Greater Montréal includes 15 municipalities in addition to the municipality of Montréal. It covers an area of only 498 km2, but has a population of 1.8 million. As an economic powerhouse, it is home to the headquarters of several companies in the natural resources field, as well as important research centres. Its inhabitants have access to many different recreational, cultural and scientific facilities.
The Montréal region produces electricity from the biogas generated by the decomposition of waste materials. It has two biogas power stations, and also two operating oil refineries.
The region’s largest processing plant specializes in refining copper concentrates, some of which come from Québec. However, Montréal is above all the location for the head offices of several large Québec mineral exploration companies.
Forestry and wood processing
Most of Québec’s large forestry companies, like its mining companies, have their head office in the Montréal region. Its role as an administrative centre does not prevent the Montréal region, however, from supporting small and medium-sized enterprises working in the fields of wood processing and paper and cardboard production, and one sawmill. In all, the number of jobs directly related to wood processing is estimated at almost 10,000.
The Montréal region also has several scientific research centres and groups in the field of pulp and paper and wood processing. Several of these research projects are designed to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses in the sector.
A wide range of wildlife is found in the natural environments in the region. Nature parks, the Mount Royal park, and the Morgan Arboretum are of key importance. Two sites have been designated as migratory bird refuges, Île-aux-Hérons and the Senneville urban park.
At the Morgan Arboretum alone (a 245-hectare forest at the western tip of the island), 200 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 30 species of mammal have been identified. The banks of the fleuve Saint-Laurent are also an ideal place to observe birds such as the heron, black-crowned night heron, tern, and several species of duck, and are used by 15 000 anglers each year to fish for walleye, yellow perch, muskellunge, bass, pike and American shad.
Cottage development, recreation and tourism
The Montréal region has a wide range of recreation and tourist attractions. For pleasure boating, a dozen marinas facilitate access to the waters around the Île de Montréal. Two public beaches and a number of nature parks are also generally accessible.
Mount Royal Park, situated at the centre of the island of Montréal, attracts hundreds of visitors each day. It is classified as a historic natural district, covers 7,500 hectares, and is a favourite destination for activities such as hiking, sledding, skating and cross-country skiing.
The main challenges in the Montréal region involve the protection and development of natural environments and the protection of rare or threatened species. The measures concerned will guarantee the quality of life of the population, while increasing its attachment for the natural environment.
To ensure that wildlife harvesting and wildlife observation activities continue into the future, it is important to attract a new generation of enthusiasts, and this is one of the priority actions for the Montréal region.