The neighborhood of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is one of the best spots to go if you're craving green space, plus it has one of Montréal's best markets. In fact, it's worth the trip on the métro’s Green Line just to see the four institutions that make up Montréal’s Space for Life, an innovative natural science museum complex—the first in the world to link humans with nature. It includes the Jardin Botanique (Botanical Garden); the Insectarium, which houses the world's largest collection of bugs; the Biodôme, a great place to experience different ecosystems under one roof; and the stunning Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. Parc Maisonneuve is a lovely green area, and an ideal place for a stroll or a picnic, and don’t miss the Stade Olympique (Olympic Stadium), which played host to the 1976 Summer Olympics; the leaning tower that supports the stadium's roof dominates the skyline here and provides a great viewpoint. The rest of the area is largely working-class residential, but there are some good restaurants and little shops along rue Ontario Est.
Until 1918, when it was annexed by Montréal, the east-end district of Maisonneuve was a city unto itself, a booming, prosperous industrial center full of factories making everything from shoes to cheese. The neighborhood was also packed with houses for the almost entirely French-Canadian workforce who kept the whole machine humming.
Maisonneuve was also the site of one of Canada's earliest experiments in urban planning. The Dufresne brothers, a pair of prosperous shoe manufacturers, built a series of grand civic buildings along rue Morgan—many of which still stand—including a theater, public baths, and a bustling market, as well as Parc Maisonneuve. All this was supposed to make working-class life more bearable, but World War I put an end to the brothers' plans and Maisonneuve became part of Montréal, twinned with the east-end district of Hochelaga.
POINTS OF INTEREST
World War I and the Depression killed early 20th-century plans to turn this industrial center into a model city with…Learn More >
Montrealers finished paying for their Olympic stadium (dubbed the "Big O") in the spring of 2006—30 years after the games…Learn More >
The world's tallest tilting structure—take that, Pisa!—is the 890-foot tower that was supposed to hold the Stade Olympique's retractable roof.…Learn More >