Casino de Montréal

The Casino de Montréal gets about 15,000 gamblers per weekday, 25,000 on a weekend day. It’s not hard to see why. With 3,000 slot machines alone, there’s a lot of action. But that only begins to cover the possibilities in this gaming house in Quebec.

Once upon a time locals had to go to Atlantic City in New Jersey, or be satisfied with backroom penny ante games. Now tourists and Québécois (the name for inhabitants of the far eastern Canadian province) have an alternative.

Originally built as the French Pavilion for Expo ’67, the casino is an architectural landmark. Over $300 million was spent renovating the building and the investors appear to have gotten their money’s worth. It sparkles like a big brooch near the water.

The Casino is located on Isle Notre-Dame across from Montreal’s Old Port. Here, visitors can look out on the St. Lawrence river and enjoy the surrounding parkland before making their way into the casino. Festooned with ponds, a running brook, lighted fountains and a cascading waterfall it’s a park and gambling house in one.

The interior continues the water theme, with many of the same elements. Decorated inside to resemble a fine house in Monte Carlo, the building is a Las Vegas showpiece. Smaller than the hotels in that desert city, it nonetheless can pack in the people and please them just the same. Don’t miss out on a trip over the clear glass floor across the running brook near the escalator.

The dress code is strictly enforced – no jeans, shorts or tank tops. That helps keep up the European atmosphere that viewers of James Bond films have come to know and love. There are other items familiar from those movies: roulette, baccarat, poker and more. 120 tables worth in all. They have elements not typically associated with a Bond movie, too, such as Keno tables. Monte Carlo meets Las Vegas.

Along with the gaming tables there are four restaurants, including a French eatery called Nuances, and a cabaret theatre. Nuances is upscale, receiving a Five Star rating two years running. But for those who are just hungry, there’s a snack bar, as well. The Cabaret offers musical revues, comedy and well-known Vegas performers. All are set among the glittering glass and many murals that create the dazzling ambiance.

Dealers speak French and English so they can communicate with just about any visitor. But the language spoken here is numbers – those on the table, the cards and the currency. Come try your luck.

The Casino is easy to reach via the Metro (Montreal’s subway) and bus. Details are available at http://www.casinosduquebec.com/montreal/en/home

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