Montréal is highly multi-cultural city, with a very active night-life, and an abundance of restaurants. It’s one of the oldest cities in Canada and is situated on an island at the juncture of the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence rivers.
Montréal is a very bilingual city, with more than half of its residents speaking both French and English. Knowing some French is helpful, but visitors to Montréal will find it easy to get around and communicate in either official language, especially in the downtown area.
Like many modern cities, most of your financial transactions can be entirely electronic, using credit or debit cards for payment. Cash is of course also very acceptable, but note that although many of the more tourist-centric places accept US currency, most cash transactions in Canada will require the use of Canadian currency.
You should feel safe walking in most places in Montréal. Like almost all large cities, petty crime exists, and you should be aware of your surroundings when walking alone at night, and don’t leave belongings unattended.
The end of February and beginning of March in Montréal means winter is tapering off and we are entering a transition from winter to spring. There is usually still snow on the ground, but sidewalks and roads tend to be cleared quickly. Temperatures, however, can vary a lot, with forecast ranging anywhere between -12C and -1C, and so surfaces may be dry & clear, icy, or slushy. It is thus advisable to have some warm clothing (think layers), and to be careful when walking in case of puddles or slippery surfaces.
The hotel has a heated pool, so don’t forget to bring your swimwear.
Getting into Montréal
Montréal is served by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, located about a 30min drive from downtown. To get to/from the airport you have the option of using a taxi/uber, or taking the airport express bus.
Airport bus: 747
Montréal operates a special 24hr shuttle bus that serves the airport. You can buy tickets from the vending machines in the international arrivals area (using cash, debit, or credit) or in the bus itself (exact change only, no bills). It costs CAD $11 and runs every 15-30min during the day, but down to once an hour in the wee hours; the journey itself will take 45-70min. You can find general information on the shuttle from the STM website, and check out the bus schedule to downtown.
- Take the express bus 747 to the Lionel-Groulx metro station.
Then take the orange metro line to the Bonaventure metro station (3 stops), direction Montmorency
Once you exit the metro platform, just after the ticket gate, stay in the underground passages and follow the sign for “Place Bonaventure”. Once you arrive in “Place Bonaventure”, turn right, and turn right again to find the elevator to the hotel, see attached pdf.
For detalied instructions on getting to the hotel using the Airport bus, look at the following pdf.
Taxis to downtown are available for a flat rate of about CAD $50 (Day (5am-11pm): CAD $49.45, Night (11pm - 5am): CAD $56.70). Follow the signs for ground transportation from the baggage-claim/arrivals area to the pickup area, which enforces an orderly queue of taxi services. Once in town you can flag down taxis (a lit roof-sign means they are available) on the major downtown streets, or look for taxi stands. Ubers are available at the exit door 7. Price many vary depending on the time/demand.
Once in Montréal
Montréal is a very walkable city, with a relatively compact downtown core. Transit is quite good for a North American city, and the STM, Montréal’s transit organization, has lots of useful advice for planning your trips for longer distances. The metro covers most of the city, and runs from 5:30am to 1:00am. Transit tickets allow you to make one trip on the metro and unlimited bus trips for up to two hours (within the core city area). You can purchase individual tickets, packs of tickets, or multi-day passes from the vending machines in the metros. Individual tickets may also be purchased in the bus itself (cash only).
There are many places to rent a car, although a car is most useful for getting out of the city, and for getting around within the city you’ll find public transit, walking, or taxis are less stressful means of transportation.
The conference hotel is connected to “RÉSO”, Montréal’s vast underground shopping network, connecting the hotel, central train station, several malls, and other major downtown venues by various tunnels. Navigating it can be a challenge due to the many twists and turns, so traveling outside is generally a lot quicker, but it is quite possible to avoid the weather entirely if you prefer!