International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology

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Montréal and Getaways

Montréal is one of North America’s most popular tourist and convention destination. For a second consecutive year, the city was ranked top host destination in North America for international association events by the Union of International Association. Cultural highlights such as the many museums, concert venues and summer festivals, a thriving foodie scene, as well as ease and relative affordability of lodging accommodations at all price ranges make it an easy choice for meetings of all sizes.

It’s a North American city with a European heart: in fact the conference venue (UQAM) is at the doorsteps of the business district, the latin quarter and the Old Montréal. It’s highly diverse city in all respects: linguistically, culturally, socio-economically, and it is one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities. It’s a French city in which it’s easy to get around solely in English (over half the population is bilingual), and, because of its large student body (the highest proportion of student/general population in North America) it offers many affordable eating and lodging options.

Montréal has a large offering. Museum visits, park outings and outdoor activities are standard, we also wish to add ‘biologically’ minded activities. You can download a booklet of coupons HERE.

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Space for Life : Botanical garden –  Insectarium – Biodome – Planetarium (METRO: PIE IX)

Space for Life, the largest natural sciences museum complex in Canada, is a place that brings together the Biodôme, Insectarium, Botanical Garden and Planetarium, but it is also much more. Together, the four prestigious institutions form a place where nature and science are honoured. They have positioned themselves as a Space for Life and are dedicated to sharing their vast heritage and knowledge with you. It’s a participatory movement and a commitment to biodiversity. It is also a vast project based on citizen participation and co-creation with visitors. Just like nature belongs to everyone, it is everyone’s movement. It’s a state of mind, a way of experiencing nature. It is a space we visit where we can exchange, collaborate and learn.

The Montréal Botanical Garden (affiliated with the Université de Montréal), one of the city’s jewels, is recognized as one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens. It offers a colourful program of events, exhibitions and activities all year long. With its collection of 22,000 plant species and cultivars, 10 exhibition greenhouses, Tree House, and more than 20 thematic gardens spread out over 75 hectares, it’s also a perfect place to enjoy fresh air and natural beauty.

The Biodôme, whose name means “house of life,” shows visitors the “true nature” of the Americas, by offering up their loveliest and most amazing ecosystems. The Montréal Biodôme recreates some of the most beautiful ecosystems of the Americas, the lush and humid Tropical Rainforest, warm even in the depths of a Montréal winter; the Laurentian Maple Forest, changing with the seasons; the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and the Subpolar Regions of the Americas: Labrador Coast and Sub-Antarctic Islands.

The Montréal Insectarium is considered one of the largest insect museums in North America. A favourite of children, the museum is home to some 250,000 specimens of living and naturalized insects, an anthill and many other exciting vivariums.

Science center

The Montréal Science Centre is a science museum located on the King Edward Pier in the Old Port of Montréal. Great for kids, the museum is home to interactive exhibitions on science and technology as well as an IMAX theatre. We invite you to have a look at the programming before you plan your visit.

Also, note that the Montréal Science Centre has reciprocity admission with other affiliated Science Museums membres in the world see here and here

Montréal International Jazz Festival

The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is the world's largest jazz festival. Every year it features roughly 3,000 artists from 30-odd countries, more than 650 concerts (including 450 free outdoor performances), and welcomes close to 2.5 million visitors. The festival takes place at 10 free outdoor stages and 10 indoor concert halls. It usually starts on the last week of June and lasts for two weeks, with major concerts on Sunday nights. It is held at the Place des Spectacles, less than five minutes walk from the conference venue. 

Montréal International Firework Competition

The largest pyrotechnics competition of its kind in the world, the Montréal International Fireworks Competition has been going strong since 1985 and remains one of this city's top attractions. The Montréal Fireworks Competition is held June through August, with shows on Wednesday and Saturday nights (but verify with schedule here). No one will argue that buying a ticket to see them up close and personal at La Ronde is a sure bet but you can get a great view just the same without paying a penny on the Jacques-Cartier bridge.

Museum of contemporary art

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MACM) is a contemporary art museum located on the Place des festivals in the Quartier des spectacles, a five minute walk from the venue.

Montréal Museum of Fine Arts

The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) (French: Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal) is an art museum located on the historic Golden Square Mile stretch of Sherbrooke Street, a ten minute ride of métro from the venue or a nice summer walk away. It is Montréal’s largest museum and is amongst the most prominent in Canada. 

Pointe-à-Callière Museum

Pointe-à-Callière Museum (French: Musée Point-à-Callière) is the Montréal museum of archaeology and history located in Old Montréal. Set atop the city’s birthplace, the Museum shows collections of artefacts from the First Nations of the Montréal region that illustrate how various cultures coexisted and interacted, and how the French and British regimes influenced the history of this territory over the years. Pointe-à-Callière has been recognized as a national historic site since 1998. A twenty minute walk from the venue, through Old Montréal.

The McCord Museum of Canadian History

The McCord Museum of Canadian History is a public research and teaching museum dedicated to the preservation, study, diffusion, and appreciation of Canadian history - over 1,451,000 objects, images and manuscripts, irreplaceable reflections of the social history and material culture of Montréal, Quebec and Canada. A ten minute ride of métro from the venue.



Description : Terrace on Saint-Denis Street     
Credit : © Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin


Description : Outdoor staircases    
Credit : © Tourisme Montréal


Whether enjoying the Laurentians’ (Laurentides in French) world-class resorts and parks, soaking up Montérégie’s bucolic beauty or touring the Eastern Townships’s (Cantons de l’Est in French) vineyards, there’s something for everyone a short distance from the city. And historic Québec City and Ottawa, the Canada’s capital, are a quick train ride away.

Laurentians (Laurentides)

For fine dining and simple relaxation on fabulous natural surroundings, the Laurentians are about an hour’s drive from Montréal. Featuring world-class resorts and parks-including the famous Mont-Tremblant four-season resort-here you’ll find plenty of water sports, challenging golf courts, mountain biking and rock climbing.


Région : Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie      
Credit : © Tourisme Québec, Heiko Wittenborn

Eastern Townships (Cantons de l'Est)

Head South-East from Montréal and you’ll find yourself in the picturesque Townships region, well known for its bed-and-breakfast inns and gourmet cuisine. Tour vineyards and sample homemade wines, jams and syrups; then visit the Orford Arts Center for a summer concert under the stars.


A short hop south across the river, the Montérégie region is a treasure trove of inviting attractions. Explore the Richelieu Valley, visit Chambly’s famous microbrewery, or enjoy a picnic among the apple orchards on tranquil Mont Saint-Hilaire.

Québec City

Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive or train ride from Montréal, Québec City lives up to its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Located on a spectacular bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence River, the streets and buildings of Cap Diamant, Québec City’s historic quarter, and Place Royale recount the history of New France. Inside the city’s old walls, the aroma of fresh bread, croissants and coffee waft through the narrow streets–an irresistible atmosphere of Old Europe is so pervasive that you’ll find it hard to believe that you’re still in North America.


Région : Château Frontenac       
Credit : © Tourisme Québec, Christian Bélanger


Ottawa, the nation’s capital, is only two hours from Montréal and home to the Canadian Parliament and federal institutions. The city will impress you with its imposing government buildings towering above the Ottawa River–especially the magnificent Library of Parliament and its superb Gothic Revival architecture. Ottawa is bursting with grand museums and beautifully designed parks along or close to the historic Rideau Canal which runs through the city center.