montreal is a city located in the province of Quebec in Canada. Tourism plays a significant role in the economy of the city. In 2010 alone, Montreal opened its gates to about 11,792,970 day-trip tourists and 7,648,723 night visitors. Most of the city's tourist hailed from Germany, Japan, Mexico, the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2011, the Montreal tourism industry generated 45,000 jobs.

10. Parc du Mont-Royal

#10 Parc du Mont-Royal

Also known as Mount Royal Park, Parc du Mont Royal is the largest green space in the city. The park was inaugurated in 1876 and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (whose other credits include Central Park in New York and Belle Isle in Detroit). The park features two belvederes that provide spectacular views of the city below. Mont Royal's vast grounds also feature environments for many season activities, including snow tubing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, skating, cycling, and more.

9. Montreal Canadiens

Les Canadiens de Montreal are a popular NHL (National Hockey League) team originally founded in 19009. Montrealers are serious about hockey, and many tourists who flock to the city are, too. The Canadiens (locally nicknamed the "habs") have won the Stanley Cup champion a total of 24 times. They are the second most successful professional sports team in North America behind the Boston Celtics. The Montreal Canadiens play at the Bell Centre, a large hockey arena in the middle of the city.

8. Botanical Gardens

#8 Botanical Gardens

Montreal is home to a large botanical garden in the city's east end. Featuring 190 acres of greenhouses and thematic gardens, the Jardin botanique de Montréal was officially opened on June 9th, 1931 and was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2008. Included in the gardens are the Japanese Garden, the Alpine Garden, the Chinese Garden, and the First Nations Garden. It is considered one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world, and features seasonal activities such as light displays and rotating exhibits. The garden's 22,000 plant and animal species attracted 695,404 visitors in 2011.

7. Bicycling the Lachine Canal

The Lachine Canal is a canal that passes through the southwestern region of the island of Montreal, running roughly nine miles from Montreal's Old Port to Lake Saint-Louis through the municipalities of Sud-Quest, Lasalle and Lachine. Officially named the Lachine Canal Historic Site of Canada, the canal's name reflects its importance in the country's history. Scenic bike paths exist on the side of the majority of the canal, which are popular in summertime. Kayaking and paddle boarding on the canal is also possible.

6. Bagels and Smoked Meat

#6 Bagels and Smoked Meat

Bagels and smoked meat are as synonymous to Montreal as canals are to Venice. The Montreal smoked meat is a type of kosher-style deli meat product specially prepared through curing and salting beef brisket with spices. The brisket is then left to absorb the spices over the span of a week before it is cooked through by hot smoking and finally steaming it to perfection. Smoked meat was introduced by Jewish immigrants during the 1930s, who are also said to have introduced the city's other staple food, bagels. Chewy and best enjoyed hot out of the oven, there is a longtime friendly rivalry between the cities of Montreal and New York over whose bagels are superior.

5. Basilique Notre-Dame

#5 Basilique Notre-Dame

Not just the thing of European adventures, ornate churches can be found on the North American side of the Atlantic as well. Although it is often confused with its Parisian counterpart, Montreal's Notre Dame basilica stands unique on its own. Local legend has it that the designer of the church's interior, a Protestant, was so moved by the beautiful blue hues and ornate designs that he later converted to Catholicism.

4. Festivals

#4 Festivals

Montreal is home to an impressive assortment of festivals year round. Some of the city's most popular festivals include the International Jazz Festival which hosts over 500 concerts, 350 of which are presented in the outdoors for free. Other festivals include Just For Laughs, the world's largest comedy festival which attracts more than 2 million spectators every year. Les FrancoFolies de Montreal is the largest Francophone music festival in the world featuring more than 1,000 artists, musicians, budding talent and singing stars from about 20 countries worldwide.

3. Le Plateau Mont-Royal

#3 Le Plateau Mont-Royal

Le Plateau Mont-Royal is a residential neighborhood in central Montreal renowned for its artistic vibe and history. The borough is popular amongst tourists for its numerous book shops, brightly colored houses, as well as countless cafés and restaurants. The region is also home to the Shwartsz's Deli which is famous for its (aforementioned) Montreal smoked meat.

2. Montreal Museum of Fine Art

Established in 1860, in Montreal, Québec, Canada the Montreal Museum of Fine Art is the largest in Montreal and among Canada's most prominent museums. Located in the historic Golden Square Mile, the museum features a surface area of 485,100 square feet and an exhibition space of 140,000 square feet. At present, there is a fifth pavilion under construction which when completed will make it the 18th largest art museum in North America. The museum features 42,000 works in the permanent collection, which is free to the public.

1. Sugar Shack

#1 Sugar Shack

A sugar shack is a family culinary tradition of consuming maple products to the rhythm of Quebec folk music which typically takes place around March and April in the beginning of spring. Sugar shacks can be found within a short drive from Montreal's core, where visitors flock to devour as much maple syrup as their hearts desire.

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