Wikimania 2012/Bids/Montreal

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Wikimania 2012 candidate cities:
Washington, D.C. (Q&A) - Stellenbosch (Q&A)


Downtown Montréal by night

Location[edit]

About Montréal[edit]

A view of downtown Montréal viewed from the Mont-Royal
The Olympic Stadium, primary site of the 1976 Summer Olympic Games

Montreal (French: Montréal) (pronounced [mɔ̃ʁeˈal] in French, /ˌmʌntriˈɑːl/ in English) is the second-largest city in Canada and the largest city in the province of Québec. Montréal was incorporated as a city in 1832 and, by 1860, became the largest city in British North America and the undisputed economic and cultural centre of Canada.

Montréal is easy to get to from most major destinations: over 200 U.S. and international flights touch down at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport each day, arriving from over 70 international and 25 Canadian cities. Montréal's compact, safe, clean downtown is a short ride from the airport.

Montréal, at the intersection of Anglophone and Francophone cultures, is ideally situated to hold proceedings in both French and English. The inhabitants of Montréal are predominantly bilingual (French and English), especially in the service industry, and resources to hold the entire conference in both languages are readily available. Within Greater Montréal, with a population of 3.6 million, 53% of the inhabitants are bilingual and 20% use a third language in addition to French and English.

About Québec[edit]

Québec ([kəˈbɛk] or [kwɨˈbɛk] in English; [keˈbɛk] in French) is a province in east-central Canada. As the site of the original settlements of New France, Québec has retained a strong European and French flavour and tradition. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking identity, and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level.

About Canada[edit]

Canada (pronounced /ˈkænədə/) occupies most of northern North America, extending from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west and northward into the Arctic Ocean. The total population is about 32 million. It is the world's second largest country by total area and its common border with the United States to the south and northwest is the longest in the world. Canada is the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Accommodation[edit]

For the budget traveler, Montreal offers youth hostels with dorms or private rooms as well as budget bed and breakfasts. The densest collection of budget hotels are in the Latin Quarter, in the streets East of Berri-UQAM metro and the long distance bus station. The Old Town has a couple of quality hostels, which are more expensive. Montreal is home to four major universities and numerous smaller schools. Students routinely sublet apartments in the summer months.

Mid-range options include Downtown chain hotels to "gites", guest houses that range from a single room in an apartment to elegant historic homes with three to five rooms. Gites are usually found in the more residential neighborhoods like the Plateau.

On the upper-end, four and five-star luxury and boutique hotels are mostly concentrated in the Old City and Downtown.

Some hotels and University residences have offered group rates for Wikimania. All rooms are for two occupants, and can be shared (we will provide registration options for shared rooms). All hotels are less than two minutes' walk from the Palais des Congres (and connected through an underground passageway), and provide common rooms. The residences of the Université du Québec à Montréal are about 10 minutes' walk from the convention center.

All venues provide free Internet access for participants and a meeting area available 24/7 for late chats and collaboration.

Hotel group rates
Hotel Stars Rooms Available Price per night
Hôtel InterContinental Montréal 4 200 CAD 189 (approx. USD 178 / € 129 / £ 114)
Holiday Inn Select Montréal Centre-Ville 3 200 CAD 159 (approx. USD 150 / € 109 / £ 96)
Embassy Suites Montréal 4 150 CAD 189 (approx. USD 178 / € 129 / £ 114)
Hôtel Dauphin Montréal Downtown 3 50 CAD 149 (approx. USD 141 / € 102 / £ 90)
Le Westin Montréal 4 50 CAD 199 (approx. USD 188 / € 136 / £ 120)
UQAM residences 200 CAD 75 (approx. USD 71 / € 52 / £ 45)

Right now, we are in further discussion with these and other accommodations for the possibility of savings by provided "all-inclusive" deals at registration time allowing us to commit to firmer blocs of rooms. For instance, one current hypothesis would cover four nights at a four star hotel with breakfasts and registration to Wikimania (that includes one dinner and three lunches) for CAD 400 (approx. USD 376 / € 272 / £ 240) in double occupancy or CAD 760 (approx. USD 715 / € 517 / £ 456) for single.

Transportation[edit]

Getting to Montréal[edit]

Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport [3] (IATA: YUL) is about half an hour west of the city center on highway 20. The airport is served by all major Canadian and U.S. airlines and is a major hub for Air Canada, Air Transat, and WestJet. There are multiple daily trans-Atlantic flights to and from (amongst others) London, Amsterdam, Paris, Geneva, Zurich, Athens, Frankfurt, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, Munich, Moscow, Cairo, and Casablanca.

Amtrak also provides a direct link from New York City to Gare Centrale on the Adirondack. There are departures for Montréal daily and departures to New York daily.

Selected return airfares to Montreal
Prices are quoted for the equivalent last week of July 2010 and may differ for 2012.
From Airfare Airline Stopover Travel time
New York CAD 376 (approx. USD 354 / € 256 / £ 226) Delta Air Lines - 1h53
Los Angeles CAD 585 (approx. USD 550 / € 398 / £ 351) Delta Air Lines Minneapolis 7h40
Toronto CAD 180 (approx. USD 170 / € 123 / £ 108) WestJet - 1h10
Vancouver CAD 957 (approx. USD 900 / € 651 / £ 575) WestJet - 4h39
Mexico CAD 650 (approx. USD 611 / € 443 / £ 390) Mexicana - 7h41
Rio de Janeiro CAD 1,275 (approx. USD 1,199 / € 868 / £ 765) Continental Airlines Houston 19h45
London CAD 985 (approx. USD 926 / € 670 / £ 591) Air Canada - 7h20
Paris CAD 1,010 (approx. USD 950 / € 687 / £ 606) CorsairFly - 7h45
Brussels CAD 978 (approx. USD 920 / € 666 / £ 587) Air Transat - 7h40
Geneva CAD 1,011 (approx. USD 951 / € 688 / £ 607) British Airways London 10h40
Berlin CAD 1,262 (approx. USD 1,187 / € 859 / £ 758) British Airways London 11h30
Athens CAD 1,216 (approx. USD 1,144 / € 827 / £ 730) SwissAir Zurich 15h30
Moscow CAD 1,278 (approx. USD 1,202 / € 870 / £ 767) Air France Paris 13h15
Tokyo CAD 2,134 (approx. USD 2,006 / € 1,452 / £ 1,281) Air Canada Vancouver 15h41
Hong Kong CAD 2,040 (approx. USD 1,918 / € 1,388 / £ 1,224) Air Canada Toronto 17h35
Sydney CAD 2,513 (approx. USD 2,363 / € 1,709 / £ 1,508) American Airlines Los Angeles 21h05

There are a number of ways to get to downtown Montreal from the airport: taxi for a fixed price of CAD 38 (approx. USD 36 / € 26 / £ 23); Aérobus shuttle for CAD 16 (approx. USD 16 / € 11 / £ 10), VIA Rail AirConnect from the airport terminal to downtown by shuttle and train for CAD 11 (approx. USD 11 / € 8 / £ 7), AMT commuter train from Dorval Station for CAD 4.25 (approx. USD 4 / € 3 / £ 3), and public bus number 747 (STM) for CAD 2.75 (approx. USD 3 / € 2 / £ 2).

The Montreal region is also served by Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, New York, on the U.S. side of the border, about one hour away by car. Domestic U.S. flights to Plattsburgh can be cheaper than international flights to Canada.

Notice to American travelers[edit]

To enter Canada, you are required to provide a valid ID and proof of citizenship. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative requires that all travelers going back to the United States provide official ID's such as passport, enhanced driver's license, passport card, or military card.

Visa Information[edit]

Residents from most countries of Europe can visit Canada without a visa. Residents of other countries can apply for a visitor's visa, which takes a month to process in most cases, at the cost of CAD 75 (approx. USD 71 / € 52 / £ 45). The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website details the process and the requirements.

Local travel[edit]

The city of Montréal is well-covered by an extensive network of public transportation and roads. Public transportation in Montréal is covered by the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), which operates the buses and subway trains. For those who live in the suburbs, a greater organization called the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) manages and operates overland trains. There is a train link between the Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport and one train station w:Lucien-L'Allier (AMT).

Bixi public rental bicycles are available throughout the city.

For those who prefer to have a bicycle, Montreal has a public bike rental system (BIXI) with extremely reasonable prices, which will benefit those who prefer to avoid rush hour public transit.

Montréal is connected to Toronto and the eastern provinces by Via Rail and Coach Canada. Amtrak provides the link between New York City and Montréal by train, which arrives at the Central Station.

The tickets for the subway are sold through automated kiosks or by person. You can get a OPUS RFID card for simplified public transit, or a tourist pass for 3–4 days.

The subway is open from 5:30 AM daily and closes between 12:35AM to 01:30 AM.

Tourism[edit]

Currency[edit]

The currency used in Montréal is the Canadian Dollar. There are currency changing offices everywhere, but some stores even allow payment in US dollars.

Cost of living[edit]

Montreal has a wide variety of hotel prices that changes on depending on the events that are scheduled. The Formula One race kicks up the hotel prices in early June and starts the touristic season. It lasts until late august. Prices vary from 49$ up to 800$ and more. The most expensive rooms are at the W hotel, Saint-James, Saint-Paul and Queen Elizabeth. The most famous room in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel is room 1742 which is rated at 799$ for a single night only. It's the famous John Lennon Suite and that's where he did his bed in for peace.

Climate[edit]

Montreal's summer are warm, and at times humid, with average high temperatures of 24 - 26°C (75 - 79°F) and lows of 13 - 15°C (55 - 60°F).

Entertainment[edit]

The Montréal Casino

Montréal has a Six Flags amusement park situated on Île Sainte-Hélène called La Ronde, the second-largest amusement park in Canada. It is accessible via car or public transportation (bus routes 167 or 169). On the same island there is a water park, and a casino, if you'd like to try your luck. Montréal also has a well-developed tourist industry and multicultural population, if you'd like to walk, see the sights, or eat!

Montréal has a diverse entertainment scene. There are large venues such as Centre Bell or at the Olympic Stadium. Home to a vibrant night scene, Montréal is always alive at all times of day. The Olympic Stadium for the 1976 Olympics is still open to the public. People can ride on the gondola to go up the inclined tower and admire the view (not free).

Montréal is the host of the Festival De Jazz (Jazz Festival), Francofolies (French song festival), Juste Pour Rire (Just For Laughs) and a large number of happenings all year round; including the International des Feux Loto-Québec, the largest fireworks competition of the world taking place while Wikimania would be held.

Personal Safety[edit]

Montreal shares Canada's low violent crime rates, making it relatively safe.

Museums[edit]

Montréal is home to many world-class museums such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts which hosts a large collection of precious works of art and a large Napoleonic collection that was given by Ben Weider. It's also the home of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal which hosts contemporary art exhibitions. For the science lovers, there's the Montreal Science Centre which is home to many science themed exhibitions and an Imax theatre. The Montreal Biosphère is home to a museum that is dedicated to water and the environment. In the Olympic complex, the former velodrome at the Olympic Stadium. The Montreal Biodome is home to many animals from all around the world. It's also home to a permanent collection of the Montreal Jazz Festival's collection of arts at the Galerie Lounge TD in the Maison du Jazz Rio Tinto Alcan. In 2010, The Galerie Lounge TD features the works of world-renowned Montreal native w:Leonard Cohen's art collection.

Food[edit]

Montréal is home to some world-famous restaurants. Schwartz's is famous for its smoked meat. Poutine is also offered pretty much everywhere with different flavors. One thing that makes Montreal unique with New York City is the Montreal-style bagel. Wilensky's is also a must stop for their famous sandwiches. Montréal is home to many type of restaurants. The concept are often varied and unique. Some of them offers local cuisine or regional plates with a modern twist. World cuisine is found almost everywhere.

Happenings[edit]

July in Montréal is home to many famous festivals certain to attract your attention, as well as a multitude of smaller activities and expositions.

Every summer, the core of downtown plays host to the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal when more that two million people join for more than 650 concerts played over eleven days and nights, including 370 concerts staged outdoors and free of charge.

The Just for Laughs festival, the world's largest and most prestigious comedy event presents gala performances, theatre, club shows and outdoor free performances. With comedians, street performers and performances in French and English through most of the month of July.

Explosive Saturday nights are guaranteed throughout summer as the Montréal International Fireworks Competition lights up the skies with pyrotechnicians from all over the world countries display their daring talent to compete in the most prestigious event of its kind.

Team[edit]

At this time, the team is small but dedicated. In addition to the members below, organisation is handled by the Comité Wikimania Montréal a nonprofit corporation setup for the express purpose of organizing the bid and conference. While it has a bank account set up, it has made no expense to date.

The board is currently comprised of volunteer professionals with nonprofit experience and strong community ties. The plan is to make a public membership drive and elections if Montreal wins the bid; and the strong core of volunteers so created would lead naturally towards a Québec Chapter of Wikimedia.

Nick Areas of responsibility Skills Languages Experience
Coren Coordination, Venue
Nonprofit president
CS instructor and system administrator fr-N, en-4, es-2, de-1, ja-1 Public speaking, AV setups
Ernest Boucher Accounting, finances
Nonprofit treasurer/secretary
Accountant, Tax law, Insurance fr-N, en-3, es-2, ru-1 Nonprofit board experience

Support[edit]

Holding Wikimania in Montréal has the support of the City of Montréal, the Montreal Tourism Board, the Governement of Québec and the Federal Governement.

References[edit]