Skip to main page content



Montreal, French Montréal, city, Quebec province, southeastern Canada. Montreal is the second most-populous city in Canada and the principal metropolis of the province of Quebec. The city of Montreal occupies about three-fourths of Montreal Island (Île de Montréal), the largest of the 234 islands of the Hochelaga Archipelago, one of three archipelagoes near the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence rivers. Area 141 square miles (365 square km); metro. area, 1,644 square miles (4,259 square km). Pop. (2011) 1,649,519; metro. area, 3,934,078; (2021) 1,762,949; metro. area, 4,098,927. Just walking the streets of Montreal is an experience, especially the historic centre known as Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal), which provides a window into the city’s rich history with its cobblestone streets and architectural styles ranging from the 16th century to the present.


Public transportation in Montreal dates from the intermittent use of horse-drawn omnibuses perhaps as early as the late 1840s. During the winter in the 1860s, sleighs replaced the railcar service that was inaugurated in 1861. By 1894 the entire system had been electrified and the last horsecars withdrawn from service. Tramway service on rail lines expanded to meet the needs of the city’s growing population, but the introduction of buses in 1919 resulted in the beginning of the end for tramways by the mid-1930s, although the last public streetcar line lasted until 1959. Electric trolley buses were used from 1937 to 1966. Being awarded Expo 67 contributed to the development of Montreal’s subway system (referred to as the Metro), on which construction began in 1962 under the supervision of engineers from the Paris Metro. The system was inaugurated six months before the opening of Expo 67. The Montreal Metro’s cars travel on rubber tires that make for a quieter ride but require the system to run entirely underground because of the detrimental effect that the city’s harsh winters would have on the tires. Each Metro station has a different architectural design and artistic decor.




More information on the city life











The City of Montreal