Montreal’s economy has always depended on its port. First established in the earliest days of the Ville-Marie colony in the 1600s, the port’s busiest era was between the years 1896 to 1930. Today’s Old Port is a much-loved reminder of Montreal’s maritime heyday and is a popular place for locals and visitors to unwind.
The Old Port’s expansive stretch of waterfront is filled with history and tall tales. Join a 90-minute walking tour or download the self-guided interactive tour, “5 generations, one Port.” Or simply rent a quadricycle, bicycle, Segway or rollerblades and enjoy the bike paths and promenades.
Stop by the antique Clock Tower on Victoria Pier. This tan tower has served as a timepiece, lighthouse and sailors’ memorial since its construction in 1922. Climb the 192 steps to the top of the tower for some of the best views of the St. Lawrence River and the Montreal skyline.
During the summer months, relax on the banks of the St. Lawrence River at Clock Tower Beach. For a small entrance fee, visitors can enjoy the Adirondack chairs, misting stations, a bar and fine sand of this lovely urban beach. Rent a paddleboat to see gorgeous views of the city from the water.
The first two locks of the Lachine Canal lie in the Old Port. Until its construction in 1825, the Lachine Rapids forced incoming shipping to be hauled overland to reach Montreal. Spend some time here, and you might get to witness the fascinating process of a ship passing through the lock.
For visitors with children, the Science Museum on King Edward Pier is a must. This museum features an IMAX theater and interactive exhibits covering technology, science and media. In keeping with the museum’s location, one exhibit is dedicated to sea-cargo technology.
Bus stops line the Rue de la Commune, just a short walk away from the Old Port. The closest metro stops are several blocks away. Parking is available for a fee at the garage on Rue Champ de Mars, three blocks west of the Old Port.