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Old Port of Montreal

Updated on January 15, 2016

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall

At the Old Port of Montreal, in historic Vieux Montreal (Old Montreal), you will find entertainment for the whole family. Architecture, history museums, the science center, grand churches, the Notre Dame Basilica, the Imax theater, the clock tower and beach, and the home stomping grounds of Cirque du Soleil. Food festivals, street performers, artists, the list is long. Just tons of fun for kids and adults.

The history of the Old Port and City is as tall as the ships who have sailed there for 400 years. Since this is not a book, but a hub, I will have to curtail the details and let the images and architecture tell the story.

I invite you to spend an afternoon strolling about the Old Port and the picturesque streets of Old Montreal, snapping photos all the way. So let's go!

**All Photos in this lens Carol Houle all rights reserved, except where indicated. And of course, the aerial view. I am not a strong flier. *CC with photo credit only.

Layout & Aerial Views of the Old Port & the Lachine Canal

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Toward the east ~the Old Port waterfront is 2 kilometers long with the Lachine Canal at it's west end.On the layout, in bold black, is the perimeter of the stone wall which used to enclose and fortify the city from invasion by Indians and Brits.The Lachine Canal west of the Old Port, leads to The Great Lakes.
Toward the east ~the Old Port waterfront is 2 kilometers long with the Lachine Canal at it's west end.
Toward the east ~the Old Port waterfront is 2 kilometers long with the Lachine Canal at it's west end.
On the layout, in bold black, is the perimeter of the stone wall which used to enclose and fortify the city from invasion by Indians and Brits.
On the layout, in bold black, is the perimeter of the stone wall which used to enclose and fortify the city from invasion by Indians and Brits.
The Lachine Canal west of the Old Port, leads to The Great Lakes.
The Lachine Canal west of the Old Port, leads to The Great Lakes.
concept image of the clock tower beach
concept image of the clock tower beach

Watercraft, Watersports & Boat Tours

The Clock Tower Beach

For boat lovers there's the marinas, the Montreal Yacht Club, boat shows and expositions from Yachts to Tall Ships. Tour boats, dinner and dancing cruises; private or corporate special events. There's white water rafting, relics, and oftentimes, a visiting cruise ship. For a heady rush there's rodeo-style speed boating. For a relaxing lull, go for the silent electric-powered boats.

In the concept image at the right is the new Clock Tower Beach which opened in 2012. The parasols are permanent fixtures, the Adirondack chairs (not shown) are the same color as the umbrellas and port logo, the sand is clean and fine, and there's a hopping bar just up the stairs.

Old Port Marina - Clock Tower Basin & Quay

basin with clock tower
basin with clock tower

We've parked the car and off we go!

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Cobblestone streetsNotre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (built in1771) and Mariners MuseumThe Bonsecours MarketThe statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher in the colony of Ville-Marie, faces the water to welcome marinersOld Port marina with the Jacques Cartier bridge in the backgroundMarina's dock with Six Flags amusement park after the bridgeJacques Cartier Pavilion, one of several on the waterfrontShip's anchorKid's trainPort d'escale-marina in the Jacques Cartier Basin. Not shown here is the Bonsecours basin with same name island, pedalo rental and playground for kidsDuring the In-Water-Boat-ShowDinner cruise boat. There is also a glass covered tour boat, not pictured hereBoat show. Shoes off to board or try the boatsThe Bateau-Mouche ~the glass-roofed boat at the end, gives a beautiful perspective of the area. Day, evening and dining options are available
Cobblestone streets
Cobblestone streets
Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (built in1771) and Mariners Museum
Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel (built in1771) and Mariners Museum
The Bonsecours Market
The Bonsecours Market
The statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher in the colony of Ville-Marie, faces the water to welcome mariners
The statue of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, the first teacher in the colony of Ville-Marie, faces the water to welcome mariners
Old Port marina with the Jacques Cartier bridge in the background
Old Port marina with the Jacques Cartier bridge in the background
Marina's dock with Six Flags amusement park after the bridge
Marina's dock with Six Flags amusement park after the bridge
Jacques Cartier Pavilion, one of several on the waterfront
Jacques Cartier Pavilion, one of several on the waterfront
Ship's anchor
Ship's anchor
Kid's train
Kid's train
Port d'escale-marina in the Jacques Cartier Basin. Not shown here is the Bonsecours basin with same name island, pedalo rental and playground for kids
Port d'escale-marina in the Jacques Cartier Basin. Not shown here is the Bonsecours basin with same name island, pedalo rental and playground for kids
During the In-Water-Boat-Show
During the In-Water-Boat-Show
Dinner cruise boat. There is also a glass covered tour boat, not pictured here
Dinner cruise boat. There is also a glass covered tour boat, not pictured here
Boat show. Shoes off to board or try the boats
Boat show. Shoes off to board or try the boats
The Bateau-Mouche ~the glass-roofed boat at the end, gives a beautiful perspective of the area. Day, evening and dining options are available
The Bateau-Mouche ~the glass-roofed boat at the end, gives a beautiful perspective of the area. Day, evening and dining options are available
Tourism Montreal
Tourism Montreal

Fire on Ice

Bonsecours Island & Basin

This is the spot for pedal boating or ice-skating. The fire on ice shows. The ice sculptures competition. And each year new exhibitions and markets.

Ice Skating on the Bonsecours Basin

Tourism Montreal
Tourism Montreal

Jacques-Cartier Basin - Port d'escale ~ Marina

When there's a boat show in the water, you have to go park your yacht elsewhere
When there's a boat show in the water, you have to go park your yacht elsewhere

Promenade

On the promenade/boardwalk, are bicycle rentals, cycling trails, rollerblading, mini trains and funny bunnies for the kids. There’s an Amphibious bus (it’s a boat-it’s a bus) that drives through the streets of Old Montreal, then takes you into the St. Lawrence for a cruise. Double decker tour buses, horse and buggy rides. It’s all there, you decide.

There are water fountains and parks, benches for resting and clean restrooms for all. Along one of the quays you can treat yourself to a seasonal shopping spree. A long row of containers lines the quay with a different shop in each ~be it beachwear, jewelry, kids’ stuff, post cards, sun lotion, handicraft or ice cream and poutine.

We continue our walk down the promenade where we left off... - This time of year is the best...not too crowded

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Colorful 'caleches' are horse drawn carriages. A nice break, when you don't want to walk all the way.Another one from the In Water Boat Show. Someone's taking a test drive.Ship is docked in the King-Edward basin. Looks Deep!This is Jardin-Eau-Canada.The lights are amazing.The huge grain elevator facing the Lachine Canal.The Habitat. Seen from the Old Port, built for Expo 67. It's still full of residents.Tug boat that brought this ship in.Seagull posing for my camera.Great shot with the flagVisiting ship. French-flagged and docked at the Iberville Maritime Terminal: Hangar 3So I named him Lucky, cuz he gets to spend every day at the Old Port.Grey Nuns monastery.Grey Nuns. Amazing original brick work and lists of names on the windows.The old Cazerne (Fire Station) which houses The Montreal History Center.
Colorful 'caleches' are horse drawn carriages. A nice break, when you don't want to walk all the way.
Colorful 'caleches' are horse drawn carriages. A nice break, when you don't want to walk all the way.
Another one from the In Water Boat Show. Someone's taking a test drive.
Another one from the In Water Boat Show. Someone's taking a test drive.
Ship is docked in the King-Edward basin. Looks Deep!
Ship is docked in the King-Edward basin. Looks Deep!
This is Jardin-Eau-Canada.
This is Jardin-Eau-Canada.
The lights are amazing.
The lights are amazing.
The huge grain elevator facing the Lachine Canal.
The huge grain elevator facing the Lachine Canal.
The Habitat. Seen from the Old Port, built for Expo 67. It's still full of residents.
The Habitat. Seen from the Old Port, built for Expo 67. It's still full of residents.
Tug boat that brought this ship in.
Tug boat that brought this ship in.
Seagull posing for my camera.
Seagull posing for my camera.
Great shot with the flag
Great shot with the flag
Visiting ship. French-flagged and docked at the Iberville Maritime Terminal: Hangar 3
Visiting ship. French-flagged and docked at the Iberville Maritime Terminal: Hangar 3
So I named him Lucky, cuz he gets to spend every day at the Old Port.
So I named him Lucky, cuz he gets to spend every day at the Old Port.
Grey Nuns monastery.
Grey Nuns monastery.
Grey Nuns. Amazing original brick work and lists of names on the windows.
Grey Nuns. Amazing original brick work and lists of names on the windows.
The old Cazerne (Fire Station) which houses The Montreal History Center.
The old Cazerne (Fire Station) which houses The Montreal History Center.

Night Life

Ann Brocklehurst
Ann Brocklehurst

The night life is rife with sidewalk cafes, restaurants, bistros and pubs. Light shows, and a perfect view of the July world fireworks competition at the nearby Six Flags amusement park. There are plenty of boutiques for shopping and street performers and artists in the Place Jacques Cartier. The March Bonsecours (market) is open to the public: there you'll find an art school, artwork and other high end wares.There are courtyards, terraces, and refreshments galore. The music, colorful lights and camaraderie creates a magical ambiance.

McCord
McCord

History

The historic port of Montreal is located in Old Montreal (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and stretches for two kilometers along the St. Lawrence river. When the Port Authority activities moved to a new location in Montreal east, the “old” port was redeveloped to become a recreational and historical area which draws 6 million tourists annually.

In 1642 Montreal was known as Ville-Marie, New France, founded by Paul Chomedy De Maisonneuve. It is likely that the Lachine rapids prevented him from sailing further west, so he anchored at what is today the Old Port. He built a fort in 1643 for the conversion of Indians in New France. All previous efforts to open fur trading posts had been abandoned when local Iroquois successfully defended their land.

McCord
McCord

The Colony

The first grid of streets in the colony was established from existing trails and those streets remain to this day with their original ‘maintained’ structures. Fortifications were constructed around the colony to secure the settlement from a British invasion and to allow future expansion inside the walls. Fires led to the ban of wooden houses, though it took many years and many devastating fires before the wonderful buildings we cherish today were realized under the British rule.

Fire

Painting: Sir Hugh Allan
Painting: Sir Hugh Allan

Old Montreal - Architecture

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The People & the Romance

Many people actually reside in some of those buildings. Some are business offices, government edifices, institutes, museums, stores and restaurants. But many more are homes which look historic, but are ultra modern inside. Luxury condos, lofts, apartments, suites and penthouses, in fact.

It's in the cobblestone streets and the grand architecture: the struggle, the strife and the glory of a 400 year-old city enhanced with flowers, lighted with love and sparkling in the sun. Check out the details in each photo. You will see the battle, the hope and the faith of many who strove to build her.

Place Jacques-Cartier Square - The market square was built in the first half of the 19th century,

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Click Satellite View & Snoop Around

© 2013 Carol Houle

Have you ever visited the Old Port of Montreal? - Please leave a message if you enjoyed your afternoon jaunt.

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    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      I've never been to Montreal. Would love to visit some day!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      You have so many beautiful pictures here. This is a place I would like to visit.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      Always a fascination but I have never been to Canada. Its history is amazing.

    • Lynn Klobuchar profile image

      Lynn Klobuchar 3 years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota

      I would love to visit.

    • profile image

      Iris Houle 4 years ago

      i wouldn't mind a condo there myself...with everything to see and do, it would feel like a vacation all year long.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thanks for creating this lens. It's been years since I've been to the Old Port in Montreal. You've got me anxious to go back, as it's quite obvious that there have been so many wonderful changes made to the area. Enjoyed reading about the history and seeing the many colourful photos. Will definitely add the Old Port to my list of places to visit.