Find out more about the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, including race information and a destination guide for a visit to Montreal
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a firm drivers’ favourite on the F1 calendar, with the track a hybrid of a street and permanent circuit. Long straights call for good top speed, but the flat out sections are punctuated by a number of chicanes and a hairpin for good measure. Add in close walls and it’s a real challenge. Turn 1 offers the chance for side-by-side racing as the track immediately switches back on itself for Turn 2, before a chicane at turns 3 and 4 which has a close wall on exit. A sweeping right for Turn 5 is followed by two more open chicanes before the Turn 10 hairpin which again offers an overtaking opportunity. The biggest challenge is the final chicane, which comes after heavy braking at the end of a long straight and has the infamous Wall of Champions - so-called because a number of former champions have hit it - on the outside of the final corner waiting to punish any mistake.
Montreal is an exciting mix of North American city and a French town, with French still the official language of the city. For the latter, head to the old town, where cobbled streets, bars and restaurants await near the river. Walking down towards the river from Place-d’Armes, you’ll find the Basilique Notre-Dame before reaching the bustling streets.
For more of Montreal’s culture, head to Place des Arts, a short walk away from Place-d’Armes in the opposite direction to the river. Here you’ll find a number of theatres and concert halls to sample some of the city’s music. Afterwards, plenty of bars and pubs can be found downtown, with Rue Sainte-Catherine the main artery feeding a number of side streets full of venues.
If you need to do something active as a result of all the food and drink, then the city’s name can give you some inspiration. Montreal is named after Mount Royal, which sits in the heart of the city and offers excellent views over the skyline. Made up of three peaks, the highest is the Colline de la Croix, which is 233m above sea level. Another of these peaks - Westmount Summit - is home to the spectacular Saint Joseph's Oratory (or Oratoire Saint-Joseph), Canada’s largest church.
While there is so much French culture in Montreal, the city’s number one sport is decidedly North American, with Ice Hockey stealing the show. The Montreal Canadiens play in the Bell Centre downtown, although the timing of the race means they need a Stanley Cup run to still playing in June. Football (soccer) is usual in season, however, with Montreal Impact an MLS team playing at the Saputo Stadium in the Olympic Park.
HOW TO GET THERE
Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is the main international airport for the city and located 20km from downtown. As well as taxis, a number of bus services run from the airport, with the 747 route running 24 hours a day and serving numerous stops downtown.
The circuit itself is on the Ile Notre Dame, which is a man-made island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River. As such, access by car can be difficult, but there is a metro station - Jean-Drapeau - on the neighbouring Ile Sainte Helene. The station is on the Yellow Line of the Montreal Metro and the circuit can then be reached by a 15-minute walk on foot across a bridge.