Montreal is a "Gamma" global city, hosting a multitude of international festivals and events including the XXI Summer Olympiad, Juste pour Rire (Just for Laughs), the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, the Montreal World Film Festival, and many others. During the period of prohibition in the United States, Montreal became well-known as one of North America's "sin cities" with unparalleled nightlife, a reputation it still holds today. Montreal has the highest concentration of post-secondary students of all major cities in North America. The city is a centre of health and aerospace science. In 2005, it won the distinction of being chosen UNESCO's “World Book Capital City 2005–2006” due to its vibrant literary scene.
It is situated in the south western corner of Quebec approximately 270 kilometres (168 miles) southwest of Quebec City, the provincial capital, and 190 kilometres (118 mi) east of Ottawa, the federal capital, and 539 kilometres (335 mi) northeast of Toronto, the largest city in Canada. The city is located on the Island of Montreal at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. The port of Montreal lies at one end of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which is the river gateway that stretches from the Great Lakes up into the Atlantic Ocean. Two man-made islands are located in front of the Montreal Skyline panorama, Île Ste. Hélène, and Ile Notre-Dame. The Notre Dame island hosts the Canadian Grand Prix and Formula One car races, as well as the Champ Car tournament. La Ronde (now owned by American company Six Flags) is the biggest amusement park in Montreal and is located on Île Ste. Hélène. The International Fireworks Festival is held there every summer.
Culture, culture, culture!
Montreal is the centre of Quebec culture and a major centre of Canadian culture in general. It has many specialized museums such as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), the Musée d'art contemporain (MAC), the Redpath Museum, the McCord Museum of Canadian History, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. The Place des Arts cultural complex houses the MAC and several theatres, and is the seat of the Montreal Opera and for the moment the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, which is slated to receive a new concert hall adjacent to Place des Arts.
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