The old port Montreal, located a stone’s throw away from old downtown Montreal besides the rue de la commune west street, in the present time, is a prime destination for meeting up and buzzing with fun activities.
The port was in use since 1642 when French colonists settled down and named the now Montreal Fort Ville-Marie. The French settlers named the port Vieux-Port de Montréal.
If then, the port was used for trade and military with small boats and ferries and was an essential point for Montreal transportation; over time, the port saw huge steamships.
Now the port offers pedal boats and cruise ships and is a big leisure center. Old port Montreal developed over the years, one building at a time, each bringing uniqueness, fun science, and technology.
Along with the famous must-see attractions, the Montreal recommended tours are on foot, discover unique places in each nook, and cranny.
Wear comfortable shoes, stroll along with the historic walking areas with cobblestone streets, browse or shop at all the little shops for hats, scarfs, bags, stumble across tiny specialty shops, jewelry vendors with an array of handmade polished metal jewelry, cute merchant shops, and take in the Montreal sights.
1. The old port of Montreal, Traveller resources
Old port Montreal Boat tours
From adventure-seeking Jets to Sightseeing, the old port of Montreal is a boating haven. You can choose to experience a jet ride for soaking wet or some splashes with a few twists and spins.
For a more peaceful getaway, plan for a brunch or dinner cruise or a whale and penguin watching cruise offered by Croisières AML Montréal Billetterie.
The experience is varied, and one can choose a simple picnic on a yacht by Le Bateau-Mouche. Saute-Moutons Jet boating is perfect for an adventure ride in the rapids of St Lawrence River. Or book yourself custom tours, where you design as your comfort.
Montreal clock tower or Tour de l’Horlodge Montreal is a memorial built from 1919 to 1922 for merchant navy soldiers lost during World war 1. In 1996, it was designated as a federal heritage building.
Due to the Beaux-Arts style, it is considered architecturally aesthetic. The mechanism and gears of the clock are continuously maintained to ensure it works.
The entrance to the clock tower is free to the public, and if you don’t mind the 192 stairs, one can enjoy a fantastic and impressive view of the old port and St Lawrence river.
The entrance to Plage de l’Horloge, or the Clock tower beach, is beside the clock tower. This urban manmade beach opened in 2012, has an admission fee, and gives you a beach atmosphere.
Equipped with sand, parasols, and misting stations, clock tower beach is perfect for enjoying the cool fresh air, watching the boats, with a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence River, the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, and Old Montréal. There are refreshment stalls here in case you are parched after a tan.
La Grande Roue De Montreal
La Grande Roue De Montreal is not just an ordinary Ferris wheel. The cabins are climate-controlled Gondolas that have cooling in summer and heating in winter and can seat up to 8 people at a time.
The wheel has 42 such Gondolas and is the most popular tourist attraction in Montreal’s old port. Being the tallest Ferris wheel in Canada, the view at the top is simply magnificent. Bistro de la Grande Roue nearby is a good spot for refreshments.
This two Storey domed public market is a delightful place for souvenirs, highly unique and special, with amazing stylish antique pieces. The building is of neoclassical design and was constructed from 1844 to 1847.
Though the Bonsecours Market, in old port Montreal, served as a regional market at the time, it also accommodated the main municipal, a police station, and for a brief period, The parliament in 1849.
By 1878, the city hall and police station has relocated. A major fire broke out in 1948, forcing it to close down the market.
Over the years, this age-old market in old Montreal has been renovated and restored to its historic, elegant craftsmanship. In 1984, Bonsecours Market was publicized as a National Historic Site of Canada.
The concert halls used for military purposes in the 1800s are now available for rent; they serve multipurpose activities, from weddings to exhibitions to business conventions or even press conferences.
SOS Labyrinthe Vieux-Port de Montréal
This is a 2 KM indoor treasure hunt located in more than 100-year-old Hanger 16 of Old port Montreal. The theme changes every month, and so does the routes, obstacles, and traps. A super fun experience for family and kids!
Voiles en Voiles
A family-friendly, pirate-themed aerial adventure park just across the Ferris wheel is a favorite among kids and adults alike—a fantastic place for old port Montreal fun or to conduct a kid’s birthday party.
There are customized aerial and all board courses from basic to expert, Climbing walls, inflatable games, carousels, a 3D immersive movie theatre, and a fully supervised and safe archery arena.
A thrilling experience with a spectacular view, this urban zip line course shoots over Bonsecours Island. It is one of the old port Montreal outdoor activities. You are strapped safely to the line and feel like a superhero flying across!
Bota Bota, spa-sur-l’eau
After an adventurous day in the old port of Montreal, spas are a nerve-winding blessing. Bota-Bota is unique, with an unlikely location, on an anchored ship, with a spectacular view of old Montreal and the Lawrence river.
This therapeutic spa has hot pools, saunas, steam rooms, a floating terrace, and a restaurant. The food here is incredible, as per the old Montreal reviews. Feel rejuvenated with everything from massage therapy to body treatments and pedicures.
2. Old Port Montreal Museums
Montreal Science Center
An engaging and interactive science museum with all kinds of exhibits. An innovative and mind-blowing place for kids to have hands-on experience with science, experiment, and invention.
The center has an Imax as well, the 3D movies of rainforests and sea lions, making this a big leisure center for old port Montreal nature.
Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History of Pointe-à-Callière Museum
The Building Montréal exhibition transports visitors back in time to relive significant periods in the city’s history, from the 17th to the 19th centuries, under French and British regimes.
It gives a great educational experience. The Museum’s workshop, which is unique to Pointe-à-Callière, allows to participate in a simulated archaeological excavation, first on the site, then in the chief archaeologist’s tent and the laboratory space.
Since its foundation, the Museum has hosted over thirty temporary exhibitions on local and international archaeology, history and heritage, culture and artistic creation, multiculturalism, and its permanent exhibitions.
In various parts of archaeology and history, educational and outreach programs and cultural events are accessible to school groups and the general public. Musical performances, drama, demonstrations, lectures, debates, and participation in Montreal, Quebec, cross-Canada, and international events are all held at the Museum.
A nearby popular tourist attraction, Habitat 67 with revolutionary architecture, was built in 1967 for the expo 67 by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie.
This housing colony gives the impression of ruins when viewed from a distance, and each module is made from concrete boxes.
Though Habitat 67 is not exactly in Old port, check it out while in the area. The marvelous construction is private property but worth sightseeing walking.
3. The old port of Montreal events
Old port Montreal is a specter of events; every season and festival is celebrated authentically. This port has a busy list of events all year long, from old port Montreal classes for yoga, fireworks Saturday, live bands, and outdoor dance events.
4. The old port of Montreal food
There are refreshments and food stalls offered by beautiful cafes and Bistros in every corner of the old port. For a fine dining experience, there are many best nearby restaurants in downtown Montreal.
But then, if you feel like grabbing a bite, there are food trucks with a variety of choices in the old port itself.
Final Thought—An apt celebration of a historic port
A great place to chill and relax, the Ferris wheel and the lake, and the lit city make it a place for great night pictures.
The old port of Montreal is owned and operated by Canada Lands Company or La Société immobilière du Canada. Canada lands company has transformed the old port into one commercial center, fit for shore excursions or even a pleasant early evening walk.
The old port in Montreal has very limited parking. For short excursions, a cab ride is much cheaper. On the riverfront, there is a big pay parking area.
If you are lucky and found street parking, check the area carefully, as some are reserved for residents. Using biking trails would be more enjoyable and stress-free, or the train stations in old Montreal are close.