The annual trip in early summer, across the Atlantic to the city of Montréal is one of the highlights on the calendar for drivers, teams and media. The knowledgeable and enthusiastic French-Canadians fill Montréal’s bars and restaurants, from Crescent Street to the Old Town, providing a warm welcome as Formula 1 fever grips the city.



To mark Canada’s centenary in 1967, a site in the state of Quebec was chosen as a focal point for the celebrations. The Universal and International Exhibition (known as Expo 67) came to Montréal in a park in the centre of the St. Lawrence seaway. Linked to the city via the Jacques Cartier Bridge, the park was expanded through land reclamation to create a new island — Île Notre-Dame.



The giant dome of the American pavilion remains a famous landmark on the island along with the rowing lake, carved out behind the back of the Formula 1 pits to host events for the 1976 Olympic Games. Two years later, the first Canadian Grand Prix was hosted on the Île Notre-Dame with the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve soon named after the local hero.



During the 1980s, the rowing basin became the home of the famous mechanics’ raft race whereby the F1 teams would construct makeshift buoyant structures to frantically paddle from the paddock to the bank on the other side. The raft race was resurrected a few years ago — but has once again been consigned to the depths of the St Lawrence river.



This week, Montréal will be hosting its 43rd edition of the Canadian Grand Prix and it remains a popular place to visit as race-going fans can also enjoy plenty of other activities away from the event itself. Whether you jump on the Metro to visit Saputo Stadium to watch CF Montréal compete in the MLS or the Bell Centre to watch the Montreal Canadiens ice hockey team, if you love sports, the city has plenty of bars the length of rue Sainte-Catherine to keep you entertained.



Or there’s Vieux-Montréal, the old town, featuring the beautiful Notre-Dame Basilica church, with outside eateries on the Place Jacques-Cartier. However, if you’re seeking a more physical pursuit, then the Mount Royal — which gives the city its name — offers breathtaking views at the summit and features lakes and a green space of over 200 hectares of natural beauty for hiking or cycling.



Head back down the hill and when you reach the waters edge, you’ve arrived at the Old Port. Here there are a host of activities to partake in — river cruises, rides on the observation wheel, or the zip wire — you might even see a performance of Cirque du Soleil on the quay, as the international headquarters for the performers is located in Montréal. The thriving arts and movie scene in Canada is another reason why the Grand Prix regularly attracts stars from the small and big screen, including one of our investors, Ryan Reynolds. The actor considers this his home race, as he was born in Vancouver in the west of the country.