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Montreal Information

Montreal Montreal, Quebec is the second largest city in Canada, after Toronto, and fifteenth largest in the North America. It gets its name from Mount Royal, pronounced Mont RĂ©al in middle French, a hill in the center of city. French is the city's official language, spoken at home by roughly 60 percent of the population. English is spoken in only 21 percent of homes, however, 56 percent of the population speaks both.

History
French explorer Samuel de Champlain founded a fur trading post on the Island of Montreal in 1611. The city of Montreal was incorporated in 1832. The completion of the Victoria Bridge helped the city to become a major rail hub, and it soon became the largest city in British North America and the cultural and economic leader as well.

This city's population surpassed one million in 1951. The opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959 allowed ships to bypass the city. This development caused a decline in the economic power the city once enjoyed. Toronto surpassed Montreal in this regard in the 1970's. In recent years, however, the city has experienced a revival of it economic and cultural importance thanks to improvements in infrastructure, among other things.

Montreal Today
Montreal is sometimes refered to as the cultural capital of Canada. In particular, it leads the way in Canada's French speaking film, television, radio and media production. While Montreal does share many of the cultural aspects of other North American cities, the blending of French and English cultures has created a unique identity as well. The city has a strong tradition of producing creative talent in the visual arts, music and theater and has produced many jazz and rock musicians, in particular.

One distinctive characteristic of Montreal is the festivals and other social and cultural events that are held during the summer. The city's largest festival, the Just for Laughs comedy festival, also happens to be the largest international comedy festival on Earth. Other popular festivals include the Montreal World Film Festival and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Place de Arts is the home of many of the festivals and is the center of classic art in the city. It is also home to one of the world's premier orchestras, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The city is also renowned for it church's. There are four Catholic basilicas in the city, including Saint Joseph's Oratory. The church is Canada's largest and has the second largest copper dome on Earth. Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome is the only one larger.

Canadians have a love affair with ice hockey, and Montreal is no different. The Montreal Canadians are one of the Original Six NHL franchises and own 24 Stanley Cup victories, the most of any of other team and second to the New York Yankees in all major sports.