A while back, we wrote an article about horse drawn carriages (French: calèches) in Old Montreal. We had failed to do a proper background check, so we were unaware of the sad and tragic conditions that these poor horses endure. After proper research, it became clear that the plight of the calèche horses have been filmed, photographed and documented. These horses have to endure unbearable extreme weathers, in winter and summer, in city traffic conditions that are inhumane. It is a barbaric tradition and we do not want to help perpetuate the exploitation of these animals by promoting this activity.
We are ashamed to have promoted animal suffering by suggesting calèche rides in Old Montreal. A beautiful city like Montreal does not need to promote itself using animal cruelty. The city is not a place for horses and there is nothing romantic in using mistreated animals to visit the city. In an effort to show judgement and empathy towards the plight of the carriage horses, here are some alternative ways to enjoy Old Montreal without horse drawn carriages.
Experience Old Montreal by Walking
Walking is easily the best way to get around old Montreal. Old Montreal is small enough that you can experience all that it has to offer by walking, especially during the summer months, when parts of the old city are only available to pedestrians. Nothing beats a leisurely stroll through the charming cobblestone streets and winding alleys of this historic district. Walking through Old Montreal will lead you through a maze of narrow streets where you can find a multitude of historic buildings and landmarks. Explore the birthplace of Montreal and experience a special voyage back in time! There are also plenty of guided tour companies that provide scheduled walking tours and private walking tours as well. Most of these walking tours are filled with historical, architectural and anecdotal information that will highlight the best of Montreal’s birthplace.
Experience Old Montreal by Bike
Another popular way to experience all that Old Montreal has to offer is by bicycle. With city-wide bike rentals, 600 kilometers of bike paths and plenty of food-and-drink stops along the way, it’s no wonder why Montreal has developed a reputation as a bicycle-friendly city. Along with the many tours offered in Old Montreal, biking around Old Montreal is one of the best ways to discover a landmark, a new boutique or a new cafe. Whether you rent bikes, bring your own, or try Montreal’s BIXI system, cycling remains another great way to discover Old Montreal’s charms.