Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of Quebec. Originally called Ville-Marie (City of Mary), the city had come to be known as Montréal, a name derived from Mont Royal, the name of the three-head hill at the heart of the city. The city rests on the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers.
Formerly the metropolis of Canada, it is the second largest French speaking city in the Western world, after Paris. The population of the Greater Montreal Area is estimated at 3,720,000 in 2006. Montreal is ranked as the 15th-largest metropolitan area in Northern America and 77th in the world.
Montreal is located in the southwest of the province of Quebec, approximately 270 km (168 miles) southwest of Quebec City, the provincial capital, and 190 km (118 miles) east of Ottawa, the federal capital. It also lies 539 km (335 miles) northeast of Toronto,and 610 km (380 miles) north of New York City.
Montreal’s night life is particularly dynamic. The most active neighborhoods then are rue St-Laurent, Downtown (Crescent Street, Sainte-Catherine Street), Quartier Latin (Saint Denis Street), and Plateau Mont-Royal. There is also a very active gay community, with it’s own “Gay Village” just east of the main downtown core.
Montrealers love their sex and their food; so it’s not really surprising that it has such a wide variety of style of restaurants to choose from, many of them deriving from the richness of the different cultural communities that live in the city. Jewish culture has contributed two of Montreal’s most distinctive dishes, smoked meat sandwiches and Montreal style bagels. Montreal is also well-known for a unique dish called “poutine” which is composed of french fries, gravy and topped with cheese curds.
Montreal is the home to a multitude of festivals and cultural celebrations, ranging from the offbeat (The Fringe Festival) to the internationally reknown, such as the “Just for Laughs Comedy Festival, the “Montreal International Jazz Festival” and the ever-colourful “Montreal Fireworks Festival”.
(thanks in part to Wikipedia)