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Canada/Montreal/Quebec City

We are taking a trip to Montreal and Quebec C. in September. What are your top 3 sightseeing recs? Mid price hotel recs? Restaurant recs? Thanks! jjkc

Posted by
6083 posts

I don't have any sightseeing tips, just a comment. Since I live in Minnesota, I know of people that have planned trips to Canada this summer. Just so you are aware, if you travel by car (can't speak to air) they are randomly testing for COVID at the border. One friend had to wait several hours for the test, and then was told she needed to stay in the area with cell phone coverage until the results came back. She ended up missing a museum she planned for. Another person had planned to travel to Alaska and worried about being stalled at the border waiting for COVID results and decided to drive to WA state and proceed to Alaska via boat. It sounds to me like the biggest problem is having to wait in an area with cell coverage until the COVID test was processed. However, if someone tests positive, they will need to quarantine where ever they are for the appropriate time period. I would give yourself an extra day at the border prior to the start of your itinerary if you are traveling by car. I would also do a rapid test prior to the start of the trip in an effort to avoid any surprises.

I didn't plan any trips into Canada for this year, so I do not have more details.

Posted by
350 posts

In Montreal in the old city I can recommed Jardin Nelson. Went twice when I was in Montreal, they have live music at night (mostly jazz). In the summer they also had music in the afternoon, not sure about the fall.

Also check out Saint Catherines street W. It has a mixtures of chains and local places.

Schwartz'Deli is a must see. It is nothing fancy, has been around for ever open in 1928 but has the best smoked meat I have every had. You need to be flexiable tables are close together but worth the experience. From what I remember the menu is not huge most people seem to get the smoked meat sandwich. My friends husband was not happy they were going for smoked meat (he says he did does not like it) but they were with friends and everyone else wanted to go so he lost. He is now including it in places to eat again on their next trip to Montreal.

For Montreal Bagels St. Viateur bagels are amazing. The flagship location is 263, rue St-Viateur O Not eat in just a store front. I always bring back bagels from Montreal. It's been around for over 60 years.

In Old Montreal you will find lots of other choices.

It has been far to long since I have been to Quebec City to make any recommendations, but was in Montreal last summer.

Posted by
5117 posts

Jules - Remember that these are RANDOM tests. And you do not have to stay in the area. The rules must have changed since your friends visited. The current procedure for testing IF you are picked, are explained on the Govt website. And dont forget to complete the ArriveCan app before entering Canada.

PS: pretty sure if you are proceeding from the border to QC or Montreal, you'd have to try very hard to find a place without cell coverage. And a cell phone is not required for anyone.

I like Montreal just fine, but it's really like any big city. They have an excellent Botanical Garden though. Try to have lunch at one of the delis that specialize in Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. Mmmm good. Old Montreal is fun to walk around, and has lots of good places to eat. St Joseph's Oratory on Mont Royal is lovely.

QC- a visit to la Citadelle and Plains of Abraham for history buffs. Wandering around the Old City ( upper and lower) and Place Royale. Maybe a day trip to Montmorency falls.

Posted by
3210 posts

Great visit to the Biodôme de Montréal. Definitely a ramble through Vieux-Montréal. If you’re adventurous, take the jet boats in the St. Lawrence but be prepared to soaked to the skin! If you’re interested in trains, the train museum is just south of the city. For the best Italian meal outside of Italy, try Restaurant Amato a bit north of the city in the picturesque village of Sainte Rose.

Posted by
3994 posts

In Quebec eat croissants or any baked goods at Pillards on Rue St Jean. Take a tour of the Chateau Frontanec (fairmont.com), take a historic evening tour with Les Promenades Fantomes. It is sold as a ghost tour but the people they portray are real people. We took tours both times we were in Quebec. Take the evening tour at the Citidel. There are numerous museums around town, all worthwhile. We always stay right outside old Quebec at the Hilton. Have fun.

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16 posts

1.The many incarnations of the building now known as the Morrin Centre reflect changes in Quebec City over centuries. Among other things, it’s been a prison, an institute of higher education for women, and is now a library. If you’re a fan of mystery writer Louise Penny, Bury Your Dead opens in the dirt-floored basement of this building. 2. Take the ferry to Levis in the evening to see the lights come on in QC. 3. Visit Quebec City’s Beaux Arts Museum on the Plains of Abraham/Montcalm neighborhood

Posted by
6083 posts

Cjean, I have a friend in Canada right now that has been reporting on both her trip and the process. It could likely be different north of us (Ontario, Manitoba). It was a couple days ago that she was delayed at the border to get the test, and missed going to a museum she had planned on. Yes, totally random, but just thought people should know. Having traveled in Canada (more central and western) I know there are a lot of areas with little or no cell service. People are being told they need to be in range to get the results of the test (We just found little/no service in southern Washington, a lot of South Dakota, and parts of Montana, so not unique to Canada). A person on a road trip is going to have more difficulty with this. One friend that was traveling thru rural Canada to Alaska, decided to reroute the trip over having to deal with unexpected delays. My friend delayed at the border north of us, had no idea she'd be subject to a test, random or not. Entry into Canada in regards to COVID is something I would have checked on in advance, but people are thinking less about COVID at this point.

As I having been hearing and reading about friends and their vacation plans to or thru Canada, I was thinking that a post on this topic might be helpful to some. I don't think it is a particularly big deal, but, just like Europe, it is helpful for some to hear what is happening "on the ground". Had my friend that is in Canada now, known of this (her fault, not Canada's) she could have planned a night in Thunder Bay in case of any delay.

Posted by
14580 posts

Quebec City.....I admit that I absolutely envy you. In 2017 the Mrs and I did a almost a week long trip to Quebec City, Montreal was not included. This was a most educational, eye-opening and totally enjoyable trip.. We spent all the time in the Old City, took a few guided tours. Going back to Quebec City is most definitely earmarked for the future trip in North America., ie the no.1 place.

In Quebec City, we stayed at the Hotel le Priori & the Hotel Port-Royal. Both were in Lowertown and both were excellent and in the middle of everything. But beware they weren't cheap, and I have a feeling this summer they're much less cheap.

We took a very interesting walking tour that started from the Tourist Info across from the Chateau Frontenac. It was given by a retired university prof (See https://www.bonjourquebec.com/en-ca/listing/things-to-do/heritage-sites-and-attractions/guided-tours/tours-voir-quebec-44126517)
Montreal
As far a Montreal goes (I'm a native) the old city (Vieux Montreal) is a can't miss. It's fun to just explore.
For a more structured day, you can hit a trifecta of interesting sites all centered around the Olympic Stadium: The Biodome is an indoor zoo, great for kids. Next to it is a newish Planetarium and across the street is the can't miss Botanical Garden. The garden includes a Chinese garden so authentic you'd swear you're in China--I know, I've been to China. I believe you can get a ticket good for all 3 attractions--more info at https://espacepourlavie.ca/en/ticketing. In the off season, there are a series of connected green houses that are a welcome respite from the winter blues.

Mont Royal (The Mountain) is a great place for a hike and to get away from the hustle and bustle of a big city. For a nice walk, you can park around Lac des Castors (Beaver Lake) and walk to the Mont Royal Chalet. There is an extensive trail system around there, all very well signed. The views from the top are breath taking. On a clear day, you can see The Adirondaks and the Green Mountains of VT.