Montreal. 10th ed.


320 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
ISBN 978-2-89464-797-4
DDC 917.14'28045




Reviewed by John R. Abbott

John Abbott is a professor of history at Laurentian University’s Algoma University College. He is the co-author of The Border at Sault Ste Marie and The History of Fort St. Joseph.


After so many editions of this Ulysses travel guide, readers expect superb organization and integration of text and illustrations. Given the place of publication, they anticipate an additional measure of intimacy with and insight into the life and times of this storied city.


On both counts this guide meets and often exceeds such expectations. Maps inside the front cover reveal the city’s core and locate its primary attractions, which are sorted into three ranks for tours. Inside the back cover is a map of the Metro (subway system) and another displaying the street numbering system for orientation. Page 5 lists the maps of twenty-three designated districts and cross-references pages for the relevant attractions, accommodations, and restaurants. Another map outlines Montreal’s fortifications as they existed in about 1750, just before the fall of New France. Intimate insights into the city’s life and times are afforded by twenty-one sidebars offering thumbnail sketches on such topics as the famous Montreal Jazz Festival, artist Jean-Paul Riopelle, the Jewish communities, and a frank account of what it is like to grow up English in Montreal. The introductory essay, a “Portrait” of Montreal, is by itself worth the price of the book. No reader should skip this concise, candid, and judicious explanation of Montreal’s unique personality.


Beyond this, of course, the guide contains the necessary practical information about getting there, getting around, what to do if you require money or medical care, and superb descriptions of points of interest in the various tours. These descriptions, which constitute the staple of the guide, are generously larded with little “Post-its” marked “Heads Up!” They are calculated to provoke impulsive decisions, to alter the orders of the day. “Heads Up! Ready for a lunch break? For delicious classic bistro-style fare in an artistic setting, head to Café du Nouveau Monde (see p. 215), on the ground floor of the theatre of the same name.” Such small adventures season the traveller’s day, and are often the real grist of recollection. Highly recommended.


Guy, Marie-Josée, et al., “Montreal. 10th ed.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024,