A Feast for the Senses Awaits Visitors to Historic, Forward-Thinking Montreal.

Montréal skyline from the Parc Jean-Drapeau; © Tourisme Montréal

The selection of Montreal as the host city for United 2016 is sure to please lovers of art, history, architecture, shopping and fine dining. The city offers a wealth of all of these things, and members of the Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA), International Association of Elevator Consultants (IAEC) and the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) and their guests will have the opportunity to gain a good feel for the city through both activities planned by NAEC and on their own.

For some visitors, the opportunity to explore will begin as soon as they debark their planes. The recently expanded Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, itself an architectural jewel located approximately 20 min. from downtown, offers a taste of what’s to come. A 65,620-sq.-ft. expansion boasts 8,611 sq. ft. of retail
(including a long list of local restaurants), three large art installations and four display cases showcasing the city’s major art and history museums. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent infusing the airport with a Montreal flavor.

Montreal is a land of natural beauty, located on a 499-km2 island in the St. Lawrence River with the lushly landscaped Mont Royal Park serving as a backdrop. Approximately 80 different kinds of food are served in 6,000 restaurants with a variety of price points. Montreal is a city known for excellent French cuisine, and, if you opt for a French restaurant, chances are you can try out your French on the staff. More than half of Montreal’s residents speak French, making it the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris.

Montreal’s Metro serves areas unreachable by foot, and the weather in September is typically lovely, with high temperatures in the low 70s (Fahrenheit) and lows in the 50s. The city’s downtown and various neighborhoods are considered safe, clean and pedestrian friendly.

United will be held at the Palais des Congrès de Montréal convention center in the Quartier International district downtown. While its most striking feature is the nearly 400 brilliantly colored and transparent glass panels that make up its façade, the facility is an expression of Montreal itself, integrating three centuries of history that includes:

  • The façade of the Rogers and King Foundry, built in 1885
  • The façade of Fire Station No. 20, constructed by Louis-Roch Montbriand in 1908
  • The Art Deco Tramways Building, built in 1928 and preserved in its entirety
  • The Palais de Congrès’ original building, designed in the 1970s by architect Victor Prus
  • The 2000-2002 expansion overseen by architect Mario Saia, which includes remarkable features such as The Lipstick Forest art installation by landscape architect Claude Cormier; it consists of 52 hot-pink concrete “trees” near the venue’s Hall Place Riopelle.

Host hotels are the Le Westin Montreal Downtown, which opens onto the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal; InterContinental Montreal, connected to the shopping destination Underground City, and the Hyatt Regency, which boasts direct underground access to the Palais des Congrès, Chinatown, Old Montreal, Place des Arts and the metro.
United organizers plan optional activities to provide visitors an opportunity to get to know the city. For sporting types, there will be golf on enchanting Ile Bizard Island located minutes from downtown.

A walk/run is planned that will take participants through Old Montreal and along the promenade overlooking the St. Lawrence River at the Old Port. A bus/walking tour will give visitors insight into Montreal’s history, architecture and attractions, including Underground City, Place des Festivals, Le Plateau-Mont Royal boroughs and Old Montreal, which has one of the largest concentrations of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century buildings in North America. An extended stop will allow participants the time to take in the grandeur of Notre-Dame Basilica, built over several decades in the 1800s in a dramatic and colorful Gothic Revival style. Instead of religious scenes, its intricate stained-glass panels depict scenes from the city’s religious history.

So whether one is dining, shopping or taking in the artistic and historic sights, a visit to Montreal is sure to result in lasting memories.

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Elevator World Associate Editor

Elevator World | September 2016 Cover