Montreal (/ˌmʌntriːˈɒl/; French: Montréal, pronounced [ˈmõʁeal]) is a city in the Canadian province of Quebec. It is the largest city in the province, the second-largest in Canada and the 9th-largest in North America. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city, and a few much smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which is Île Bizard.
In 2011 the city had a population of 1,649,519. Montreal's metropolitan area (CMA) (land area 4,259 square kilometres (1,644 sq mi)) had a population of 3,824,221 and a population of 1,886,481 in the urban agglomeration, all of the municipalities on the Island of Montreal included. Current 2014 estimates of the CMA place the metropolitan area of Montreal at 4.1 million.
French is the city's official language and is the language spoken at home, as Quebec French, by 56.9% of the population of the city, followed by English at 18.6% and 19.8% other languages (in the 2006 census). In the larger Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 67.9% of the population speaks French at home, compared to 16.5% who speak English. Montreal is one of the most bilingual cities in Quebec and Canada with 56% of the population able to speak both English and French. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris.
Montreal was named a UNESCO City of Design. Historically the commercial capital of Canada, it was surpassed in population and economic strength by Toronto in the 1970s. It remains an important centre of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, gaming, film and world affairs. It is ranked 16th out of 140 cities in The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking.
In 2009, Montreal was named North America's leading host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). In 2015, QS World University Rankings ranked Montreal the 8th-best place in the world to be a university student.
By Dean Hanley