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help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

Seattle, Washington
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help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

Hello,

We (myself, wife and 2 kids aged 6 & 10) will spend around 2.5 days in Montreal from 8/26/-8/28. We are staying in an apartment on Mount Royal Avenue East (between Rue Cartier & Avenue Papineau) on "The Plateau". We will have a car during our stay. We are also open to taking public transportation to our destinations if it makes more sense and/or is more convenient:

Here is the plan:

8/26 (Tu) : We want to visit Old Montreal, Old Port of Montreal, Rue St. Paul, Notre-Dame Basilica & downtown. Since there is a Mont Royal Metro Station close to where I live (I think it's closed by - is it true?), my plan is to take the subway & explore these places with a all day pass (I think Metro sells an all day pass - should I get it,or just buy tickets?). Is this the best way to explore these places? Or should I drive? Does grouping these places in 1 day make sense? And Does Metro sell a family day pass like Toronto?

8/27: we would like to visit: Mount Royal (including the Oratoire St. Joseph), and Parc Olympics, I plan to drive to these places - is driving a better option for these two destinations? Are parking reasonable? And does grouping these two places in one day make sense?

8/28: We have until noon or 1pm in Montreal. If time permit, I don't mind checking out Biosphere or Cirque De Soleil headquarter if they allow visitor to tour. Is there such a CDS tour? if so, is it worth it? I plan to leave Montreal around noon or 1pm to drive to Toronto. Hopefully we can arrive in Toronto around 6/7pm. Is this a good time to drive over to Toronto? or should I leave earlier/later?

Lastly, can someone let me know about "the Plateau" neighborhood? is there anything I should check out in or near "the Plateau"? restaurants? touristy spots?

Thanks for your help!!

SE Ontario
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1. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

Leaving at 1pm for Toronto is good timing. You will arrive at the tail end of the rush hour ... coming into the city at that time you will see heavy traffic going in the opposite direction, and may experience some as you enter the city, but by and large the timing is good. Be advised that traffic in the downtown core of the city will be difficult at any time, due to ongoing construction work. As in Montreal, you will not need a car in the city, and you are best advised to return the vehicle to a rental agency (if it is a rental), or park it and use public transit during your stay.

Edited: 02 August 2014, 11:13
Montreal
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2. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

no, the Mont-Royal metro station is not very close to where you are staying. You need to walk approximately 15-20 minutes (not sure how fast you walk with kids in tow). You can take the 97 bus to/from the metro station.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

thank you for the information.

Does it mean I should take public transportation to the Mount Royal & Parc Olympics? I am not sure if you define these two places as they are "in Montreal" too.

If I were to buy the all the pass for Metro (which I assume is the subway), can I use the pass to hop on the buses? or will it be a separate charge for buses?

Does my grouping of destinations make sense?

Thanks again!

SE Ontario
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4. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

The pass works on both the Metro (subway) and buses. If you've not already done so, look at the STM website - it includes a trip planner.

http://www.stm.info/en

You can drive or take transit to those locations - whichever you think is easier for your group. But realize that driving in Montreal can be frustrating and parking is expensive (as in all major cities).

Using google maps is a great resource for planning that you should learn to use - whether it be by car, transit, walking or cycling. See this link:

http://goo.gl/maps/UOLyo

A - is the approximate location of your apartment

B - is St. Joseph's Oratory (note that Mont Royal Parc is in between or en route)

C - is Parc Olympic.

Montreal, Canada
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for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
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5. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

First you will need to use the noun métro and not subway in Montréal. Even anglophones will probably direct you to a Subway franchise if you ask! lol

Second there are 1 day / 24 hours and 3 days passes and single tickets. Indeed it will be better if you plan to go to Old Montréal to use the bus and métro, and your ticket (good for 90 minutes) will serve as transfer from bus to métro and vice-versa. Since you seems to plan on only going to Old Montréal back and forth to the Plateau then you can buy tickets directly on the bus no 97 on Mont-Royal Avenue and then at the métro station (Place d'Armes or Champ-de-Mars) for the return. Just be aware that drivers don't give change and that we don't have any $ 1 or 2 bills in Canada nowadays so you will need to have a lot of coins to pay on the bus. If you plan on traveling more during that first day day then a day pass will come in handy except that you will have to walk to the métro station, which is a good 15 minutes from your living quarters, to buy them. 3 days options couls also be considered then and will be sold only at the métro station.

As per the Mount Royal lookouts you will have just to drive all the way on Mont-Royal and then Camilien-Houde Road. More or less the same with the bus no 97 and then no 11. As per Saint-Joseph Oratory it is much more impressive on the outside than inside and I really don't see the point of bringing the kids there.

As per the Botanical Garden, Biodome, Planetarium they are all in a tight cluster in the east end. You will have to pay for the parking but then can walk from one attraction to another and you will be able to buy combo tickets It will also be very easily done by métro by taking the Papineau line and then the métro till Pie IX or Viau station. So you can plan all of your second day there

Cirque du Soleil allows tours only one day per year, in September, so it will not be possible to visit. But there is the whole Cité des Arts du Cirque in another very tight cluster. That includes Cirque headquarters, the circus school and La Tohu, the only permanent circus building in North-America. La Tohu offers tours of it's building and also includes a tour of the recuperation center and the former dump site since all of the Cité is built over a covered dump.

The Plateau is mostly residential with stores and restaurants on it's namesake street. So not so much to visit around but you will see a lot of the Montréal vernacular style of lodging with outdoor staircases all around but the best alignment will be found on Rue Fabre between Rachel and Mont-Royal which will be just a stone throw from your lodging which, by the way must be on Papineau or on Cartier as those streets are parallel to each other.

Montreal
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6. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

Kids are free on the buses and metro in the summer

stm.info/en/…family-outings

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

this is awesome information. Thanks much!

I have a silly question: If kids are free on Metro, how do the kids go pass the "gates" inside Metro tunnels? Do I carry them on my arms, or are there special gates that the kids can go through since they will not have a ticket pass?

Montreal
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8. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

little kids can go under the turnstile. Or, there are gates by the attendant booth that open quite wide where you and a bigger child could comfortably get through together.

atlanta
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9. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

If you use the Metro, please note that the automatic ticket machines only take credit cards with a chip in them or Canadian money.

atlanta
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10. Re: help on trip planning & how to get around in Montreal

By the way, there is a Biodome and Biosphere (on island across from old town). We didn't go to the latter but the Biodome (at Olympic Park) was EXTREMELY crowded with very long lines. It was not enjoyable for that reason.