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Destination Montréal

ATypI was established in 1957 by Charles Peignot of France’s renowned Deberny & Peignot foundry. It’s fitting then, that for this major milestone, we’re headed to a grand location infused with French culture.

Montréal Street Corner

The largest city in Quebec and second-largest municipality in Canada, Montréal is also the second-largest primarily French-speaking city (Paris is first, naturellement). Montréal is a UNESCO “City of Design” and home to the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda). The thriving commercial and tourism hub weathers some frosty winters, but residents and visitors alike delight at the RÉSO Underground City (La Ville Souterraine), a massive subterranean network linking the Metro with thousands of shops, restaurants, theatres, universities, and cultural centers.

 

Did you know?

This island city was founded in 1642. Mount-Royal, a triple-peaked hilly park rising smack in the middle, was the inspiration for this city's name. Montréal was first known as a fur-trading capital. Most of the furs came from the beaver, a furry rodent which appears on Canadian coins and stamps. Today, Montréal is a cosmopolitan city, and home to the Cirque du Soleil and a thriving gaming industry which gave Assassin's Creed to the world.

Above all, Montréal is known for its zest for life: the joie de vivre that gives the city its unique character. Weather permitting, outdoor cafés line the streets from bohemian neighbourhoods such as the Plateau to rue Saint Denis and Crescent Street in the downtown core. Don’t miss the cinq à sept, which literally means “five to seven,” when after-work drinks are half-price.

 

st-laurent-napoléon

Gastronomy

According to Town & Country magazine, Montréal is the New Food Capital of North America. Montrealers love great wines and have adventurous tastebuds. Montréal is also a party city, with its trendy after-hours bars and lively indie music scene. In the mood for beer and fries? Take a walk along Boulevard Saint Laurent, where micro brasseries and poutine are king. Poutine is a gooey dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. Also worth mentioning are the city’s legendary bagels: Montréal boasts that its doughnuts are far superior to New York City’s doughy rivals.

 

Typography and Design

Dubbed "Canada’s cultural capital” by Monocle Magazine, Montréal holds a vast network of museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. Vernacular lettering and typography old and new are vibrantly present in the city’s fabric, from inscriptions on historical buildings to ghost ads to hand-painted storefronts. After a long decline, Montréal’s sign-painting scene is blossoming again, thanks to a young generation of lettering artists. Montréal boasts its own typography museum, its small collection containing many interesting pieces. University libraries, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and Quebec’s National Library hold rich, fully accessible printing collections.

 

Architecture

Besides its typical outdoor spiral staircases and pignons rooftops, you will find an eclectic mix of architectural styles: from Victorian brownstones in the west to Habitat 67 on the south side and the Olympic Village to the east. A must-visit is Vieux Montréal—a historic district dating back to la Nouvelle France’s colonial past. The city counts over one thousand church steeples of different denominations. Worth exploring are Montréal’s diverse neighbourhoods, each with their own flavour and features: Little Italy, Chinatown, the Gay Village, Little Burgundy, and the upscale Outremont, to name but a few.

 

Getting there

Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is located 20 km (12 miles) from Downtown Montréal. With service by approximately thirty passenger carriers,Trudeau offers nonstop flights to five continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. It is conveniently located just thirty minutes from downtown Montréal. Highway access provides an easy connection to the city center, whether by shuttle bus, taxi, or rental car. There are direct flights to Montréal from most European locations, as well as from major US cities and other long-distance destinations.

Visa requirements

Tourist visas may be required according to nationality. Please check: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas-all.asp

Transportation to and from the airport

Shuttle bus (10 $, 45 minutes), taxi (±50 $, 30 minutes), or independent car services.

Local transportation

Montréal is a safe yet vibrant city and is eminently accessible. It is small enough to be easy to navigate by a wide variety of public transport methods: bus, subway, taxi, bike, car sharing, or just walking. Its subway system, called the Métro, is a network covering most of the city and beyond. Underground pedestrian passageways link shopping centres and other institutions in the downtown core. Aboveground, public buses run frequently and taxis are always available. One-way fares on the bus or metro is $3.25. Bixi’s is Montreal’s internationally renowned bike-sharing programme, and pods are available throughout the city.

 

Language

Though French is the official language in the Province of Québec, most Quebecers speak fluent English and are comfortable communicating in either language. Representing the rich mix of Montréal’s eighty different cultural communities, a number of other languages are spoken as well, including Italian, Greek, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese.

 

Weather

Pack layers. The average temperature in September is 20°C (68°F), and can drop to 10°C overnight.


Taxes

Most goods and services in Quebec are subject to two taxes: a federal Goods and Services Tax of 5% (usually listed as TPS on receipts) and a provincial sales tax of 9.975% (TVQ on receipts). An accommodation tax of 3.5% per night of hotel stay is also charged.



Tipping

A tip of 15% is customarily left for waiters and waitresses at the table, calculated on the pre-tax total of your bill. You are free to leave more or less than a 15% tip if circumstances warrant. In bars, the tip tends to be offered as you pay for each drink or round. Taxi drivers also normally get a tip of around 10–15%.