Regional Portraits

Montréal (06)


Geography and administration

The region of Montréal is encircled by the Rivière des Prairies and the Fleuve Saint-Laurent and corresponds to the island of Montréal. It is surrounded by the Laval, Laurentides, Lanaudière and Montérégie regions.

In spite of its small size, the region of Montréal is the most highly populated and urbanized in Québec.

The region Montréal (city), often referred to as Québec’s metropolis. Montréal is a multicultural city that has been marked over the decades by a number of waves of immigration.

In addition Montréal (city), the region is made up of 15 towns and cities that are not part of a regional county municipality (French acronym MRC).

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Agriculture, fisheries and food

Montréal (island) constitutes the most urbanized and densely populated space in Québec. It has good agricultural potential owing to its climatic and topographical advantages. It is home to a handful of farming enterprises focusing on greenhouse cultivation and fresh vegetable and specialty production.

Montréal’s food processing sector includes numerous companies devoted in particular to meat, poultry, fish, seafood and dairy processing, the manufacturing of juices and cold drinks, flour milling, bread and pastry baking, and beer and alcoholic beverage manufacturing.

The region has attracted subsidiaries of large multinational food corporations, including Kraft, Sucre Lantic, GMCR Canada (Van Houtte), Parmalat, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola. These companies, which are often highly specialized or found in several sub-sectors at once, share the stage with large-scale Québec companies, such as Saputo and Agropur.

Trade in food products is a major industry in Montréal as well. The restaurant and food service sectors generate significant revenue and a good many jobs. The region is also home to numerous neighborhood markets, agrotourist routes, and farm stands.

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Economy and employment

Montréal is Québec’s most populous area and its most important industrial centre. It is at the heart of a metropolitan community that includes nearly half of Québec’s population and more than half of its economic activity. It is also the province’s most important centre for teaching and research. Moreover, young people and immigrants are strongly attracted to the region, thus contributing to its growth and diversity and making it one of the youngest regions in Québec.

Most of Montréal’s economic activity is produced by industries in the tertiary (services) sector. This major sector is very diversified in the region, and its growth prospects are good. Jobs are almost equally divided among services to producers (including professional and technical services), consumer services (including accommodation and food services), and government services (including health, social services and education).

Although it has fewer workers, the manufacturing sector and other goods-producing industries have maintained a certain importance, especially due to the strong economic activity and benefits that they generate.

The combination of a highly educated population, a dynamic services sector, and a manufacturing base that has managed to carve out a place for itself in a highly competitive global context provides an advantage to a number of companies from the information and communications technology, animation and visual effects, aerospace, and life sciences sectors. These industries generate a strong demand for a highly qualified workforce.

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Tourism, recreation and culture

Montréal is a modern region with a solid worldwide reputation. It is famous for its quality of life, its openness, its cultural life, its cosmopolitan character, and its vitality. Every year students from Québec and elsewhere are welcomed by a number of its renowned universities.

Montréal attracts numerous international organizations and a large influx of tourists. Major events such as the Festival international de jazz, Juste pour rire (comedy festival), les FrancoFolies (French-language music festival) and the Formula One Grand Prix take place there each and every year. Montréal’s influential culture also enjoys great international prestige.

Montréal’s architectural heritage is characterized by contrasts between old and new. In the old town (Vieux-Montréal) and old port (Vieux-Port), museums and historical sites bearing witness to the early days and evolution of New France are a stone’s throw away from hotels and restaurants with a resolutely modern perspective.

Concerning recreational and tourist activities, natural parks such as Parc du Mont-Royal are ideal for activities such as walking, sliding, skating and cross-country skiing. A dozen or so marinas provide recreational boating enthusiasts with access to river waters.

The most frequently visited tourist sites are Saint-Joseph’s Oratory, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal (fine arts museum), Notre-Dame Basilica, and Pointe-à-Callière (the city’s birthplace). Other main tourist attractions include the Biodôme, the Casino de Montréal, the Jardin botanique (botanical gardens), La Ronde (amusement park) and Parc olympique (Olympic site), including Stade olympique (Olympic stadium).

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