Montreal Serviced Apartments
Although Montreal's history goes back long before Jacques Cartier "discovered" the island in 1535, the intrepid explorer can certainly lay claim to being the first European to see it from the top of Mount Royal, the city's centrally located mountain park. The buzzing colony, known as Nouvelle-France, became a major jumping-off point for fur traders, explorers and settlers who wanted to venture further inland towards the Great Lakes and down into the Mississippi Valley.
Later, under British rule, Montreal became an important port (the largest inland port in the world) as well as Canada's largest city and commercial hub. It was home to Canada's first banks, mercantile houses and fur-trading companies, all of which centered around the rue Saint-Jacques (St James Street to the English speakers) in what is now Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal). You can get a good look at buildings still standing from this era, including the Bank of Montreal.
Shortly after World War II, Montreal began a slow, steady decline in influence and power as the Canadian economy looked southward to the United States and away from a weakening Great Britain. Montreal managed to hold its head high through the 1960s and 1970s thanks to its tenacious mayor, Jean Drapeau. A man with grandiose visions, Drapeau orchestrated the building of the city's subway system (the Metro) in 1966, snagged the prestigious Expo 67 international exhibition, and then sold the city as the site for the even more illustrious 1976 Summer Olympics.
While Montreal may have relinquished the honor of being Canada's largest and most economically influential metropolis, it still relishes its role as the nation's most spirited and international city, in addition to being the French gastronomic center of North America and a place where historical strands join to create a potent mix of pride, art and culture.