Canada and its architecture

If you consider yourself a lover of design and architecture, you like travelling and adventure, and you’ve come across this article, stay right here and we’ll share some interesting information about Canadian architecture with you. We’ll also tell you about some of the most emblematic places to visit so that you can get to know more about this incredible country and its architecture.

If you are British and are interested in travelling to this destination, please remember to obtain your electronic travel permit beforehand, i.e. ETA Visa or ETA Canada.

Canadian architectural heritage

Montreal is one of Canada’s most emblematic cities; its architectural heritage is a product of the arrival of the English and the French during the colonisation periods.

At present, the combination of old architecture in contrast with more contemporary architecture, is giving this city a very singular and cosmopolitan look. During more than a century and a half, Montreal has also been one of the most important industrial and financial centres in the world.

Montreal’s coat of arms is surrounded by various buildings which represent different periods of Canadian architecture; for example the Notre-Dame Basilica, since it has architectural traces of neo-Gothic style; also the New York Life Building, considered to be Montreal’s first skyscraper and the Bank of Montreal Headquarters, the first bank of Canada is another of Canadian architecture’s most iconic buildings.

Moreover, in Montreal there is a place known as the “the city of a hundred bell towers” or “la ville aux cent clochers”, which was founded to establish Catholic colonies which settled in this city. For this reason there are four very important Catholic basilicas in the city.

  • Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde
  • Notre-Dame Basilica
  • St. Patrick’s Basilica
  • Saint Joseph’s Oratory

These include the biggest church in Canada, Saint Joseph’s Oratory, whose dome is only comparable with that of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.


Montreal has various laws which establish very specific height limits for buildings. They cannot exceed 223 metres above sea level, although in some areas these restrictions are stricter than in others. In general, certain concessions are allowed in some blocks in the city centre, depending on the type of building.

In the years 1962 and 1964, four of the highest buildings in the city were built: la Tour de la Bourse, the huge Place Ville-Marie designed by I. M. Pei, the CIBC Building and CIL House. However, the highest buildings in Montreal are 1000 de La Gauchetière, which has 51 floors and 1250 René-Lévesque, which has 47 floors, which were finished in 1992. 

Expo 67

In 1967, with a view to the International Exposition, “Expo 67”, various pavilions were built with surprising architectural designs which had a great visual impact on visitors at the time. Some of the structures were temporary, but they have been conserved throughout the years and the location has become one of the most iconic in Montreal.

These structures include the geodesic dome of the United States pavilion, which is actually the Biosphère de Montreal, and the large group of apartments called Habitat 67, which were designed by Moshe Safdie.

The Montreal Metro

One of the highly-valued architectural locations is found in the Montreal metro, which is part of Quebec’s culture and where public paintwork is permanently on display decorating each station of the Metro with various styles and many artistic techniques.

As well its architectural character, the Montreal metro is noteworthy since it is considered to be one of the most representative and eye-catching cultural creations at a global level.

Other important buildings

Montreal’s architecture includes one of the world’s biggest buildings, Place Bonaventure. It was built in 1968, just like Westmount Square and designed by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. You will also have the opportunity to visit the Roger Taillibert Olympic Stadium which is 175 metres high and has the unparalleled feature of having the tallest leaning tower in the world in a building of this type.