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Downtown Montreal

Centre-Ville de Montréal
Neighbourhood of Montreal
Skyline of Downtown Montreal from Mount Royal
Skyline of Downtown Montreal from Mount Royal
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Country Canada
Province  Quebec
City Montreal
Borough Ville-Marie
 • Total 18 km2 (7 sq mi)
Highest elevation
234 m (768 ft)
Lowest elevation
20 m (70 ft)
 • Total 98,836
 • Density 5,490/km2 (14,200/sq mi)

Downtown Montreal (French: Centre-Ville de Montréal) is the central business district of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Located in the borough of Ville-Marie, the district is situated on the southernmost slope of Mount Royal.

The downtown region houses many corporate headquarters as well a large majority of the city's skyscrapers — which, by law, cannot be greater in height than Mount Royal in order to preserve the aesthetic predominance and intimidation factor of the mountain. The two tallest of these are the 1000 de La Gauchetière and 1250 René-Lévesque, both of which were built in 1992. The Tour de la Bourse is also a significant high-rise and is home to the Montreal Exchange that trades in derivatives. The Montreal Exchange was originally a stock exchange and was the first in Canada. In 1999, all stock trades were transferred to Toronto in exchange for an exclusivity in the derivative trading market.

Place Ville-Marie, is a cruciform office tower designed by I.M. Pei. It was built in 1962, and sits atop an underground shopping mall that forms the nexus of Montreal's underground city, the world's largest. It has indoor access to over 1,600 shops, restaurants, offices, businesses, museums and universities, as well as metro stations, train stations, bus terminals, and tunnels extending all over downtown. The central axis for downtown is Saint Catherine Street, Canada's busiest commercial avenue. The area includes high end retail such as the Holt Renfrew Ogilvy department store as well as Les Cours Mont-Royal shopping centre. Other major streets include Sherbrooke Street, Peel, de la Montagne, de Maisonneuve and Crescent.

The skyline may be observed from one of two lookouts on Mount Royal. The lookout at the Belvedere takes in downtown, the river, and the Monteregian Hills. On clear days the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York are visible (the great-circle distance between Mount Royal and the U.S. border along a bee line normal to the border being only ~ 56 km, or ~ 35 miles), as are the Green Mountains of Vermont. The eastern lookout has a view of The Plateau neighbourhood, Olympic Stadium and beyond.

Downtown Montreal is also home to the main campuses of McGill University and UQAM and the Sir George Williams campus of Concordia University.



A number of museums can be found in or near Downtown Montreal, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture, McCord Museum, Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Redpath Museum. Pointe-à-Callière Museum is more strictly in Old Montreal.

Religious buildings

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Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral is a Catholic minor basilica in Downtown Montreal.

Notable religious buildings in Downtown Montreal include: Christ Church Cathedral, Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, Church of St. John the Evangelist, Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, St. James the Apostle Anglican Church, St. James United Church, St. George's Anglican Church and St. Patrick's Basilica.

Sports and entertainment venues

The Bell Centre, used for ice hockey and other events, lies in the central/southern portion of Downtown Montreal. Place des Arts is located in the eastern part of the city's downtown, between Ste-Catherine and de Maisonneuve Streets, and St-Urbain and Jeanne-Mance streets, in an area now known as the Quartier des Spectacles, the complex is home to the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and the Opéra de Montréal. Percival Molson Memorial Stadium lies just to the North of Pine Avenue at the edge of Downtown Montreal.


Public space in Downtown Montreal includes the following squares: Cabot Square, Chaboillez Square, Dorchester Square, Norman Bethune Square, Phillips Square, Place du Canada, Place Émilie-Gamelin, Place des Festivals, Place Jean-Paul Riopelle and Victoria Square.


Gare d autocars de Montreal 25
Gare d'autocars de Montréal is a major bus terminal located in Downtown Montreal.

Two railway stations are in Downtown Montreal: Central Station serves both intercity (VIA Rail and Amtrak) and commuter rail services of the Réseau de transport métropolitain (RTM) services. Additional commuter services use Lucien-L'Allier Station. Downtown Montreal also contains two bus stations: Gare d'autocars de Montréal serves mainly longer distance services, while Terminus Centre-Ville is mainly a terminus for services operated by RTL and Exo.

Two lines of the Montreal Metro run east–west through Downtown Montreal. Line 1 (Green) is aligned with De Maisonneuve Boulevard, serving (west to east): Atwater, Guy-Concordia, Peel, McGill, Place-des-Arts, Saint-Laurent and Berri-UQAM stations. Line 2 (Orange) runs some blocks south of the Green Line, serving (west to east) Lucien-L'Allier, Bonaventure, Square-Victoria-OACI, Place-d'Armes, Champ-de-Mars and Berri-UQAM. Place-d'Armes and Champ-de-Mars stations would usually be considered as in Old Montreal. Berri-UQAM is also the terminus for Line 4 (Yellow).


Air Canada was formerly headquartered in Downtown Montreal. In 1990, the airline announced that it was moving its headquarters from Downtown Montreal to Montreal-Trudeau Airport to cut costs.


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The Université du Québec à Montréal is one of several post-secondary institutions in Downtown Montreal.

Portions of four university-level establishments lie within Downtown Montreal: the main campus of McGill University, on the northern side of Sherbrooke Street; the Sir George Williams Campus of Concordia University in an area identified as Quartier Concordia in the western part of Downtown Montreal; École de technologie supérieure (a part of Université du Québec system) located near the southern edge of Downtown Montreal; and Université du Québec à Montréal, mainly in the Quartier Latin neighbourhood. Four colleges (pre-university) also lie in downtown: the public Cégep du Vieux Montréal on Ontario Street East; and the private colleges LaSalle College, O'Sullivan College and National Theatre School of Canada, including Monument-National, the venue used for its productions.

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