Montréal, Québec, Canada, North America

Founded: 1642; Incorporated: 1832
Location: Southern Quebéc, at the junction of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers
Flag: A red cross on a white background, with four emblems, as follows (clockwise from upper left): fleur de lys, rose, shamrock, and thistle, representing historic French, English, Scottish, and Irish influences
Time Zone: 7 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White, 82.4%; black, 5.6%; other visible minorities, 12%
Elevation: 36 m (117 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 45°31′N, 73°34′W
Coastline: 24 km (15 mi) along the St. Lawrence River
Climate: Continental climate with heavy snowfall and strong winds; warm summers
Annual Mean Temperature: 6.5°C (43°F); January–6.3°C (27°F); July 22.2°C (72°F)
Seasonal Average Snowfall: 214 cm (84 in)
Average Annual Precipitation: 115–150 cm (45–60 in)
Government: Mayor-council
Weights and Measures: Metric system
Monetary Units: Canadian dollar
Telephone Area Code: 514
Postal Codes: All postal codes begin with the letter 'H'

2. Getting There

Montréal is easily accessible by road, rail, water, and air.


Ten super highways converge on Montréal from Toronto, Ottawa, the Laurentians, Québec City, the Eastern Townships, New England, and New York state. Principal highways include the Trans-Canada Highway, which passes underneath the downtown; Autoroute 20 from Toronto; I-89 from Vermont and New England; and I-87 from Albany and New York City. Québec City is approximately three hours away; Ottawa, 90 minutes; Toronto, five hours; and New York City, six hours by car.

Bus and Railroad Service

Montréal is a hub for both the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways. Via Rail operates trains to Ottawa, Toronto and points west, and Québec City and Eastern Canada. Amtrak operates a daily service from Washington, D.C., and New York City. Montréal can also be reached from numerous points by bus.

Montréal Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 1,005, 000
Area: 192 sq km (74 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 82.4% white; 5.6% black other visible minorities 12%
Nicknames: City of Churches

Metropolitan Area

Population: 3,401,000
Area: 3500 sq km (1,355 sq mi)
World population rank1: 79
Percentage of national population2: 14.4%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.6%


  1. The Montréal metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of Canada's total population living in the Montréal metropolitan area.


Montréal's Dorval Airport is served by Air Canada, as well as major American and international carriers. Flights depart regularly for 130 cities in eastern and western Canada, as well as major American and European cities. There is shuttle service to Toronto, which is one hour away by air. Ottawa, Canada's capital, is 15 minutes away by plane and can be reached in 90 minutes by car. Mirabel Airport, 58 kilometers (36 miles) to the north, provides charter and freight service.


Linked to numerous ports around the world by various shipping lines, Montréal is the leading North American container port on the North Atlantic market. Over the past decade, the Port of Montréal has handled an average of some 18 million metric tons (20 million tons) of cargo each year, including containerized and non-containerized general cargo, grain and other dry bulk, and petroleum products and other liquid bulk. In addition, the port welcomes thousands of visitors to its Iberville Passenger Terminal every year.

The Port of Montréal engages in year-round domestic and international trade. Moreover, the St. Lawrence River has been navigable year-round for ocean-going vessels for more than 35 years. A computerized dispatching system ensures that the correct number of longshoremen with the precise skills required are assigned to a ship each day. The Port of Montréal is also among the safest ports in the world as the entire port perimeter and individual terminals are enclosed, and entrances are always monitored.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The easiest way to get around the city is by Metro and bus. The Metro is modern, efficient, and quiet. Following a French design, trains run on rubber tires. Metro stations are spacious; each has a unique modern design. There are four separate lines: the green line runs east to west through the downtown; the red line runs south from Henri-Bourassa, west through the downtown and north again, intersecting the green line at Berri-UQAM and Lionel-Groulx; the yellow line runs from Berri-UQAM south to Longeuil on the opposite side of the St. Lawrence River. The Metro and bus systems are integrated: buses stop at Metro stations, and transfers are available from bus drivers or special machines at station entrances. Cash fares are $1.90 per trip. Six-ride tickets, one-and three-day tourist cards, and weekly and monthly passes are also available. Bicycles can be transported in non-rush hours in the front car of each train. Dorval Airport, 18 kilometers (11 miles) west of the city, can be reached by bus, limousine, or taxi.

City Fact Comparison
Indicator Montréal Cairo Rome Beijing
(Canada) (Egypt) (Italy) (China)
Population of urban area1 3,401,000 10,772,000 2,688,000 12,033,000
Date the city was founded 1642 AD 969 753 BC 723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city2
Hotel (single occupancy) $108 $193 $172 $129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) $62 $56 $59 $62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.) $15 $14 $15 $16
Total daily costs $185 $173 $246 $207
Major Newspapers3
Number of newspapers serving the city 4 13 20 11
Largest newspaper Le Journal de Montréal Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar La Repubblica Renmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper 254,957 1,159,339 754,930 3,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established 1964 1944 1976 1948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.

20. Holidays and Festivals

Good Friday

Victoria Day

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

Canada Day

Labor Day

Thanksgiving Day

22. For Further Study


Tourisme Montréal. [Online] Available (accessed January 7, 2000).

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

1001 Square Dorchester
Montréal (Québec) H3B.1G2
(514) 873-2015
(800) 363-7777


Hamilton, Janice. Destination Montreal. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1997.

Lloyd, Tanya. Montreal. Vancouver: Whitecap Books, 1998.

Water, Paul, ed. Montreal & Quebec City. Halifax, NS: Formac Publishing, 1999.