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Montréal dates back to 1642, when Paul de
Chomedy de Maisonneuve, founder of the city, planted a wooden cross
on Mount Royal. Now, a rainbow of lights is illuminating many
significant buildings constructed in the subsequent 362 years.
Throughout Old Montréal, night brings on the many-hued display
intended to focus attention upon various building styles and
architectural eras. For instance, the Notre-Dame Basilica, the
pièce de résistance of Old Montréal’s impressive Place d’Armes,
lately has been lit up in soft blue.
A $176 million expansion and modernization of Montréal’s
colorful Palais des Congrès convention center was
completed at the end of 2002. The facility doubled its exhibition
and meeting space to 330,520 square feet and added new loading
docks, storage space, bus terminals and 1,200 parking spaces.
Everywhere in Montréal’s convention center district, city
planners have mixed the fine arts into building expansions and
neighborhood developments. On the huge Bleury Street glass façade
of the Palais des Congrès, for instance, a high-tech art
installation, named “Translucide,” juxtaposes imagery from video
screens, computer monitors, the Internet and electronic devices.
Inside, panels from the work decorate the main hall.
The governments of Canada, Québec and the city of Montréal plus
private investors put $66 million into developing a new downtown
sector, the Quartier international de Montréal,
which opened in June between the city’s business center and the Old
Montréal historic district. In the midst of the new quartier and
close to the Palais des Congrès center is “La Joute” (“The Joust”),
a formidable new public sculpture by the late Québécois artist
Jean-Paul Riopelle in a setting that combines mist, fire and
Montréal continues to add major properties and smaller
boutique hotels to accommodate a broad spectrum of meeting
At the end of the summer, the W Montréal will
open in the middle of the city’s new Quartier international. The
first W Hotel in Canada will feature 152 guest rooms and six
meeting rooms ranging in size from 349 square feet to 1,518 square
Also in the Quartier international, Le
Riopelle is set to open in fall 2005, facing the Palais
des Congrès center. Designed especially for business clients on
extended stays, the property (named after artist Jean-Paul
Riopelle) will feature 42 guest rooms and 69 condominiums.
The Hôtel Godin is slated for a September 2004
debut. The 138-room property is an extension of the Godin Building,
which some consider to be Montréal’s grandest art nouveau
The 218-suite Residence Inn by Marriott Montréal
Westmount, 11 miles from Montréal-Trudeau Airport and
convenient to Montréal’s business and entertainment districts,
opened in June 2003. All suites at the hotel feature kitchens,
balconies and free high-speed Internet access.
The 258-room Hotel Sofitel Montréal opened in
October 2002 inside a former office building made of steel and
glass. The property features four meeting rooms that hold from four
to 60 people and a 1,050-square-foot ballroom that can host parties
of up to 300.
Several new boutique hotels have opened in Montréal. Among
them: Le Saint-Sulpice, offering 108 suites, is
near both the Notre-Dame Basilica and Montréal’s Old Port. The
Hôtel Nelligan has 64 rooms, 27 suites and four
conference rooms. And the Hotel Le St-James offers
20 rooms and 41 suites set in a stately 1870 mansion.