Montreal – Quebec – Canada
Montreal was referred to as “Canada’s Cultural Capital” by Monocle magazine. The city is Canada’s centre for French language television productions, radio, theatre, film, multimedia, and print publishing. Montreal’s many cultural communities have given it a distinct local culture. Taken from the top of Le Monstre at La Ronde amusement park. The Goliath is the red, yellow and blue ride to the north As a North American city, Montreal shares many cultural characteristics with the rest of the continent. It has a tradition of producing both jazz and rock music. The city has also produced much talent in the fields of visual arts, theatre, music, and dance. Yet, being at the confluence of the French and the English traditions, Montreal has developed a unique and distinguished cultural face. Another distinctive characteristic of cultural life is the animation of its downtown, particularly during summer, prompted by cultural and social events, particularly festivals. The city’s largest festival is the Just for Laughs comedy festival, which is the largest in the world of its kind. Other popular festivals include the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, Nuits d’Afrique, Pop Montreal, Divers/Cité, Fierté Montréal and the Montreal Fireworks Festival. Saint Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada. A cultural heart of classical art and the venue for many summer festivals, the Place des Arts is a complex of different concert and theatre halls surrounding a large square in the eastern portion of downtown. Place des Arts has the headquarters of one of the world’s foremost orchestras, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and the chamber orchestra I Musici de Montréal are two other well-regarded Montreal orchestras. Also performing at Place des Arts are the Opéra de Montréal and the city’s chief ballet company Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Internationally recognized avant-garde dance troupes such as Compagnie Marie Chouinard, La La La Human Steps, O Vertigo, and the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault have toured the world and worked with international popular artists on videos and concerts. The unique choreography of these troupes has paved the way for the success of the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil. Nicknamed la ville aux cent clochers (the city of a hundred steeples), Montreal is renowned for its churches. As Mark Twain noted, “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window.” The city has four Roman Catholic basilicas: Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, the aforementioned Notre-Dame Basilica, St Patrick’s Basilica, and Saint Joseph’s Oratory. The Oratory is the largest church in Canada, with the second largest copper dome in the world, after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. .
The most popular sport is ice hockey. The professional hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens, is one of the Original Six teams of the National Hockey League (NHL), and boasts an NHL-record 24 Stanley Cup championships. The Canadiens’ most recent Stanley Cup victory came in 1993. They have major rivalries with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins both of which are also Original Six hockey teams. The Canadiens have played at the Bell Centre since 1996. Prior to that they played at the Montreal Forum. The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) play at Molson Stadium on the campus of McGill University for their regular-season games. Late season and playoff games are played at the much larger, enclosed Olympic Stadium, which also played host to the 2008 Grey Cup. The Alouettes have won the Grey Cup a total of 7 times, most recently in 2010. The McGill Redmen, Concordia Stingers, and Université de Montréal Carabins play in the CIS university football league. Montreal has a storied baseball history. The city was the home of the minor-league Montreal Royals of the International League until 1960. In 1946, Jackie Robinson broke the baseball colour barrier with the Royals in an emotionally difficult year; Robinson was forever grateful for the local fans’ fervent support. Major League Baseball came to town in the form of the Montreal Expos in 1969. They played their games at Jarry Park until moving into Olympic Stadium in 1977. After 36 years in Montreal, the team relocated to Washington, D.C. in 2005 and re-branded themselves as the Washington Nationals.
The Montreal Impact are the city’s professional soccer team. They play at a soccer-specific stadium called Saputo Stadium. They recently joined North America’s biggest soccer league, Major League Soccer in 2012. The Montreal games of the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup were held at Olympic Stadium, and the venue will also host Montreal games in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Montreal is the site of a high-profile auto racing event each year: the Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One (F1) racing. This race takes place on the famous Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame. In 2009, the race was dropped from the Formula One calendar, to the chagrin of some fans, but the Canadian Grand Prix returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2010. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve also hosted a round of the Champ Car World Series from 2002–2007, and was home to the NAPA Auto Parts 200, a NASCAR Nationwide Series race, and the Montréal 200, a Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series race. Uniprix Stadium, built in 1993 on the site of Jarry Park, is used for the Rogers Cup men’s and women’s tennis tournaments. The men’s tournament is a Masters 1000 event on the ATP Tour, and the women’s tournament is a Premier tournament on the WTA Tour. The men’s and women’s tournaments alternate between Montreal and Toronto every year. Montreal was the host of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. The stadium cost $1.5 billion; with interest that figure ballooned to nearly $3 billion, and was only paid off in December 2006. Montreal also hosted the first ever World Outgames in the summer of 2006, attracting over 16,000 participants engaged in 35 sporting activities. Montreal was the host city for the 17th unicycling world championship and convention (UNICON) in August 2014.
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