I suspect I could find enough to write something about old Montréal every day for a year, it’s so full of character and history, with a multitude of things to see on every corner.
I didn’t spend too much time at the Old Port itself, mostly because it wasn’t quite what I’d expected. In my mind I was thinking it would be more developed for the tourist industry, with bars, restaurants, shops etc. But that wasn’t quite the case. This former eyesore has apparently come quite a long way though, over the past couple of decades, and it does house the huge Centre de Sciences, as well as an IMAX theatre, and it seems that in later winter months it comes alive with ice skaters on the rink on one of the quays, as well as ice sculptures.
But it was certainly busy, and in addition to the folk heading for science or IMAX fun, it was also abuzz with cyclists, passers-by, and numerous folk just out for a gentle stroll on a sunny afternoon. And despite it being different to what I’d envisioned, there was still plenty to take in.
There were plenty of old buildings on the quays, some with some interesting, colorful graffiti.
And across the quays you can catch a glimpse of the Biosphère, Montréal’s museum dedicated to the environment.
At the eastern end of the port you come to the Quai de L’Horloge with its impressive clock tower. Originally built between 1919-1922 and used as a hangar for trans-Atlantic oceanic merchant ships, the Clock Tower is now a monument commemorating Canadian sailors lost during the First World War.
Walking alongside the old port, you also get to soak in the views just across the road in the Old Town. More splendid architecture in the form of the silver cupola of the historic Bonsecours Market, as well as nearby Notre Dame de Bonsecours Chapel with its prominent green spire and statue.
Walking back toward the Old Town, it would have been easy enough to think I was meandering around the streets of Paris. So much charm to soak up.
The Old Port is definitely worthy of investigating if you’re in the Old Town. I wish I’d had a few more hours to spare to visit the Science Centre especially. But for sure I’ll make that a priority on my next visit.