Detailed description (Downtown)
The commercial downtown area is full of modern buildings, underground shopping malls, victorian houses and of course St-Catherine street. It can be divided into many sections :
- the shopping district (Ste-Catherine),
- the business district and the hotel section,
- the museum district,
- the Golden square mile and the McGill ghetto,
- Mont-Royal park and the "stairs" district,
- east downtown (Place-des-Arts and govt. buildings),
- the fur district,
- and the Shaughnessy village.
The shopping district is Ste-Catherine street, between Bleury to the east and Bishop to the west, and the underground shopping malls. Ste-Catherine is the main downtown commercial street with hundreds of stores (well.. it's a commercial street) that sells mostly clothes, shoes, eyeglasses, etc. The stores are usually part of chains (like the Gap, Roots, etc). You'll find also a lot of arcades, video peep shows, movie theaters, fast food places, people on the street corners selling hand-made jewelry, street performers and homeless people people asking for money. But what makes Ste-Catherine most interesting is that most people walking from point A to point B downtown use Ste-Catherine street, so there's always a lot of people (especially friday and saturday nights in the summer).
The business district is located alongside René-Levesque blvd. between du Parc ave./Bleury street to the east and Guy street to the west. Other highrise office buildings can be found on de Maisonneuve blvd. and Sherbrooke street between those same streets. There's not much to see on René-Levesque blvd. (except the St-Patrick basilica and Square Dorchester), and even less on de Maisonneuve blvd. between Stanley and Bleury streets. Sherbrooke street is where there are dozen of high-rise hotels near du Parc ave./Bleury to the east (the hotel section) and the Musée des Beaux-Arts (fine arts museum) to the west.
The museum district (just mentionned above), is centered around the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Sherbrooke street west and Crescent). It's where you will find upscale art galleries, gift shops, antique stores and designer clothes and jewelry (Holt Renfrew, Cartier, etc). Those stores are either on Sherbrooke street or south of it on Crescent or Bishop. North of Sherbrooke street is where you will find small residential streets with some bed&breakfasts.
The Golden Square mile is the district where, at the turn of the century, 70% of Canada's wealth was in the hands of a few hundred families living in the Square (that the golden part). The square is located between Côte-des-Neiges to the west, du Parc ave. to the east, Sherbrooke to the south and Mont-Royal to the north (that's an area that is just about one square mile). It's also where you'll find the McGill university campus (it's main entrance is on the corner of McGill college ave. and Sherbrooke street) which is surrounded by the McGill "ghetto" (the stereotypical student is said to only live there, eat there, party there and never leave that district) and Milton-Parc to the east.
The Mont-Royal park is a large park on Mont-Royal itself designed by Frederic Law Olmsted, the same man that designed Central Park in New York City. It's also where you will find the best view of Montreal, if you ever wanted a city at your feet, here's your chance. People here call it "la montagne" or the mountain for lack of a better word, you can hike, montain bike in the summer and skate or slide in the winter. You can access the park by foot through downtown and the "stairs section" (the are four streets that lead to a dead end - Redpath, du Musée, de la Montagne and Drummond north of Docteur-Penfield - so to reach des Pins ave. you need to climb up stairs, they also give a good view of downtown. The Redpath stairs are probably the nicest ones) and walk up the path and the very long stairs or go by bus or car through the Camillien-Houde road (just west of the corner of du Parc. ave. and Mont-Royal ave.)
The east downtown section is where you will find the Place-des-Arts, the Complexe Desjardins and the Complexe Guy-Favreau and chinatown to the south. The east downtown is located between Parc ave./Bleury street to the west, St-Laurent blvd. to the east, Sherbrooke street to the north and René-Levesque blvd. to the south.
The fur district is a very small section of downtown where the fur industry use to do, and still does to a certain extent, its business. You will find fur manufacturers, designers and stores. It is located between de Maisonneuve blvd. to the north, Ste-Catherine street to the south, City Councillors to the west and Bleury to the east.
- Surrounding streets :
- Atwater street to the west
- Park Avenue to the east
- Mount-Royal to the north
- Rene-Levesque blvd to the south
- Metro stations :