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Top Ten Photos - Montréal, Canada

Montréal, the second largest city in Canada and the largest in the Québec Province, is named after 'Mont Royal', the small mountain that sits towards the middle of the city, towering over the life that bustles around and below it. Now a sprawling forest and one of Montréal's largest green spaces, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1876, who also co-designed New York's Central Park, some of the city's rich and famous have made homes atop the large hill which are strategically placed around the slopes overlooking the city. 'Mont Royal' plays a central role to life in the city, home to the 'Mont Royal Cross', a time capsule, Beaver Lake, ski slopes, cross country ski tracks, tubing and tobogganing during the winter, the Tam-Tams Festival and CBC's transmission tower.

But Montréal isn't all about it's very own mountain. Set on Montréal Island and surrounded by 69 other small islands, Montréal is a city which has much to offer locals and visitors alike. The city acts as the focal point of Euro-America. It has the fast paced American vibe which seems to work seamlessly with the laid back charm of a European city. Montréal is a city of culture, gastronomy, sporting history, industry and finance, business, science, education, music, and as a UNESCO city of design, above all it is a city of architecture.

Here are my top ten photos of Montréal.

1) The View Over Downtown Montréal From Mont Royal

Montréal from Mont Royal

Downtown Montréal and the financial district of the city from the viewpoint of Mont Royal. In the foreground you can see one of the many mansions that reside on the slopes of the mountain and some of the lush foliage that covers the mountain. In the centre of the photograph, the sky scraping towers of the financial district loom over the life below. In the background, under the stormy skies, you can see some of the Québec mountains that surround the city, this is known as the Appalachian region of Québec.

2) Old Town Montréal

Old Town Montréal

This photograph was taken in Old Montréal, the historic centre of the city. Bonsecours Market is on the left hand side of this cobbled street, taken from outside the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, located between the old town hall and the old port of Montréal.

3) Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel

One of the oldest churches in Montréal, built in 1776 on the remains of another chapel, the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Scours Chapel overlooks the Old Port of Montréal. During the 19th Century, the chapel was a pilgrimage site for sailors who arrived at the old Port. The travellers would bring gifts for the Virgin Mary as thanks for her overseeing their safety at sea and the chapel would become known as the 'Sailor's Church'. In 1849, the Bishop of Montréal gave the chapel a statue of the Virgin as Star of the Sea, which was placed on top of the church overlooking the harbour. Emphasizing the connection of the chapel and the port.

4) The Old Port of Montréal

The Old Port of Montréal

The waterfront of Montréal has much to offer tourists. This photograph denotes where the fun begins. Just to the right of this photograph, there is a zip line feature that allows you to enjoy the views of the city before you experience an adrenaline spike as you slide back down to earth. There is also a huge entertainment complex sporting an Imax cinema and the Montréal Science Centre. The Old Port also lies at the end of the Lachine Canal which can be used for sporting activities such as cycling or rollerblading, or more traditionally, boating and kayaking.

5) Olympic Park, Montréal

Olympic Park, Montréal

The 1976 Summer Olympics were held in Montréal and so Parc Olympique was built. The Olympic Stadium is a doughnut shaped structure and has the largest seating capacity in Canada. Today, the stadium is sometimes used for baseball and football games, but more commonly for large scale events, expos, concerts and trade shows. This photograph was taken from the north side of the stadium which is now home to the world's largest inclined tower, measuring at 175 metres. It is known as the Montréal Tower. The tower was not finished in time for the 1976 Olympics and was completed in the 1980s. The structure has not been without problems. In addition to not being completed on time, on several occasions, slabs of concrete from the tower and the roof have fallen off too. Known as the White Elephant of Montréal, still costing millions of dollars today, it is entirely possible that the building is just cursed! The Olympic Swimming Pool is located under the tower, still in use today.

6)Creatures of the Montréal Biodome

Montréal Biodome

Originally the velodrome of Olympic Park, the Biodome allows visitors to walk through four recreated ecosystems found in the Americas. The polar area is divided into Arctic and Antarctic sections where you can see penguins and the cutest and most playful puffins. The Biodome is sports a marine ecosystem from the local Saint Lawrence river, a Laurentian Forest replica and a tropical forest, where this photograph of a macaw was taken. Walking through the ecosystems, you really feel as though you are in a different place. Having spent time in a real rainforest, I can attest that the Montréal Biodome have got the tropical forest spot on! You can feel (and suffer from) the humidity the second you enter!

7) Saint Joseph's Oratory, Montréal

Saint Joseph's Oratory, Montréal

This Roman Catholic Basilica, located on the western side of 'Mont Royal' is Canada's largest church. Starting as a small chapel in 1904, the congregation grew so quickly that the site was rebuilt twice before it became the Oratory of today, completed in 1967. The dome is the third largest of its kind after the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire and Saint Peter's Basilica at Vatican City. The reason the congregation grew so incredibly, was the legend of miracles performed by Brother André, who credited his work to Saint Joseph, hence the name of the Basilica. Brother André, André Bessette, canonised as Saint André of Montréal began the construction of the original chapel and his miracles were deemed authentic by Pope John Paul II in 1982. Brother André's heart still remains within the building.

8)Three Apostles of Saint Joseph's Oratory

Three Apostles of Saint Joseph's Oratory

Being a 20th century construction, the Oratory has a modern, clean and spacious design. Surprisingly for a catholic church, it is not overly rich in gold. However, the walls are adorned with beautiful and stylish structures, stained glass windows and statues such as these. These wooden sculptures represent three of the apostles.

9) Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal

Notre-Dame Basilica, Montréal

Possibly one of the most stunning places of worship that I have ever seen, I applaud Montréal for being host to the Notre-Dame Basilica. As ever, it is difficult for a photograph to do the place any justice at all. We were in there for a long long time, just being amazed at its beauty and craftsmanship. The Basilica is located in the historic district of Old Montréal and is the centre piece of the famous square, Place d'Arms. The architecture is gothic revival, but it is the inside that blows you away. The rich colours of blues, reds and purples, intertwined with the lavish gold and silver adornments bring richness and grandeur to the church. The ceilings are also decorated with gold stars which seem to glow in the vast candle lit space. The Notre-Dame Basilica is another example of a church that had to be rebuilt in order to house its growing congregation. The external version of the Basilica was finished in 1843, including its two dominating towers. The interior wasn't completed until 1879. Celine Dion was a lucky lady to get married here in 1994! If you happen to be in Montréal at Christmas, I cannot imagine you would find a more spectacular setting in which to enjoy the city's annual performance of Handel's Messiah.

10) The Montréal Biosphere

The Montréal Bioshphere

The Biosphere is a museum dedicated to the environment, located on Saint Helen's Island, a short metro ride from the centre of the city, originally built for the World Fair of 1967, Expo 67. Designed by Buckminster Fuller, the structure was originally enclosed, but a fire during renovations in 1976 destroyed the bubble, leaving only the steel structure that stands today. In 1990, 'Environment Canada' purchased the building for $17.5 million and turned it into an interactive museum, showcasing the water eco-systems of the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River. Inside you can learn about water, climate change, air, eco-technologies and sustainable development through video presentations and interactive technology. If you think it looks familiar, it was used by the TV series Battlestar Galactica in their episode, "Greetings from Earth".

Just round the corner from the Biosphere is the Montréal Grand Prix track. If you're feeling sporty and adventurous, do as we did and hire yourself a Bixi Bike (like London's Boris Bikes) and cycle your way around the track. You can drive around too, but there is a speed limit of 30mph, so actually, we found that it was much more fun to cycle it!

Why not check out our other Top Ten Photos?

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