Travel to Montreal
Served by highways, transcontinental trains and buses, and two international airports Montreal is easily accessible from any part of the United States and Europe.
Pierre Trudeau Airport accepts most of the world's major airlines, nearly 50 in all. (Mirabel Airport, farther from the city, accepts only airfreight and some charter flights.) Most visitors fly into Pierre Trudeau from other parts of North America on Air Canada (tel. 888/247-2262), American (tel. 800/433-7300), Continental (tel. 800/231-0856), Delta (tel. 800/221-1212), or US Airways (tel. 800/432-9768). In the United States, Air Canada flies out of New York (Newark and LaGuardia), Miami, Tampa, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Other carriers that serve Montreal include Air France (tel. 800/847-1106) and British Airways (tel. 800/243-6822). Regional airlines, such as Air Atlantic, American Eagle, and Inter-Canadian, also fly into the city.
For VIA Rail information, call tel. 888/VIA-RAIL (842-7245) or visit http://www.viarail.ca.
Montreal is a major terminus on Canada's VIA Rail network, with its station, Gare Centrale, at 935 rue de la Gauchetiere Ouest (tel. 514/871-1331). The city is served by comfortable VIA Rail trains -- some equipped with dining cars, sleeping cars, and cellphones -- from other cities in Canada. There is scheduled service to Quebec City via Trois-Rivieres, and to and from Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, and points west. At this writing, Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; http://www.amtrak.com) has one train a day to Montreal from Washington and New York that makes intermediate stops. Called the Adirondack, it is a no-frills, coach-only affair, and very slow, but its scenic route passes along the eastern shore of the Hudson River and west of Lake Champlain. The Adirondack takes about 10 1/2 hours from New York if all goes well, but delays aren't unusual.
Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth (Le Reine Elizabeth) hotel is located directly above the train station in Montreal, and less expensive lodging is only a short cab or Metro ride away.
Montreal's main bus terminal is the Terminus Voyageur, 505 bd. de Maisonneuve Est (tel. 514/842-2281). The Voyageur company operates buses between here and all parts of Quebec, with frequent runs through the Cantons-de-l'Est to Sherbrooke, to the various villages in the Laurentians, and to Quebec City. Morning, noon, early afternoon, and midnight buses cover the distance between Toronto and Montreal in less than 7 hours. From Boston or New York, there is daily bus service to Montreal on Greyhound (tel. 800/229-9424 or 514/843-8495; http://www.greyhound.com) and between New York and Montreal on Adirondack Trailways (tel. 800/858-8555). The trip from Boston takes about 8 hours; from New York City, it takes 9 hours. Both companies have departures from New York City five times daily.
Highway distances and speed limits are given in kilometers (km) in Canada. The speed limit on the autoroutes (limited-access highways) is 100km per hour (62 mph), although enforcement is lax. In the unlikely event you are stopped, there is a stiff penalty for not wearing seatbelts. And if you possess a radar detector, it can be confiscated, even if it isn't connected. Passengers must buckle up in the backseat as well as in the driver's and passenger's seats up front.
Members of the American Automobile Association (AAA) should bring along their membership cards. The 24-hour hot line for emergency service provided by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), which is affiliated with AAA, is tel. 514/861-7575 in Montreal and tel. 418/624-0708 in Quebec City. Headquarters for CAA-Quebec is 444 rue Bouvier, Quebec City, PQ G2J 1E3.
For information on road conditions in and around Quebec City from November through mid-April, there is a 24-hour hot line (tel. 418/643-6830). For the same information in Montreal, call tel. 514/284-2363; outside Montreal, call tel. 514/636-3248.
Interstate 87 runs due north from New York City to link up with Canada's Autoroute 15 at the border, and the entire 644km (400-mile) journey is on expressways. Likewise, from Boston, I-93 north joins I-89 just south of Concord, New Hampshire. At White River Junction there is a choice between continuing on I-89 to Lake Champlain, crossing the lake by roads and bridges to join I-87 and Canada Autoroute 15 north, or picking up I-91 at White River Junction to go due north toward Sherbrooke, Quebec. At the border, I-91 becomes Canada Route 55 and joins Canada Route 10 west through Estrie to Montreal. The Trans-Canada Highway, which connects both ends of the country, runs right through Montreal. From Boston to Montreal is about 515km (320 miles); from Toronto, 540km (350 miles); from Ottawa, 190km (120 miles).