Montreal - Vieux-Montréal: Vieux-Port de Montréal
Vieux-Port de Montréal (Old Port of Montreal), stretching for over two kilometres along the St-Lawrence River in Vieux-Montréal, was the social, economic and cultural soul of Montréal ever since early French fur traders used it as a trading post in 1611. In 1809, the first steamship set out for Quebec City from Molson Quay, west of Bonsecours Chapel. In 1850, the Harbour Commission dredged the channel between Montréal and Lac Saint-Pierre, giving the Port the ability to receive oceangoing vessels. In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway was opened, allowing oceangoing ships to reach the Great Lakes without calling at Montreal and precipitated a dramatic drop in activity. Over the ensuing years, the Old Port struggled and was converted to container facilities, as shipping activity shifted east to the Port of Montreal. In the 1990's, the Old Port was redeveloped under the direction of architects Aurèle Cardinal and Peter Rose, and it was renamed in 2005 to The Quays of the Old Port of Montreal. Today, the riverfront welcomes over seven million visitors a year as a reinvented cultural and recreational hub including the Montréal Science Centre, the Montréal Clock Tower and access for walking, cycling, roller-blading and boating.