Montreal Tower Observatory
Olympic Park, Montreal, Canada
www.rio.gouv.qc.ca/pub/visit… - 514 252 4737
Montreal Tower Observatory Reviews
Great views of the city Apr 04, 2008
Part of the Olympic Park, the Montreal Tower Observatory is conjoined with the Biodome and overlooks the Olympic stadium and the Olympic Village.
Apparently, the Montreal Tower is the highest inclined tower in the world, standing at 175m (574 ft) and at a (quite steep!) 45 degree angle. The construction of this tower began with the Montreal Olympic games in 1976, but the whole thing took about 10 years to complete. It was opened for public view in 1987, and is one of Montreal's biggest tourist attractions.
The tower is a member of the "World Federation of Great Towers", along with shoo-in members such as the CN Tower in neighboring Toronto. The downstairs tourist hall actually has an exhibit showcasing all the other members, describing each one. Unfortunately we didn't get to see this exhibit, as the whole complex was closing, but it is available for viewing downstairs free of charge during regular hours.
You have to take a funicular (really just a see-through elevator) up to the top. Apparently there are 3 different observatories, but we only saw one. The funicular was my favorite part of the tower experience; it travels on an angle, and you can take some really nice videos or pictures through the clear glass windows.
One downside that I found was that the funicular only runs about every 20 minutes or so. This means that, unlike, say, the Empire State building or the CN Tower, there is no frequent high speed elevator. So if you want to leave the tower right after the funicular has just departed, you have to wait about another half hour or so until it returns. It's not a serious inconvenience, but if it were really crowded and there were no places to sit, I can see how it could be kind of annoying. Speaking of seating, there are not enough benches!
The cost is $15.00 Canadian for regular (adult) admission. Students, seniors, and children get tickets at a lower rate. Not outlandishly expensive, and you get to enjoy a great 360 degree view of the city. Obviously, make sure you choose to go on a clear day, when you might even be able to see the Laurentides (Laurentian Mountains) far in the distance. Otherwise, like any observatory tower, it's not worth your while (or your money).
There are several different panoramic photos of the city, posted all around the observatory, upon which are marked the important landmarks of Montreal that are viewable from the different vistas of various parts of the tower. These include St. Joseph's Observatory and the Cross of Montreal among many more.
Of course, there is a gift shop with pretty extensive selection of knick knacks. Nothing in the shop is exactly cheap, but I've definitely seen higher prices in US gift shops. In particular, they have a very nice selection of postcards. There is also a gift shop upstairs in the observatory itself, but that was closed when we visited.
To get there, you just take the Metro to either the Pie-IX or Viau station. Viau is closer to the actual tower and the Biodome, but Pie-IX is closer to the stadium, park, and olympic village.
The tower, the funicular, and the observatory are unfortunately all closed from the beginning of January through mid-February.
All in all, I would say that the Montreal Tower Observatory is worth your while. Although this isn't the most "exciting" attraction in Montreal (for something more interactive, visit the Biodome downstairs or the botanical gardens right across the way), it is definitely a necessary one; you can see the huge expanse of the city, the river, the mountains, it's a good experience for someone to view the city in its entirety.
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