As one of the second largest cities in Canada, Montreal is a bustling metropolis full of dining, shopping, attractions, and attractions that entice about 7.7 million visitors each year. It's no wonder there are so many Montreal meeting planning professionals. In addition to the most restaurants per capita in Canada, the city area boasts over 200 hotels and nearly 40,000 hotel rooms and loads of Montreal event venues. Though the city is no stranger to popular chains and budget options, several of its hotels are grand structures that occupy a prominent place in the city's landscape. The Queen Elizabeth Hotel, the city's largest convention hotel, features 50,000 square feet of meeting space and boasts past clientele such as Nelson Mandela, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Indira Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. The Château Versailles, once a European-style pension, invites guests to its 65 rooms among antiques, dramatic staircases, cozy fireplaces and ornate crown moldings.
Montreal prides itself on its variety of facilities for conventions and meetings. The Montreal Convention Centre, Mount Royal Centre and Bell Centre are all conveniently located, easily accessible and boast top quality service, dining and technology. The largest space, the Montreal Convention Centre, or Palais des congres de Montreal, welcomes guests with its colorful display of a multicolored glass panel façade. Inside, the Convention Level has room for up to 10,000 people while the Panoramic Level can accommodate up to 1,900 guests.
There is no lack of traditional options when it comes to Montreal meeting planning. Planners can find additional facilities at the Mount Royal Centre, which offers 50,000 feet of exhibit space as well as exceptional audio-visual and catering services. Also on the grounds, the Bell Centre, home of the 24-time Stanley Cup champions the Montreal Canadiens, seats 14,000 to 21,500 people at complete capacity and can be arranged into small seating configurations if needed.
Host to events and festivals both large and small, Montreal offers ample alternatives to traditional meeting facilities from its cultural attractions to its gourmet dining. The Sculpture Garden at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art is an elegant outdoor space for up to 400 guests. If you are working with an even larger group in your Montreal event planning, you can invite up to 500 attendees to join in a night of song and dance at the Cabaret located in the fun-loving Montreal Casino. Enjoy dishes such as Angus striploin steak, braised lamb shank and tuna tartare from the group menus offered at Restaurant Globe, which can accommodate groups of up to 150 people. Or, gather a more intimate party of up to 20 diners to sample the signature flavors of Québec at popular restaurant Toque!
Even with so much going on, Montreal meeting planning pros, and visitors alike, need not worry about travel to and from Montreal's wealth of attractions and accommodations. Arrival is easy and convenient by plane at Montreal International Airport or by train through either Amtrak or VIA Rail. To navigate the streets, hop on the Montreal Metro, the 2nd largest subway network in Canada servicing 68 stops. Or better yet, walk to popular destinations, even when the temperatures drop, in the Underground City, the world's largest underground pedestrian network covering over 20 miles of downtown.
A strong commerce center, Montreal is home of the headquarters of Air Canada, Bell Canada, Cirque du Soleil, National Bank of Canada and Rio Tinto Alcan. Six universities and 12 junior colleges are located in the area, including McGill University, one of the oldest schools in Canada, and Universite du Quebec a Montreal, the largest French-language University in the world.
A taste of European culture and style in North America, Montreal has long garnered accolades such as one of the cleanest and one of the most livable cities in the world. Its citizens agree, as Montreal is the largest city in Québec and the 2nd largest in Canada. Over 1.8 million people reside in the city alone, with over 3.6 million living within the greater metropolitan area.
French explorer Jacques Cartier first set foot in the city's area, which became a center for trade and base of French exploration, in 1535, when he claimed it for France. Not surprisingly, the city is among the five largest French-speaking cities in the world, and about 70 percent of the population uses the language most frequently at home. English-speaking travelers can rest assured that most of Montreal's residents are bilingual in both languages.
Located on the central and eastern areas of the Island of Montreal where the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers conjoin, Montreal is 168 miles from Quebec City and just over 100 miles from Ottawa, the nation's capital. Sitting under the gaze of the three-headed Mount Royal, the landmark after which the city is presumably named, Montreal features a dynamic cityscape of modern facilities and skyscrapers, such as the Biodome de Montreal and the Stock Exchange Tower, intermixed with historical landmarks such as the Notre-Dame Basilica and Bonsecours Market. Visitors will particularly enjoy a stroll through Old Montreal, whose antique architecture and cobblestone streets transport visitors back to the city's days as a French fur trading post.
Further exploration may take guests to the Quartier Latin, known for its musical and literary activity, where they can settle in to a bustling street café, bistro or chic boutique. Acclaimed festivals such as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival and Montreal Jazz Festival are held in this district. No matter where guests venture, cultural opportunities abound in this city once referred to as "Canada's Cultural Capital." Make sure to catch a performance by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at the Place des Art and admire the works of Picasso and Miro at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
When the sun sets, Montrealers know how to throw caution to the wind and have a good time. Crescent Street is pumping with bars and nightclubs, many of which stay open to the early morning hours. Enjoy a beer brewed on-site at microbrewery Brutopia, or hit the dance floor at Winnie's. For those who plan to end the night before the sun rises, Montreal offers an eclectic mix of cuisine reflective of its present-day mix of over 80 ethnicities. From the Jewish influenced smoked meat sandwiches at famed deli Schwartz to the French pastries at L'Express to the authentic Italian dishes at Ristorante I Sensi, dining in Montreal is akin to a trip around the globe. In fact, the city was one of few to have an entire issue of Gourmet magazine devoted to its culinary offerings. International fare, European-style, a top-notch culture scene -- Montreal promises a thrilling adventure at every turn.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Montreal's humid continental climate results in major temperature fluctuation between seasons and abundant precipitation, predominantly during the winter. Snowfall averages 213 cm in the winter while rainfall averages 89 cm throughout the year.
Winter temperatures average -15°C, though wind chill often lowers the perceived temperature dramatically. The warmest months of July and August see an average daily temperature of nearly 21°C with humidity. Heat waves often occur in August and October. However, the sunniest and warmest season is summer. During this season a large concentration of festivals are held, making it one of the best times of year to explore Montreal.
Palais des congres de Montreal
Located in the downtown core about 20 minutes from the airport, the Montreal Convention Centre, or Palais des congres de Montreal, is the city's largest Montreal meeting facility suitable for meetings and events. An eye-catching structure, the centre's exterior consists primarily of large, multi-colored glass panes, adding a vibrant and contemporary artistic allure not commonly found in such purpose-built facilities. Inside, the glow of natural light streaming through the rainbow of colors creates a warm atmosphere and showcases the centre's spacious interior.
The centre's Convention Level offers 45,333 square feet made up of 63 meeting rooms. With an overall capacity of 10,000 guests, the selection of meeting rooms includes a single room capable of hosting over 3,000 guests, making it one of the more ideal Montreal meeting facilities for banquets. The Panoramic Level has capacity for up to 1,900 guests and includes an outdoor terrace. Against the backdrop of downtown Montreal, the terrace can accommodate up to 800 people. The Panoramic Level also features VIP lounges with amenities such as a satellite kitchen, coat check, washrooms and a boardroom.
One of the most highly integrated hi-tech meeting facilities in Montreal and even all of Canada, the centre offers audio-visual equipment and wireless Internet, teleconferencing, videoconferencing and webcasting capabilities, as well as a team of certified experts to provide any necessary assistance. On-site catering is provided by Capital Traiteur, whose meals are inspired from global fare. Les Jardins food court, adjacent to the outdoor terrace, is also available, offering a variety of pleasant and wholesome selections ranging from salads, delicatessen sandwiches and pizza. Two parking lots with a total of 1,600 spaces are available for travelers by car, though the centre is also connected to the subway system and Underground City.
During its expansion and renovation phase from 2000 to 2002, the Palais de congrs made efforts to reduce energy consumption in a movement to encourage and promote sustainable events. As the 3rd Canadian city to receive the Go Green certification of excellence from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Quebec, this Montreal meeting facility has been recognized for its reduction of both energy and water consumption, recycling, use of non-toxic and recycled material and management of ozone-depleting substances, among other strategies. The Montreal Convention Centre proved its skill when it hosted the green/carbon neutral Conference of the Parties to the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2005.
Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
Approximate taxi fare: $38.63 USD
The Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport handles all commercial passenger traffic in the city and serves as the headquarters for Air Canada and Air Transat. Roughly 10 miles from the city center, the airport has direct flights to and from about 120 regular and seasonal destinations in Canada, the United States, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Europe and Mexico.
Airport travelers can enjoy a multitude of shops, including the largest duty free store in North America, and eateries from fast food to coffee shops to bars to bakeries. An executive salon also offers a comfortable spot to rest or enjoy a light meal and refreshments or make use of the business center and free wireless Internet. The airport offers short-term, long-term and economy parking, and 19 hotels in the Montreal area offer shuttle service to and from Montreal-Trudeau International.
Airline carriers serving Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
Modeled after New York's Central Station, Montreal's elegant Central Station features a fresco in its Departure Hall that depicts the lives of Canadians as they engage in work and play. The station's halls are home to numerous restaurants, bakeries, a pharmacy and a florist.
Both Canada's VIA Rail network headquartered in Montreal, and Amtrak service the station. VIA Rail provides service to cities across Canada, including Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa. Amtrak offers service between Montreal and New York on the Adirondack line. All intercity trains also operate out of Central Station.
The Societe de transport de Montreal operates the bus and metro system in the city.
STM operates over 1,600 buses that run 169 daytime routes and 20 nighttime routes. Notable stops include Mount Royal, the casino and Notre Dame. One-way fare is C$2.75 with reduced rates for children ages 6-11, students and senior citizens. Fare for children under 5 is free. Weekly passes cost C$19.25 and monthly passes cost C$66.25.
Serving 289.1 million riders a year, the Montreal Metro is the 2nd largest subway system in the country and is operated by the Societe de transport de Montreal (STM). The Metro has 68 stations on four lines. Each designed by different architects, stations feature unique public artwork by some of the most famous artists in Quebec. The Metro runs Sunday through Friday from 5:30 to 1 AM and Saturday from 5:30 to 1:30 AM. One-way fare is C$2.75 with reduced rates for children ages 6-11, students and senior citizens. Fare for children under 5 is free. Weekly passes cost C$19.25 and monthly passes cost C$66.25.
A unique network of attractions, the "Underground City" is a vast network of pedestrian walkways spanning over 20 miles beneath 41 blocks in the heart of Montreal, making it the largest underground network in the world. The walkways allow below-ground access to more than 40 attractions, as well as metro stops. An especially convenient option during the cold winter months, the city is frequented by approximately 500,000 people daily.
The Underground City is open Monday through Wednesday from 9:30 AM to 6 PM, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 AM to 9 PM, Saturday from 9:30 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from noon to 5 PM. Parking is available weekdays for up to 10 hours for C$18, Saturday for C$7 and Sunday for C$6.
Eight rental car agencies service the airport, including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Thrifty and Dollar. Rental car offices are located on the ground level of the multi-level parking facility.
Taxis are abundant in Montreal, with 23 separate companies servicing the city. Convenient for large parties, many taxis are actually minivans that can seat up to six people. Most taxi drivers are bilingual and extremely knowledgeable of the city's streets. The average fare from the airport to the Montreal Convention Centre is C$30, depending on traffic.
Photo Credit : Alto - Terrasse Bonsecours
Make meeting planning simple with Starwood Hotels of Montréal
Starwood hotels in Montréal are conveniently located throughout downtown, the Old Montréal area, and near the airport. No matter what your planning needs are, we can help pair you with the perfect hotel for your next meeting or event. Our hotels feature special qualities that make them unique:
• Le Centre Sheraton Montréal– Located in the heart of the city across from the Bell Centre with great city views, access to top attractions, and over 51,000 square feet of renovated meeting space
• Le Westin Montréal – Located between downtown and the business district, Le Westin Montréal offers world-class service and 40,000 square feet of prime, flexible meeting space.
• Le Méridien Versailles-Montréal—In the city’s historic Golden Square Mile neighborhood, this boutique hotel offers a unique, personalized experience for your next small meeting.
• W Montréal –Plan your next event at this stylish hotel, offering luxurious guestrooms and 5 dazzling meeting studios on the mezzanine level.
• Sheraton Montréal Airport Hotel – Located a quick shuttle ride away from Montréal’s international airport, this newly renovated hotel offers a resort-like atmosphere unique in the market.
This summer Starwood Hotels of Montréal is offering:
o Starpoints signing bonus, 1,000 Starpoints per 10 room nights
o 2% rebate to master billed rooms
• AND planner picks one concession from list of benefits:
o Accelerated comp policy (1/35)
o Welcome reception
o Accelerated upgrade policy (1/35)
• Book by September 30, 2013 for meetings through December 31, 2013. SPP members can sign now to earn credits toward elite SPG status.
Special offer for Montréal meetings in 2013
If you are thinking of booking a meeting in Montréal, there’s never been a better time.
Choose Montreal for a meeting taking place between January 1 and December 31, 2013 and take advantage of this special offer*:
•NO ATTRITION from hotel partners**
•$10 per room per room night back
•1/35 complimentary room from hotel partners
•Rebate on audio-visual services
•Credit to master account on exhibitor services
•Discount on special event and transportation planning
* Applies to new requests only for meetings taking place between January 1 and December 31, 2013. RFP must transit via Tourisme Montréal. Minimum 10 nights on peak. Book multiple meetings in 2013 and beyond and many of the conditions may apply.
** Valid during the months of January, February, March, April, July, August, November and December 2013.
More value and variety in Montreal
Book a meeting by September 30, 2013 and hold it by December 31, 2013, to receive:
Interested in placing a promotion? Call Cvent for information on advertising opportunities at 1-866-318-4358.