Road Trip to Canada 2013, with Canada Day in Montreal
March 13, 2013 8:33 AM   Subscribe

We're going to be in Montreal on Canada Day. What will be open and what's closed? Are there any events that occur every year on Canada Day there, and if so are tourists welcomed there?

We will be in Ottawa on June 28 and 29, and in Montreal June 30 - July 3. My question concerns Montreal, although unsolicited advice about Ottawa is welcome too. (I know it probably would have made more sense to be in Ottawa on Canada Day, but we just couldn't make it work that way.)

I have been to Montreal as a teenager (over ten years ago, sigh) and really enjoyed it. My husband has never been to Montreal. I am trying to plan so that I can show him everything that I would like to, but to do that I need to know what's not going to work on Canada Day. The Internet seems to think that most tourist stops will be open but things like malls will be closed -- but I can't find enough specifics and it's starting to make me nervous.

I would like to show him:
- Old Montreal, including a short trip to the Basilica (any guidance as to other specific stops in Old Montreal would be welcome, and I'm hoping we can grab a carriage for a little while)
- Crescent St (the hotel is on Drummond so this should be easy)
- what the subways are like and how there are whole malls and mini-cities underground (probably only need a couple hours for this as we're not huge shoppers)
- As a French student I went to some sort of museum diorama thing that illustrated Montreal's military history, but my memory is vague as to exactly where/what it was. But definitely we should go to something re: military history.

- I have never been to any other museums, but it would be nice to hit a couple. My husband has expressed interest in the Biodome.
- I am bisexual and know there's a nice gay community in Montreal. I missed it as a teen (because I went with a Catholic school and with my parents...), but now that I'm married to a guy, I dunno if it would be offensive to check it out. I don't want people to feel gawked at in their safe space.

So anyway, if you could help me figure out what to put on what days, so that we don't travel to something on Canada Day only to find it closed, that would be a big help, and if there's anything the locals do on Canada Day that we should check out. Thanks :)
posted by RobotHeart to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Canada day is not a big deal in Montreal its actually moving day. Expect federally funded Government funded things like museums to be closed. But everything else is totally normal. The big celebration day here is St. Jean on June 24th and the city is full of parties and free events everywhere. Seriously worth checking out if your trip is at all flexible.

The city is a dream in the summer heres's some ideas for your trip: gay village- ste. catherine- totally normal for you to go! they close the street in the summer for maybe 20 blocks and its full of restaurants and terraces where you can have a nice drink.

take a walk a park mont-royal- especially if you are here on a sunday head there for tam-tams thousands flock to the park and its great people watching, light hiking- picnicing all around good times!

Biodome is great- go there- also fun and nearby the insectarium and botanical gardens
- if you want you can rent bikes from the city- program called bixi and have a nice time outside.

Shopping underground doesn't let you enjoy the beautiful weather but do what you like!

I imagine there will be fireworks on canada day and/or around that day because every summer theres a fireworks festival- google that and see if you can enjoy a free showing- the old port by the water is a fun place for watching with other people.

Speaking of the old port- find the ferry there and take it across the water to enjoy a little boat ride (also a fun bike ride- bikes are allowed on-board)

Window shop along the streets st. laurent (eat a famous smoked meat sandwich here) and st. denis, & mont-royal and go to the mile end for famous montreal bagels.

the international jazz fest is a really big deal here and corresponds with your dates - you have to at least drop by a free outdoor show

check out the tourism site- they have every festival/ museum link there!
posted by outdoorslady at 9:01 AM on March 13, 2013

Shopping malls and most stores will be closed on Canada Day - Monday, July 1st, along with banks, and government funded institutions. You shouldn't have any trouble with closures for the rest of your trip!
posted by ohmy at 10:49 AM on March 13, 2013

Oh and I can't seem to find any information about Canada Day festivities for 2013 yet, but here is a summary of last year's activities. I imagine this year there will be similar things to do, just keep an eye open for them closer to the summer. Hope you have a great trip :)
posted by ohmy at 10:50 AM on March 13, 2013

I recommend the Cheval Blanc for great beer and atmosphere. I also recommend eating at O. Noire for a meal in the dark!

Agree that Canada is not a big deal in Montreal. Whatever events are there, I'm sure you will be welcome. I would plan to go to a park that day because it is a statutory holiday and things will be closed. Ottawa on the other hand is a crazy nightmare of partying and crowds. If you get a chance to see it someday, it's something!
posted by Gor-ella at 11:08 AM on March 13, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Merci merci merci :)

outdoorslady Bixi wasn't around when I was last there and I think it will solve some problems for us -- I'm out of shape (some minor health problems, but honestly it's more just from laziness) and I'm always huffing and puffing on long walking tours (but I do enjoy the outdoors!). My husband is very kind and never says anything, but I imagine it is very annoying. If we ride bikes, hopefully we can see more historical architecture and the like without having to stop so often. And I had to Google the TamTams but that sounds like fun! I promise to spend a lot more time outside in comparison to underground in malls :) You have given me a great many things to choose from, thank you!

ohmy That summary of last year is heartening. No matter what is closed, there will still be plenty to do!

Gor-ella The Cheval Blanc looks great! I have to get my French freshened up, but I think I figured out that "sur nos pompes" roughly translates to "on tap". I will need to study up on French beer lingo so that I know what I'm drinking when it's explained to me. :) My husband is a picky eater so he might be afraid of O Noire, but I'll try to sell him on it!
posted by RobotHeart at 8:35 AM on March 14, 2013

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