Getting ready to experience Montréal at Plant Biology 2018? Check out this guide by Montréal native and current NYC resident Rebecca Barr, guest writer for Plant Editors/Peridot Scientific Communications!

Why visit Montréal?

If there is ever a time to be glad to head northward, mid-July is definitely it -- you’ll find more temperate weather in Montréal during the Plant Biology 2018 meeting than you would in most US cities, with an average high of 79°F (26°C) and average low of 63°F (17°C). But that’s certainly not all the city has to offer.

Do you love plants?

·   Montréal has a beautiful botanic garden known for its cultural gardens, including a First Nations Garden. It anchors the Montréal Space for Life complex, accessible by Metro and also including the Insectarium, the ecosystem-based Biodome, and a planetarium. (If you’re bringing your family, exploring the complex, along with the Montréal Tower Observatory at the nearby Olympic Stadium -- site of the 1976 Summer Games -- makes for a great day of activities for kids.)

·   Soak up the natural beauty of La Fontaine Park, or go for a gentle hike in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Mount Royal Park.

Do you love food and wine?

·   Check out Montréal’s thriving food scene, from fine dining to humbler local specialties, such as poutine, the distinctive local variant of the bagel (best consumed fresh), and perhaps the best croissants in North America.

·   Sample local flavors at the year-round Jean Talon Market, one of the oldest public markets in Montréal, or indulge in a cheese crawl by visiting nearby fromageries.

·   If you’re feeling carnivorous, seek out a smoked-meat sandwich, Montréal’s answer to the pastrami sandwich, at Reuben’s Deli or Dunn’s Famous

A touch of history

·   The Palais des Congrès convention center is on the edge of Old Montréal. If you only have a little time for sightseeing, start in Place d’Armes, next to the Palais, and walk down Rue St-Sulpice, turn right onto Rue St-Paul, and then head back up Rue St-Francois-Xavier or Rue St-Paul to the Palais.

·   Check out Notre-Dame Basilica or the Pointe-à-Callière Museum of History and Architecture.

·   If you have a full day, consider this self-guided walking tour.

Farther afield

·   Should you have a gap in your schedule Sunday, check out the Tam-Tams drumming and dancing happenings in Mount Royal Park, accessible from Avenue du Parc near Rue Rachel on foot or by the no. 80 bus.

·   If you need to move, get out of the city for a hike in the nearby Monteregian Hills or Laurentian Mountains.

·   For lovers of Vitis vinifera, the climate of the region of Quebec around Montréal has produced a unique wine industry with varieties adapted to cold cultivation and the unusual production style of ice wines -- you can explore these by heading out to the wine country for a half or full day of wine tasting.

 

Getting around

Montréal is a highly walkable city with an extensive public transportation network (Metrobus, and commuter rail) as well as North America’s oldest bicycle-sharing service, Bixi. Taxi stands are also abundant near downtown hotels. The Palais des Congrès is centrally located between the commercial downtown and Old Montréal, near Place-d’Armes station on the orange Metro line and half a mile from Place-des-Arts on the green line. Just keep in mind one geographic quirk: Montréal map “north” is actually close to geographic west, so follow your map rather than the sun.

For updates on Plant Biology 2018, join the Plantae Network for ASPB conferences, follow #plantbio18 on Twitter, and keep an eye on the program at https://plantbiology.aspb.org/. And don’t forget: Register now!

What are your favorite tips and things to see in Montréal?