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Source: The Gazette

 

New city guide puts Montreal on the geotourism map

 

By MONIQUE BEAUDIN,

The Gazette, June 16, 2009

 

It's a tourist map with a difference.

 

Along with the usual destinations, such as Little Italy and Mount Royal, you'll find more unusual ones, like a series of "green" alleyways in the Plateau Mont Royal and a boutique that makes clothes from recycled materials.

 

Unveiled yesterday by Mayor Gérald Tremblay, the new map promotes geotourism - that is, tourism that protects and preserves the geographic character of a destination, such as its heritage, culture, environment and well-being of its residents. The map was the brainchild of the U.S.-based National Geographic Society, with whom Montreal was the first city in the world to sign an agreement in 2007 promising to adhere to 13 principles of geotourism.

 

"You live in a magnificent and sophisticated city," said Jonathan Tourtellot, the director of National Geographic's Centre for Sustainable Destinations in Washington, D.C. "Tourists should leave here knowing they have visited a city that is unique in Canada, unique in North America, unique in the world. That's geotourism."

 

Creating the map - the first of its kind in the world for a city - took months of consultation with conservation and community groups, as well as the input of residents, who suggested more than 400 locations that scream out "Mont-real." Some that made the cut include Habitat 67, Promenade Bellerive in Montreal's Mercier district and Le Cartet in Old Montreal where visitors can "break bread at communal tables with real-life Montrealers."

 

The map encourages people to visit the city by bicycle, métro or on foot saying "this is one city where you can see almost everything without setting foot in a car." Historical information includes the fact that St. Laurent Blvd. was "reputed for risqué nightlife during the city's heyday as an inland seaport."

 

Other areas with similar geotourism maps include Norway and the Mexican state of Baja California.

 

You can check it out online at www.montrealgeo.com

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