In anticipation of looking forward to fab weekend of racing action in Canada, here are 10 interesting, weird, quirky, totally non-specific, non car related facts that I discovered about Montreal:
- Montreal’s flag has five symbols. The cross represents Christian principles. The fleur-de-lis is for the French, the shamrock for the Irish, the thistle for the Scottish and the Lancastrian rose for the English.
- There are 4,445 licensed taxis in Montreal, compared to 25,200 licensed taxis (85,300 Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle licenses) in London (according to YouGov 2015).
- The Underground City is a climate controlled series of interconnected tunnels beneath Montreal that runs for over 32 Kilometres (20 miles). In the winter (where on average there are 12 days per year with a wind-chill below -30 C and one day per year with a wind-chill below -40 C) over 500,000 people use the tunnels on a daily basis. The tunnels connect shopping malls, museums, universities, hotels, banks, offices and seven metro stations.
- Montreal has the largest number of Titanic victims buried in its cemeteries, after Halifax.
- Assassin’s Creed, one of the most popular and profitable games ever, was made in Montreal.
- Mount Royal Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City.
- Benjamin Franklin, the American statesman, was sent to Montreal during the American Revolution to persuade the Canadians to join the American cause against the British. After a stay of just ten days, Franklin left convinced that it would be easier to buy Canada than to conquer it.
- Montreal is on the same latitude as Venice, Italy. (Don’t think Venice gets temperatures of -30 C in Winter though!!)
- Montreal’s population crossed the 1 million mark in 1950. According to the World Population Review website, in 2014 the population was 1.68 million, the urban agglomeration (which includes all municipalities on the island of Montreal) was 1.95 million and the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area had a population of 4.2 million. In comparison, London’s metropolitan area is somewhere between 12 and 18 million!
- The O.Noir restaurant in Montreal is restaurant where you can dine in complete darkness. There are no lights, candles or match sticks and you are guided and served by visually impaired people. (There is a restaurant similar in London called “Dans le Noir” – I quite fancy visiting it one day!)
And, as an added bonus fact, did you know that the U.S. city of Detroit was founded by soldiers and settlers from Montreal. In 1701, Detroit was founded by Lamonthe de Cadillac (yes, ironic since it later became the Motor City). The French expansion into what is today the American Mid-West continued into Illinois all the way down to New Orleans, Louisiana.