Although this neighborhood, perfectly packed into a few easily navigable streets, has no sites per se, it's a nice area for lunch or for shopping for quirky knickknacks. The main thoroughfare, Rue de la Gauchetière, between Blvd St-Laurent and Rue Jeanne-Mance, is enlivened with Taiwanese bubble-tea parlors, Hong Kong–style bakeries and Vietnamese soup restaurants. The public square, Place Sun-Yat-Sen, attracts teens, crowds of elderly Chinese and the occasional gaggle of Falun Gong practitioners.

Newspapers first recognised this as a quartier chinois in 1902. It started as a mostly Cantonese community of people who had worked on building the Canadian Pacific Railway, but who had faced racism and fled British Columbia. Expo '67 helped the area become a tourist attraction, which continues to the present day with a revamping of the temple at Place Sun-Yat-Sen and the painting of a mural on Blvd René-Lévesque Ouest at the corner with Blvd Saint-Laurent.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Old Montréal attractions

1. Place Sun-Yat-Sen

0.01 MILES

Dedicated to Sun Yat Sen, the ideological father of modern China, this small square was opened in 1988. The space was later refashioned by eight craftsmen…

2. Palais des Congrès


Entering the hall of this convention center with its facade of popsicle-colored panes is akin to strolling through a kaleidoscope. Day brings out the…

3. Bank of Montreal

0.22 MILES

Modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, the grand colonnaded edifice of Canada’s oldest chartered bank, built in 1847, dominates the north side of Place d…

4. Courthouses

0.23 MILES

Along the south side of Rue Notre-Dame Est near Place Jacques-Cartier, three courthouses stand bunched together. The most fetching is the neoclassical…

6. Place d'Armes

0.25 MILES

This open square is framed by some of the finest buildings in Old Montréal, including its oldest bank, first skyscraper and Basilique Notre-Dame. The…

7. Hôtel de Ville

0.29 MILES

Montréal’s handsome City Hall was built between 1872 and 1878, then rebuilt after a fire in 1926. Its rigid square-based dome and nod to the baroque makes…

8. Basilique Notre-Dame

0.29 MILES

Montréal's famous landmark, Notre Dame Basilica, is a 19th-century Gothic Revival masterpiece with spectacular craftsmanship – a visually pleasing, if…