Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Montréal, Canada


Montréal, the second most populated city in Canada, has an old-world charm that embraces both history and modern culture. As the ICANN community gathers for the Annual General Meeting, read on to learn more about this culturally diverse city hosting our work this week.

1. It’s the birthplace of what’s generally thought to be the first commercial search engine. In 1989, three computer science students at Montréal’s McGill University created a searchable database they named Archie. The tools used in building Archie created a framework for many of the search engines we use today.

2. Montréal has many culinary specialties, but the signature dish is usually considered to be poutine, which is deep fried potatoes covered in gravy and cheese curds. In 2018, Condé Nast Traveler called Montréal “the undisputed poutine capital of the world.” Though poutine is typically a snack or an appetizer, a new world record for the largest poutine was recently set on 3 August 2019 in Warwick, Québec, weighing in at 3,034 kilograms (about 6,689 pounds).

3. Montréal is a major center for video game development. Montréal’s home province of Québec houses a third of all studios in Canada, including gaming giants Ubisoft, Warner, Motive Studios (EA), Eidos, and Square Enix.  Quebec also has a vibrant visual effects and animation community. Local visual effects house Rodeo FX has won acclaim for its work on “Game of Thrones” and movies like “The Amazing Spiderman” and “Blade Runner 2049”.

4. “I feel at home when I’m in Montréal – in a way that I don’t feel anywhere else,” Canadian singer, songwriter, and poet Leonard Cohen said during an interview in 2006. Born in Quebec, Cohen started reading his poetry in Montréal bars. He is most famous for his soaring anthem “Hallelujah.”

5. The world’s first indoor ice hockey game was held on 3 March 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink in downtown Montréal. The game between two squads of nine players ended early with a 2-1 score after recreational skaters became irritated that the game was going on for too long and stormed the rink.

6. The city is a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) research. Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have invested in Montréal’s business and academic communities over the past few years, attracted by the city’s reputation for groundbreaking research in AI.

7. In the early 1980s, a group of street performers formed a troupe that would grow into one of the world’s largest theatre producers, Cirque du Soleil. The Montréal-based circus arts company says more than 180 million people in 450 cities over 60 countries have seen a Cirque du Soleil show.

8. Québec produces more than 70 percent of the world’s maple syrup. In fact, maple syrup is such an important asset to Canada’s economy that producers in Québec created a global strategic syrup reserve of the commodity in the event of a shortage.

9. The Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montréal served as the setting for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous bed-in for peace in 1969. “Give Peace a Chance” was recorded in the hotel room during the bed-in on 1 June 1969. Each bed-in, derived from a form of protest known as a sit-in, was meant to be a nonviolent war protest. The hotel celebrated the 50th anniversary of the event in May 2019.

10. Montréal is home to many architectural gems. The Notre Dame of Montréal Basilica, known for its magnificent interior, was built in 1672. Bonsecours Market, located on the oldest street in the city, is a two-story domed public market that has been in business for more than 100 years. A more modern structure, the Montréal Tower, has become an architectural icon since its construction as part of the 1976 Montréal Olympics.





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