Montreal, Quebec, a significant immigration destination in Canada.
Montreal is an island in the heart of Quebec province. It is the largest city of the province and the second largest city of Canada. Its name was given from Mont-Royal Hill which is the highest point of Montreal at 232m / 761 feet situated on the northwest of the city.
Montreal is one of the most populated cities as of 3.9 million in 4,259 square kilometers / 1,644 square miles. Its official language is French and is the language spoken by most of its population. Another part of the population speaks English and other foreign languages. Montreal is consistently rated as one of the world’s most liveable city as well as was named a Unesco City of Design. Today Montreal is one of the most important centres of commerce, finance, technology, and design.
In 2010 Montreal ranked 34th city out of 289 cities for innovation across multiple sectors of the urban economy, in the Innovation Cities Index by 2thinknow. Montreal was the next Canadian city in the annual index behind nexus city Toronto in 12th place and ahead of fellow hub cities Calgary, Quebec city, Vancouver and Edmonton. In 2009, Montreal was named North America's number one host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Montreal is located in the southwest of the province of Quebec. The city proper covers most of the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The port of Montreal lies at one end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which is the river gateway that stretches from the Great Lakes into the Atlantic Ocean. Montreal is defined by its location in between the St. Lawrence River on its south, and by the Rivière des Prairies on its north. The city is named after the most prominent geographical feature on the island, a three-head hill called Mount Royal, topped at 232 m above sea level.
Montreal is at the centre of the Montreal Metropolitan Community, and is bordered by the city of Laval to the north, Longueil, Saint-Lambert, Brossard, and other municipalities to the south, Repentigny to the east and the West Island municipalities to the west. The Anglophone enclaves of Westmount, Montreal West, Hampstead, Côte Saint-Luc, the Town of Mount Royal and the francophone enclave Montreal East are all entirely surrounded by the city of Montreal.
Montreal climate is classified as humid continental or hemiboreal. Montreal's summers are warm, at times hot and humid, with average high temperatures of 26 °C (79 °F) and low of 16 °C (61 °F). Winter in Montreal usually brings very cold, snowy, windy, and, at times, icy weather, with an average high temperature of −6 °C (21 °F) and low of −15 °C (5 °F) in January. However, some winter days rise above freezing, even allowing for rain at times. During a normal year, there should be 18 nights below −20 °C (−4 °F), and about one day where the daily maximum is below −20 °C (−4 °F). Temperatures under −30 °C (−22 °F) only happen every 5 years or so, but wind chills can reach −40 °C (−40 °F). Usually, snow cover lasts from the first or second week of December until the last week of March. Spring and fall are pleasantly mild but are prone to drastic temperature changes.
For over a century and a half, Montreal was the industrial and financial centre of Canada. Montreal's economy is the second largest in Canada based on GDP and the largest in Quebec. The city is today an important centre of commerce, finance, industry, technology, culture, world affairs and is the headquarters of the Montreal Exchange. Montreal industries include aerospace, electronic goods, pharmaceuticals, printed goods, software engineering, telecommunications, textile and apparel manufacturing, tobacco and transportation. The service sector is also strong and includes civil, mechanical and process engineering, finance, higher education, and research and development. In 2002, Montreal ranked as the 4th largest centre in North America in terms of aerospace jobs.
Montreal also plays an important role in the finance industry. The official legal corporate head offices of Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada, two of the five biggest banks in Canada, are still in Montreal with their operational corporate headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. The National Bank of Canada, the sixth largest bank in Canada, Laurentian Bank of Canada, Desjardins Group, the largest regional bank in Quebec, are also headquartered in Montreal.
As a North American city, Montreal shares many cultural characteristics with the rest of the continent. It has a tradition of producing both jazz and rock music. The city has also produced much talent in the fields of visual arts, theatre, music, and dance. The city's largest festival is the Just for Laughs comedy festival, which is the largest in the world of its kind. Other popular festivals include the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, Nuits d'Afrique, Pop Montreal, and the Montreal Fireworks Festival.
The most popular sport in Montreal is ice hockey. The city's professional hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, are one of the Original Six teams of the National Hockey League (NHL), and boast an NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup championship. Montreal is the site of a high-profile auto racing event each year: the Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One (F1) racing. This race takes place on the famous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame.
With access to nine universities and twelve junior colleges in an 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) radius, Montreal has the highest concentration of post-secondary students of all major cities in North America. There are two anglophone universities in the city: Mc Gill University and Concordia University, and there are seven francophone universities located in the city of Montreal: Université de Montreal, Université du Quebec a Montreal, l'Institut de formation théologique de Montréal, Le Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval et l'Institut de pastorale des Dominicains.
Montreal Public Transportation is one of the most important population usages. Public local transport is served by a network of buses, subways, and commuter trains that extend across and off the island. The subway and bus system is operated by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM). Montreal has two international airports, one for passenger flights only, and the other for cargo. Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (also known as Dorval Airport) in the City of Dorval serves all commercial passenger traffic and is the headquarters for Air Canada and Air Transat. To the north of the city is Montréal-Mirabel International Airport in Mirabel, which serves cargo flights along with MEDEVAC. Montreal-based VIA Rail, provides rail service to other cities in Canada, particularly to Quebec City and Toronto along the Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. Amtrak, the U.S. national passenger rail system, also provides service to Montreal, operating its Adirondack daily between Montreal and New York City. All intercity trains and most commuter trains operate out of Central Station.