Montréal sits at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence River and the Ottawa River.
The landscape of Montréal is primarily flat, but encompasses scattered hills, including Mount Royal (233 m/764 ft high), situated in the center of the city. The area around Mount Royal is densely urbanized, and the population spreads along river arms and highways into the suburbs. The business district is wedged between the Saint Lawrence River and Mount Royal. High office buildings are concentrated downtown around Boulevard René Lévesque, and large stores are situated on Rue Sainte-Catherine (Saint Catherine Street).
Montréal is Canada's most populous city, with a population of 1,017,666 in 1991, an increase over its 1986 figure of 1,015,420. However, the metropolitan area, with a population of 3,127,242 in 1991, an increase over its 1986 figure of 2,921,357, is second to that of Toronto. Montreal is second largest french speaking city in the world.
Montréal is a major commercial, manufacturing, transportation, and financial center. Metropolitan Montréal has a diversified economy dominated by the service sector. The city is the site of many corporate headquarters and research-and-development institutions, as well as the Montréal Stock Exchange (established 1874). Although Montréal's economy has suffered a decline since the mid-1980s, especially in manufacturing, many people are still employed by factories producing pharmaceuticals and chemicals, textiles and clothing, processed food and beverages, high-technology electronic and communications equipment, and aerospace and other transportation products. Roughly 80 percent of the Canadian fur manufacturing and retail business is based in Montréal. Another important part of the city's economic base is tourism.
Montréal is one of Canada's intermodal transportation centers.
It is a major seaport on the Saint Lawrence Seaway (opened 1959), noted especially for handling grain and containerized freight.
Montreal is the site of the Canadianl railway headquarters, the city has five bridges over the Saint Lawrence River, and is served by numerous highways, a subway system, and two nearby international airports.
Major cities near Montreal: