On Top of Montreal

Anyone that has been to Montreal knows of the iconic view of the city from the Mont Royal Lookout, but many people aren’t aware of another location that offers 360° views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Atop one of the tallest buildings in Montreal, 1 Place Ville Marie, is Au Sommet, an observation deck featuring an exhibition, full-service restaurant, and outdoor patio.

 

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View from Mont Royal, November 2016. 1 Place Ville Marie can be seen in the top left corner of the photo.

This past weekend was my third trip to Montreal in the past 12 months (is it obvious that I absolutely love it there?). Before Ryan and I set out on the five hour drive north we decided to look into a few different things to fill our days. Mont Royal is obviously not a treacherous hike, but considering we aren’t the most athletically inclined we did not want to walk to the top for a third time. Ryan was looking up places to view the city from when he stumbled upon the website for Au Sommet.

You’re probably thinking at this point “How much is this going to cost?” and I totally understand because that was the first thing I thought too. Trips up skyscrapers like the Empire State Building can cost upwards of $50, but Au Sommet was extremely affordable. One adult ticket only costs 19 CAD (15 USD). Obviously this price is heftier than the free view from Mont Royal, but TRUST ME, it is totally worth it.

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View out of the northeast side of 1 Place Ville Marie. Points of interest from left to right: Olympic Stadium, St. Lawrence River, Pont Jacques-Cartier, Parc Jean-Drapeau, and the Old Port.

Once we had reached the 46th floor observation deck we were blown away by the views out of the floor to ceiling windows. Along the windows guests can read about some of the main attractions that can be seen from each viewpoint. I was amazed by how easy it was to see almost every landmark in the city, including the Olympic Stadium, Notre-Dame Basilica, the Montreal Casino, and St. Joseph’s Oratory.

One of the best parts about all of this was that we were two of approximately 20 people in the massive observation deck. This was ideal because we could move at our own pace and occupy our time looking out a particular window for as long as we wanted. This greatly contrasts the massive crowds that congest the Mont Royal Lookout, taking away from some of the magic of the view.

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Outdoor terrace on the 44th floor

On the 45th floor there was an exhibition that elaborated on some of the historical and cultural aspects of Montreal through interactive touch screens and videos. This space was also not crowded and easy to navigate. There were multiple screens and readings for different categories, such as nightlife, sports, food, and urban development. This provided for an individualized experience for each guest as they made their way through the exhibition. The views were not as striking on this floor because the windows were smaller, but it was fascinating learning about these different aspects of Montreal.

On the 44th floor was the restaurant, bar, and outdoor terrace. The ticket to the top of the building was only $15, but the restaurant was a bit pricey. If you just wish to eat at the restaurant you can do so without purchasing a ticket to the observation deck. Ryan and I opted against eating because we had just had brunch at Soupesoup, but decided to grab a drink at the bar (also not the cheapest). The terrace had more people on it than the observation deck, but after about 20 minutes we were the only people. It was extremely relaxing and a nice way to spend the afternoon.

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Ryan enjoying his mojito on the outdoor terrace with Montreal’s tallest building, 1000 de la Gauchetiere in the background

Overall, I would give the experience an A+: the price was reasonable, the view was phenomenal, and the space were impeccable. Montreal is a truly beautiful city, and the best way to observe this beauty is from Place Ville Marie. Au Sommet is literally “at the top” of my list of things to do in Montreal.


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