Montreal is the most populous municipality in the province of Quebec and the second-most populous in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary”, it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is centred on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city, and a few much smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which is Île Bizard. It has a distinct four-season continental climate with warm to hot summers and cold snowy winters.
In 2016 the city had a population of 1,704,694. Montreal’s metropolitan area had a population of 4,098,927 and a population of 1,942,044 in the urban agglomeration, with all of the municipalities on the Island of Montreal included. French is the city’s official language and is the language spoken at home by 49.8% of the population of the city, followed by English at 22.8% and 18.3% other languages (in the 2016 census, not including multi-language responses). In the larger Montreal Census Metropolitan Area, 65.8% of the population speaks French at home, compared to 15.3% who speak English. The agglomeration Montreal is one of the most bilingual cities in Quebec and Canada, with over 59% of the population able to speak both English and French. Montreal is the second-largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris.
Historically the commercial capital of Canada, Montréal was surpassed in population and in economic strength by Toronto in the 1970s. It remains an important centre of commerce, aerospace, transport, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, education, art, culture, tourism, food, fashion, gaming, film and world affairs. As the location of the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Montreal is one of three North American cities home to organizations of the United Nations (along with Washington, D.C. and New York) and also has the second-highest number of consulates in the continent. In 2006 Montreal was named[by whom?] a UNESCO City of Design. In 2009 Montreal was named[by whom?] North America’s leading host city for international association events, according to the 2009 preliminary rankings of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). The 2017 edition of QS Best Student Cities ranked Montreal as the best city in the world in which to be a university student. According to the 2017 Global Liveability Ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Montreal ranked 12th out of 140 cities.
Montreal has hosted multiple international conferences and events, including the 1967 International and Universal Exposition and the 1976 Summer Olympics. It is the only Canadian city to have held the Summer Olympics. As of 2016 the city hosts the Canadian Grand Prix of Formula One, the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs festival. In 2012 the Globalization and World Rankings Research Institute ranked Montreal as a Beta-plus world city.