You Want Schmear with That?

fire-baked breakfast bread from Montreal

New York City isn't the only town famous for delicious bagels. Montreal has its own brand of the fire-baked breakfast bread, though here they're often smaller and sweeter than in the Big Apple.

Local Update
The Ritz-Carlton Montréal, which originally opened in 1912, is set to debut its new luxury look this fall. The 156-room property, closed since June 2008 for a renovation of up to US$150 million, has two ballrooms and 10 function rooms totaling 13,000 square feet of meeting space; an 8,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art fitness facility with a 59-foot swimming pool; and the new Maison Boulud eatery from acclaimed chef-restaurateur Daniel Boulud, owner of New York's Daniel and Café Boulud.

Another addition to the city's thriving restaurant scene is Les 400 Coups, which opened in late 2010 in Old Montreal. A partnership between chef Marc-Andre Jette, sommelier Marie-Josee Beaudoin and pastry chef Patrick Demers, the eatery's seasonal French cuisine is enhanced by the use of locally sourced products. The restaurant can accommodate groups of up to 20 seated and 40 cocktail-style.

Conveniently close to Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport, the newly opened Hotel Chez Swann is a four-star, "bohemian-chic" boutique property featuring 23 unique, design-driven guest rooms. Originally built in 1919 as La Maison Tudor, the hotel today is named after French writer Marcel Proust's most famous work, Swann's Way, from which the property takes its whimsical design inspiration (think faux-grass rugs, dramatic draped curtains and tree-trunk coffee tables). The hotel features a 400-square-foot meeting room, a restaurant and bar, 24-hour room service and complimentary wireless Internet access throughout.

The new Bota Bota Spa sur-l'Eau offers weary business travelers a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation alongside the Saint Lawrence River. Visitors can enjoy privileged access to the river, take a spin through the signature "water circuit" (comprising various steam baths and Jacuzzis), and enjoy contemporary massage and body treatments.

The city's robust cultural offerings are multiplying this year. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is set to unveil a new wing of Canadian art in September. The Stewart Museum, which offers historical information about the area and also focuses on outdoor activities, reopened in May. And the city continues its development of a new "culture quarter," the Quartier des Spectacles, which eventually will include a public square, a symphony hall and an office complex.

Music to Your Ears
The city's annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal features free outdoor performances on stages throughout the city;  this year, it will take place from June 25 to July 4. 

Meeting Hotels
Properties in the bustling downtown business district include the 937-room Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, 786-room Le Centre Sheraton, 680-room Delta Centre-Ville, 592-room Montreal Mar­riott Chateau Champlain, 589-room Hyatt Regency Montreal, 481-room Holiday Inn Montreal-Midtown, 452-room Delta Montreal, 407-room West­in Montreal, 382-room Hilton Montreal Bonaventure, 345-room Hotel Gouverneur Place Dupuis, 334-room InterContinental Montreal and 270-room Hotel Omni Mont-Royal. For a complete listing of Montreal properties, visit

Convention Center
Palais des Congrès de Montréal; exhibit space, approximately 551,500 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 113; (514) 871-8122

Airport Transit
Montreal-Pierre Elli­ott Trudeau Inter­na­tional Airport, about 20 minutes from Montreal's downtown district. Transfer cost by taxi, US$39.50 to downtown, metered to other areas (at a minimum of about US$17); by shuttle, US$8.30; cash only

The Canadian dollar; at press time, one Canadian dollar was equal to US$1.03

Room tax, 3.5% per night if visitors pay for the accommodation themselves, US$3.65 per night if a travel agency pays; federal goods and services tax (GST), 5%; Quebec provincial tax (TVQ), 8.5%

Group Venues
The majestic Marche Bonsecours, built in 1847, is considered one of Canada's 10 finest heritage buildings. Set along the St. Lawrence River in Old Montreal, the venue features four multipurpose reception halls, the largest of which can accommodate up to 860 guests. (514) 872-5547

Built in 1878, Le Windsor (formerly the Windsor Hotel) is one of Canada's most prestigious historic landmarks, having hosted the likes of Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth and Charles de Gaulle. It features two ballrooms that can each host up to 500 people. (514) 393-3588

Parquet atrium at Centre CDP CapitalIn the city's international quarter, the Centre CDP Capital houses the Parquet, a stunning glass-walled atrium that opens onto two outdoor terraces and can accommodate 800 attendees. The building connects directly with the Palais des Congres convention center and the Hotel InterContinental Montreal. (514) 847-2555

For a more contemporary feel, check out the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The facility features eight meeting rooms (the largest of which can accommodate 500) as well as privileged access to its exhibits and permanent collections. (514) 285-1600

Tourisme Montréal, (877) 266-5687