Montréal, you have my heart
A striking union of European charm and North American attitude, Montréal seduces visitors with a harmonious pairing of the historic and the new, from exquisite architecture to fine dining.
Because of its position in the St. Lawrence River, the island of Montréal was originally a diplomatic trading area for regional First Nations: the Atikamekw to the north, the Anishinaabe (Algonquin) to the west and the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, to the south. Today, the First Nation communities most closely associated with Montréal are the Kanien’kehá:ka—who named the island Tiotia:ke—in the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory on the South Shore and the Kanehsatà:ke Lands on the North Shore, near Oka.
This island gem on the magnificent St. Lawrence River in time saw travellers from far and wide land on its shores before becoming a bustling port city. The French colonists were the first to arrive, followed by the English, the Scottish and the Irish. Later, myriad peoples from around the world settled the lush swaths stretching up to Mount Royal.
Today, 120 distinct ethnic communities are represented in its population of more than 3.6 million, making Montréal a veritable mosaic of cultures and traditions. The world’s second largest francophone city after Paris, it merits the moniker ‘international’ city, a cosmopolitan centre with proud roots in the past that enthusiastically embraces the future. A world leader in such industries as aeronautics, information technology, and biotechnology, the city has also made significant innovations in medicine, multimedia, the arts and urban planning. Its avant-garde spirit has not gone unnoticed: in 2006, Montréal was named a UNESCO City of Design. Day and night, Montréal pulses with activity. Each season, it is host to an array of events, exhibitions and gatherings for the thousands of culture, nature and thrill seekers who come here to enjoy its diverse offerings. While Montréal’s masterful chefs continue to elevate its reputation as a gourmet destination, creative artists and artisans draw admirers in droves to the haute couture ateliers, arts galleries and charming boutiques that line the city streets.
Getting around the city on a day-to-day basis is hassle-free. Its streets, vast parks, underground pedestrian network, and métro system are safe and easy to navigate. The best way to get to know the city is on foot, through any one of its many colourful and vibrant neighbourhoods which overflow with markets, boutiques, restaurants and local cafés—diverse expressions of the inhabitants’ joie de vivre. Montrealers are naturally charming and quite often multilingual. Their spontaneity and ability to welcome visitors have propelled Montréal to its current position of international host city, where some of the world’s most exciting events are held annually - including and especially the McGill International Palliative Care Congress.
FORMALITIES FOR ENTERING CANADA
AVE : Since 2016, all travelers who take a flight to enter Canadian territory must be in possession of an Electronic Travel Authorization (AVE). Its price is 7 dollars per person and the process is simple and fast. To do this, simply fill out the official form on the Canadian immigration website, the application is approved in a few minutes: Request your eTA.
PASSPORT : To enter Canada, an optical and/or biometric passport is not compulsory for citizens of France, Belgium or Switzerland. Your passport must be valid for at least one day longer than your intended stay in Canada.
The Canadian dollar is the current currency of Canada ($ or $CA). €1 is approximately $1.35.
TAXES AND TIPS
The prices displayed in Canada, both for services and for material goods, do not include taxes by default. So you'll have to do some mental math! There is a federal tax of 5%, applicable everywhere in Canada that you have to think about adding to the displayed price. Then there are provincial taxes of 10% in Quebec that you have to add also.
To this must be added the tip in restaurants, not included in the bill. Even if they are not compulsory, not leaving any is very badly perceived! Indeed, tourism and catering employees are largely paid in this way. Even if it is up to the customer to appreciate the quality of the service, it is customary in Canada to leave a minimum of 15% of the amount excluding taxes. You can tip in cash or by credit card, indicating a percentage or an amount to the waiter or taxi driver.
HOW TO PAY
Once you arrive in Canada, you have several alternatives. The first is to withdraw money from your bank account at an ATM or any bank. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted everywhere.
You can also go to an exchange office to change your euros into Canadian dollars. There are many exchange offices in the main cities, in banks as well as in airports.
If you have opted to rent a vehicle, the main driver must present a valid driver's license and a credit card in his name.
Regarding the credit card:
Visa / Mastercard: the mention "CREDIT" must be noted on the front of the bank card, otherwise you will not be able to rent the vehicle.
American Express: these cards are considered as credit cards, therefore accepted without problem in Canada.
The mention "DEBIT" or "CREDIT" is only present on bank cards issued since June 9, 2016.
If your card does not have the mention "CREDIT", please contact your bank in order to issue a new card.
COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS AT CONGRESS
The province of Québec has entered a new wave of COVID-19 this fall, as key indicators indicate a rise in COVID-19 in the community: https://www.inspq.qc.ca/covid-19/donnees/eaux-usees
People are being urged to wear masks indoors to protect themselves and others, and be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Congress organizers are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all participants, a vast majority of whom work on a daily basis with vulnerable people who are in extremely precarious health situations.
As such, all attendees are asked to wear a mask (e.g. surgical, KN95, N95) covering their nose and mouth inside the Convention Centre, except when eating or drinking. We will have masks available at the venue, but would appreciate it if you bring your own supply.
If you test positive or experience COVID-like symptoms while attending the Congress, please isolate and immediately advise the organizers at: firstname.lastname@example.org