In October 1978, French-Canadian Gilles Villeneuve roared across the finish line to win the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada in Montreal—a shining moment to inaugurate the event in its new home city. Forty years later, the F1 Grand Prix is still a not-to-be-missed event in Montreal, though (thankfully) it’s moved to the sunshine and warmth of June. The Grand Prix takes place from June 8 to 10 this year, and there is no shortage of fast cars, good food, and loud music to enjoy.
Montreal is an easy city to get around with plenty of options for travel. Car share service car2go is available, but note the F1 Grand Prix recommends people avoid driving to the track because of a lack of parking options. The metro is an easy and cheap alternative. Just keep in mind there will be hordes of like-minded people, so prepare yourself for a crowd. For those who want to see the city from a two-wheeled perspective, the BIXI bike share system is available.
Where to eat
For meals and snacks in between car-centric activities, Crescent Street and Old Montreal will keep you relatively close to the action. Crescent Street is bursting with bars and restaurants – ask to be seated on a restaurant’s terrasse to enjoy the full Montreal summer experience.
Deville Dinerbar on Stanley (a short three-block walk from Crescent) offers upscale diner-inspired dishes. In Old Montreal, stop at BEVO Bar + Pizzeria for a wood-fired pizza, and then unwind with a cocktail in Jardin Nelson’s hidden terrasse. For those who need a break from the Grand Prix crowds, talk a walk in the Plateau area and grab a sorbet at Kem CoBa. Be prepared for a line of devotees on warm days.
What to do
For F1 fun outside the race track, go to the Place F1 GP Canada event in Dorchester Square, from June 7 to 10. The races are being screened live, so you don’t have to worry about missing a moment. Or, turn your eyes to the road and hop on the go-kart track. The Grand Prix will be holding an exciting new event called the Grand Walk on June 8, a 5-kilometre charity walk in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The walk takes place on the track after Friday’s practice sessions and Olympian Joannie Rochette will be participating. The Festival Grand Prix Sur Crescent, celebrating its 19th year, is another option for everything cars. Brian Fogt, the creator of the festival, recommends Thursday’s Celebrity Pit Stop Challenge where celebrities like 2018 Olympic freestyle skier Olivier Rochon try their hand at changing a tire, pit-stop style.