Vieux-Port de Montréal

Park in Old Montréal

Image by Walter Bibikow Getty Images

Montréal's Old Port has morphed into a park and fun zone paralleling the mighty St Lawrence River for 2.5km and punctuated by four grand quais. Locals and visitors alike come here for strolling, cycling and in-line skating. Cruise boats, ferries, jet boats and speedboats all depart for tours from various docks. In winter, you can cut a fine figure on an outdoor ice-skating rink.

Historical relics include the striking white Clock Tower at the northern end of Quai Jacques-Cartier. Built in 1922 to honor sailors who died in WWI, it affords commanding views of the river and city.

A perennial family favorite is the Centre des Sciences de Montréal. There are plenty of buttons to push, knobs to pull and games to play as you make your way through the high-tech exhibition halls. The permanent exhibit – Mission Gaia – seeks solutions to environmental or social disasters, while idTV allows you to write your own news story with a virtual editor and report it live.

The center also includes an IMAX cinema showing vivid nature and science films in 2D or 3D.