| Montreal is Canada's second largest city. It is also the world's second largest French-speaking city.
However, English is also widely spoken here. Montreal is a truly cosmopolitan city and is home to tens of thousands of immigrants from all over the world, especially from
both ex-British and ex-French colonies. One can find neighborhoods where immigrants of a particular origin concentrate, the most famous among those are Montreal's Chinatown,
Little Italy, and Little Lebanon, etc. Another uniqueness of the city stems from the fact that no other cities in North America has as much European flavor as Montreal,
thanks to the city's geographical location and its historical background.
Both its culture and its architecture is a mixture of both European and North American styles. In Old Montreal, one can find some of the oldest buildings built in
the New World, buildings that are reminiscent of those found in European cities. In downtown Montreal, one sees skyscrapers characteristic of all big cities in the world.
However, in its side streets, Montreal boasts something that is unique to the city - houses painted with bright colors with outdoor stairs. No city in North America,
perhaps with the exception of San Francisco, can one see such unique urban architectural style.
What distinguishes Montreal from Toronto, its closest rival to the claim of Canada's cultural capital, is the existence of not only mainstream and conventional
art and cultural institutions, but also a flourishing scene of underground art and music. Montreal is also a city of festivals. The internationally-renowned International Jazz
Festival marks the beginning of a stream of festivals celebrated in the city, including the International Firework Festival, Just for Laugh, International Film Festival,
Francophonie, etc. Recommended places to visit: Old Montreal, Mont-Royal hill, the "Underground City", the Olympic Stadium, the Botanical Garden, the Biodome, the Casino,
"La Ronde" Amusement Park, Chinatown, and, of course, the Gay Village for gay visiters.