10 things every Montrealer should know

by Martin Morin

You may live in Montreal, but how well do you know your city? Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz. Whether you ace it or not, you'll hopefully learn a little more about this island city that we love so much!

10 things every Montrealer should know

1. What city is Montreal twinned with?

We have many memoranda of understanding (Lyon, Milan, and Hanoi, for example) but are officially twinned with one city. Which one?

  1. Paris
  2. Canberra
  3. Dublin
  4. Shanghai

Answer: Since 1985, Montreal has been twinned with Shanghai, after the then mayors Jean Drapeau and Wang Daohan signed an agreement that promotes the exchange of students and experts in several fields.

2. What was the name of the original village on the island that is now Montreal?

When Jacques Cartier arrived, a village already existed on the island. What was its name?

  1. Ville-Marie
  2. Hochelaga
  3. Stadaconé
  4. Donnacona

Answer: Hochelaga, a fortified village inhabited by the Iroquois people. The island was renamed Montreal because of the presence of the mountain (no, it was never a volcano) which, at the time, was named Mons Realis.

3. How many plant species are there in the Botanical Garden?

Founded in 1931, the Montreal Botanical Garden is one of the largest in the world. How many plant species are found there?

  1. more than 500
  2. more than 2,000
  3. more than 15,000
  4. more than 22,000

Answer: There are more than 22,000 plant species in the garden.

4. When the landmark Orange Julep built?

All Montrealers recognize the enormous ball that “decorates” the very dismal Décarie Expressway. In what year was this iconic structure built?

  1. 1932
  2. 1945
  3. 1966
  4. 1971

Answer: The restaurant opened in 1928 on Sherbrooke Street. Legend has it that the family of founder Hermas Gibeau thought of settling into a new look – a smaller round sphere (not the one they’re in today) – in 1945. It was in 1966, when the Décarie Boulevard was widened into a highway, that Orange Julep built and moved into the large orange ball that we know today.

5. How many restaurants are there per capita in Montreal?

Montreal, a city where we like to eat, is a global leader in terms of restaurants per capita. How many restaurants are there for every 10,000 Montrealers?

  1. around 6
  2. around 15
  3. around 26
  4. around 40

Answer: Montreal has about 26 restaurants per 10,000 persons. The choice is huge, but that partly explains why it is very difficult to succeed. Few survive the first three years in this hyper saturated market.

6. How well do you know the architect Frederick Law Olmsted ?

The American architect Frederick Law Olmsted created the development plans for Mount Royal Park. What did he also create?

  1. Central Park in New York
  2. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco
  3. Niagara Reservation Park in Niagara Falls
  4. The design of the Chicago University campus

Answer: All of the above! The work of this man, who died in 1903 at the age of 82, is still appreciated and greatly respected today.

7. Which market was the former training ground for an Irish lacrosse team?

At the beginning of the 20th century, hockey was obviously not the national sport. Lacrosse, a Native American sport, was very popular. In fact, at the time, an Irish team was playing on land that has now become a public market in Montreal. Where?

  1. Atwater Market
  2. Jean-Talon Market
  3. Maisonneuve Market
  4. St-Jacques Market

Answer: Jean-Talon Market The team was called ... Shamrock. Yes, like the market's fishmonger of the same name. Catherine Ocelot, cartoonist, mentions it, in fact, in her comic strips that can be seen here as part of the “Rues de Montréal en BD” (“Comics on Montreal Streets”) project.

8. What is Montreal's oldest building?

What is the oldest building in Montreal that is still standing?

  1. Château Ramezay
  2. LeBer-Le Moyne House
  3. La Maison du Pressoir
  4. Bonsecours Market

Answer: It is the LeBer-Le Moyne House, which is today part of the Lachine Museum. The building, built in 1669 by Charles Lemoyne and Jacques LeBer, was originally used for fur trading. It was in 1946 that the borough of Lachine acquired it, to transform the building into a museum two years later. In 2002, it was designated a national historic site by the federal government.

9. What is Montreal's oldest business?

Here are four names that have always been part of Montreal's landscape. Can you identify the oldest?

  1. The Gazette
  2. Molson
  3. La Baie (The Bay)
  4. Bank of Montreal

Answer: (La Baie) The Bay, formerly known as the Hudson’s Bay Company, was founded in London in 1670 to facilitate the fur trade in the “new continent.” It was more than a century later that the English-language daily newspaper, The Gazette, was established in 1778, as a French newspaper named, in French, La Gazette du commerce et littéraire de Montréal (The Montreal Commerce & Literary Gazette)? The Molson family opened its tavern in 1786 and it was in 1817 that the first branch of the Bank of Montreal was established. 

10. What is Canada's largest church?

The largest church in Canada is located in Montreal. Which one is it?

  1. Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Mond (Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral)
  2. Notre-Dame Basilica
  3. Saint Joseph’s Oratory
  4. It's a trick question, the largest Canadian church is not in Montreal

Answer:Yes, it’s in Montreal, and it’s Saint Joseph's Oratory. We owe this emblematic building of Montreal to Alfred Bessette and to the devotion of all the believers who came to ask him to intercede on their behalf with Saint Joseph. Who is Alfred Bessette? You probably know him better as Brother André. The place was originally a very modest chapel, before the Archbishopric of Montreal built a crypt there in 1917, and the building later became the huge church that we know today. The place still welcomes about 2 million visitors a year.

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