Montreal's world-renowned reputation in the international convention industry keeps growing: It was recently ranked third (behind Washington, D.C., and New York City) as a key North American convention destination by the Union of International Associations. Visitors from the United States get an added bonus: Given the continued strength of the U.S. dollar, there's an almost 40 percent discount on every currency exchange.

Building for the Future Equipped with 23,000 hotel rooms in the Greater Montreal area--including eight five-star and 12 four-star hotels--the city is set to capture an even greater share of the meetings market with the on-going expansion of the Palais des Congres de Montreal (PCM) and opening of the Centre Mont-Royal convention complex.

The $239 million (Canadian) expansion of the PCM will double the facility's exhibition space from 100,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet and increase the number of meeting rooms from 29 to 59.

A covered walkway system will connect hundreds of hotels rooms to the facility and will also lead to Old Montreal. The project is scheduled to be complete in the first quarter of 2002; the convention centre will remain open during the expansion.

Centre Mont-Royal, a new convention center set to open this fall, features 50,000 square feet of conference space on five levels, able to accommodate up to 2,500 attendees. A total of $20 million has been invested in the renovation of this building in the heart of Montreal.

Another eagerly anticipated opening: Avenue du Port, the $80 million (Canadian) transformation of Montreal's Old Port warehouses into a 51-room upscale suite hotel. Planners take note: The new project along the St. Lawrence will include 30,000 square feet of meeting space plus spectacular river and skyline views.

Joie De Vivre No trip to Montreal would be complete with work alone filling the itinerary. This is, after all, a city renowned for its joie de vivre, and it is home to some of Canada's premier museums, theaters, restaurants, nightclubs, sports complexes, and recreational areas.

Better yet, why not combine work and pleasure in one of Montreal's truly special venues, like the new $49 million iSci Centre, opened by the Old Port of Montreal Corp. in May. The complex offers three large interactive exhibition halls, a 3-D IMAX theater, and Canada's first IMMERSION Interactive Cinema. Nine function rooms, many offering exceptional views of Old Montreal, the Old Port, and the St. Lawrence River, are available for private group functions for up to 500.

Improved Access The Aeroports de Montreal (ADM) is completing the design phase of a major expansion at Dorval International Airport. The $250 million extension will double the size of the international terminal and is to be completed by 2003. Dorval, with the city's other airport, Mirabel, connects with more than 130 destinations worldwide, and regular shuttle service is available to most major downtown properties.

Canadian Pacific Railway is studying the feasibility of creating a rapid rail shuttle service between downtown Montreal and Dorval. The service could be running as early as 2004, with departures every 20 minutes.

U.S. citizens don't need a passport or visa to enter, but it's a good idea to bring proof of citizenship.