Your guide to off-track activities in Montreal during the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend. This year’s race takes place on June 10-12, 2016.
If you have read our Accommodation guide for the Canadian Grand Prix, you will know that we recommend staying in the downtown area of Montreal. It’s easy to get to the track from downtown using the Metro and the centre is one big party zone during Grand Prix weekend. Montreal has a well-deserved reputation for the quality of its dining and bar scene, and summer is the best time to experience it.
The main commercial street in downtown Montreal, St Catherine Street, runs through the heart of the business and shopping centre of the city, parallel to Montreal’s vast Underground City. A massive complex of interconnected spaces, both below ground and above. the Underground City comprises offices, shopping centres, hotels, apartments, universities and no less than seven metro stations. Click here for a map.
Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal’s entertainment district, is the home of many of the city’s summer festivals – the area includes over 30 performance venues including the Place de Arts cultural complex. The Latin Quarter is worth checking out for its theatres, cafes, boutiques and nightlife. The eastern end of St Catherine street is where you will find the city’s Gay Village – during the summer months, this part of the street is closed to traffic and turns into an open air market and is also popular for alfresco drinking and dining.
Parc Mont Royal
Montreal has some wonderful parks and green spaces, and Parc Mont Royal is the best. This vast park, designed by the same landscape architect responsible for Central Park in New York, is spread over 470 hectares. Head up to the elevated parts of the park to get a wonderful view of the city below.
Plateau and Mile End
Some of the hippest areas of Montreal can be found near Parc Mont Royal in the Plateau and Mile End districts. The Plateau is a working-class area being transformed by its artistic and bohemian artist residents, whilst Mile End is the hub of Montreal’s excellent music scene.
In these areas, head to St Laurent Street and St Denis Street for diverse nightlife, trendy restaurants (the best Italian food in the city in Little Italy) and live music. During the 2016 Grand Prix weekend, the Montreal Fringe Festival will be in full swing (May 30 – June 19) in the Plateau-Mont-Royal area, with theater, comedy, dance, music & visual art performances at various venues.
Join your fellow F1 fans on Crescent Street, which gets closed off on Grand Prix weekend and is the place to go to eat, drink and party with F1-themed displays and demonstrations and a stage with live music. There’s plenty of pubs, clubs and restaurants to choose from as well. Click here for the 2016 Crescent Street program of events.
To see Old Montreal, take the orange Metro line to Place d’Armes. This historic area, which includes the Old Port next to the river, has some interesting landmarks including the neogothic Notre-Dame Basilica which dates back to the 19th century. Take a walk down St Paul Street, known for its cafes and art galleries or visit the Montreal Science Centre. Nearby, you will also find Montreal’s Chinatown district.
If you are a fan of modernist architecture, be sure to check out Habitat 67 , a housing community designed for Expo 67. From Habitat 67’s location next to the St Lawrence river, its possible to cross the Concorde bridge to the man made islands which comprise Parc Jean Drapeau and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Why not hire a BIXI bike (see Getting Around section) and explore the park on the Thursday before the race, when you can also participate in the fan’s pitlane walk. More information in our Trackside guide.
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