SMWCon Spring 2014/Local Information

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SMWCon Spring 2014SMWCon Spring 2014/Local Information
Montréal Panorama

SMWCon Spring 2014 takes place at Concordia University, downtown campus (known as the Sir George Williams campus, or SGW for short). See how to get to Concordia by air, train, bus, or car.

Montréal Airport[edit]

Most likely, you will arrive at the Trudeau aiport (code: YUL) on the island of Montréal (formerly known as Dorval airport). Upon arrival, you will have to clear immigration (if you arrive from outside Canada), then pick up your bags and clear customs. To get downtown, the two most convenient options are:

  • By Bus: The 747 Airport Bus runs 24/7. Cost is C$10, this gives you a 24hrs ticket to the STM local network, bus and metro, so you can continue to your hotel from the bus terminal (you can also buy a three-day pass for C$18). Note that on the bus itself, only (Canadian) coins are accepted, so buy your ticket inside the airport before boarding the bus (there are ticket machines selling both the 24h and 3-day tickets). The bus stops at a number of major hotels downtown and then arrives at the Berri-UQAM central bus terminal (see the PDF on the 747 web page for details); from there you can continue by local bus or metro, or take a taxi (waiting outside the bus terminal).
  • By Taxi: From the airport, you can get a taxi to the larger downtown area for a flat rate (ca. C$40, tip not included). For more details, see here.

Renting a car is not recommended. Public transportation (bus, metro, public bike system) is much faster, cheaper, and more convenient for attending the conference and visiting the surrounding areas (Old Montréal, Plateau, etc.). If you plan to visit places outside Montréal (like Mont-Tremblant or Québec City), a car is the better option.

Event Locations[edit]

Concordia University EV Building

The event takes places in two separate, but connected buildings:

  • the MB building (John Molson School of Business Building, 1450 Rue Guy): registration as well as talks, tutorials and coffee breaks will be hosted in MB 3.210 (third floor, lecture room 210). In front of the room is a small lounge area (the "clouddeck").
  • the EV building (Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex, 1515 St-Catherine Street West): the welcome reception on Wednesday will be hosted on the 11th floor on East tower.

You can find the buildings on the online Concordia Campus Map.

To get to the event by Metro:

  1. Take the Green Line to station Guy-Concordia (see the Metro map)
  2. The station has two exits; unfortunately the exit that enters directly into Concordia is currently closed due to construction. Take the St. Mathieu exit. You will get out on the corner of St. Mathieu and De Maisonneuve street. Walk one block to the east and you will see the MB and EV buildings.

To get to the event by Bus:

  1. Most bus lines connect with a Metro line, so one option is to switch to the Metro and follow the instructions above
  2. You can also try to plan your trip online.

To get to the event by Bixi (public bike system):

  1. Head to the bike path on Boulevard De Maisonneuve, also known as the Claire Morissette bike path (see the bike path map)
  2. The two closest Bixi stations are the one on Rue Mackay/Boulevard de Maisonneuve West and Rue Sainte Catherine West/Rue Guy (see the map with all Bixi stations)

To get to the event on foot:

  1. Head to the intersection De Maisonneuve/Rue Guy, there you'll find the main entrance to the MB building
  2. Here's the MB main entrance location on Google Maps: Street View


Upon arriving in the MB building ground floor, please proceed to the registration desk (MB1.155) to pick up your name badge. The registration desk is open from 8:30 AM to noon on Wednesday only. Please note that on-site registration is NOT AVAILABLE. However, you can still use the EventBrite page to register online.

The Welcome Reception on Wednesday, May 21st, 17:30-20:00[edit]

The welcome reception is also in the EV building (see above), but in the East Tower. If you come from outside, use the entrance on Rue Mackay (close to Sainte Catherine Street West). Take the elevator on the right to the 11th floor. The reception is just outside the elevator banks. Here's the Mackay entrance on Google Street View:,-73.577525,3a,43.5y,185.35h,81.73t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sSRKu5RLQs07MH38Dj73avg!2e0

If you come by Metro as described above, first use the escalator to go to the ground floor of the EV building. Go straight ahead towards the exit on Saint Catherine Street West, then in the lobby area, turn to the left in front of the security desk. Go towards the Mackay exit, and take the elevators near the exit on the left to the 11th floor.

Note: If you take the elevator banks in the West tower, you can still go the 11th floor and try to find the way to the reception, but it's probably easier to backtrack to the ground floor and follow the directions above.

The Social Event on Thursday, May 22nd, 18:30-21:30[edit]

For the social event, we will meet at the Brasserie L'Amère à boire (Google Map) in the Latin Quarter to sample some local food and drinks. The address is 2049 Saint-Denis, which is in the middle between Sherbrooke and Ontario streets, on the "east" side. Start is at 6:30pm; from the EV building it takes about 20min to get there. If you take the metro, go to the Berri-UQAM station. There are four exits; make sure to take the one heading to Rue Saint-Denis and then walk north. When you reached the brasserie, walk up the stairs to the restaurant on the 3rd floor.


Mind the strange Montréal habit of not using magnetic north when referring to "East/West" (for streets, bus routes, etc.). In Montréal, "East" is really north/north-east and "West" actually south/south-west. Confused? For a comprehensive explanation, see the Wikitravel page under "Orientation". So don't try using your compass. Also, for addresses on "East/West" streets, be aware that the numbering starts from 0 at Rue Saint-Laurent and then counts up both towards the east and west. So, "1515 St-Catherine Street West (Ouest)" (Concordia's EV building) is in a totally different location than "1515 St-Catherine Street East (Est)".

Local Transportation Basics[edit]

Some tips on getting around in Montréal.

Bus and Metro[edit]

Check the STM website for maps and bus schedules. You can buy tickets at the vending machines at every Metro station (which you can switch from French to English by pressing a button) or the toll booth attendants (which you sometimes cannot switch from French to English, no matter what you press). Many depanneurs (convenience stores) and drug stores etc. also sell tickets. You can also pay cash on the bus, but the ticket machines there only accept coins and do not give change, so have $3.00 ready (you can use the ticket to transfer from bus to metro and vice versa, but you cannot transfer back to the metro if you started there). Always keep your ticket until the end of the trip -- there are random checks, just like in Paris!

If you plan to travel around a lot by public transport, the best option is to get an OPUS smart card and load it with fares at a ticket machine -- you can load individual tickets, a daypass, 3-day pass, or week pass (Monday-Sunday) onto the card and then touch-in at the bus or metro turnstiles (there is no "touching out" like in some other cities).

Bixi Public Bike System[edit]

Montréal has the largest public bike system in North America (which has meanwhile also been installed in London), Bixi (from "Bike Taxi"). You can use your credit card at every Bixi station to get a 24hr subscription. During that time, you can take as many trips as you want, taking a bike from any station and returning it to any other station, but only the first 30mins are free, so be sure to understand the fee structure. Essentially, Bixis are meant for quick point-to-point transport, not daytrips, and within the major Downtown/Plateau/Old Montreal areas you'll often arrive quicker than by waiting for a bus or metro! There are Bixi stations at every second block, you can check the online realtime map for available bikes / bike docks.


While Montréal is primarily a French-speaking city, English is widely understood, particularly downtown, though residents do appreciate it when you say Bonjour and Merci!


Montréal offers numerous hotels, B&B-style guesthouses, as well as short-term apartment rentals. We do not offer pre-booked accommodation for this event; hence, you should consult the usual web sites for finding accommodation in your preferred category (and price range...).

Montréal is quite big, so it is important that you book something that is conveniently located for this event, which takes place downtown (see the maps above). Suggested areas for booking are:

  • Downtown area (centre-ville, on some maps labelled as "Ville-Marie"): this is the most convenient location, as you can either walk/bike or take the bus/metro within 5-15min. Downside of staying downtown are higher costs, noise, and lack of greenspace.
  • Plateau area is the archetypical residential area in Montréal, with numerous parks, cafés, bars, bistros, small boutique-style shops, art galleries, etc. This may be the best area to experience Montréal life, but you have to plan for at least 20-30mins for getting to Concordia by bike/bus/metro. It's a good trade-off between location (distance to the event) and accomodation costs.
  • Old Montréal (Vieux-Port) area: the revitalised Old Port area has a mix of tourist-oriented restaurants/shops (in the summer, visitors to Montréal are carried here by the busload), upscale residential properties, and centres for the multimedia industry. Some of the fancier boutique hotels are located in this area. This is also the area to arrive if you plan to come by boat ;) Again plan for 20-30mins to get from here to the event. Advantages of staying here are the quick access to the waterfront (St-Laurent River and Lachine Canal) and a large choice of restaurants and shops (albeit with a more touristy touch rather than being "typical Montréal"). Disadvantages are the generally high cost. Also see
  • Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin) area: a small, lively area next to downtown with numerous pubs, restaurants, theatres, etc. This is where the Berri-UQAM main bus terminal and metro stations are located, where you'll arrive if you take the airport bus. It's about 20min from the event (bike or metro). Has a number of larger and smaller hotels and guesthouses, but the area can obviously be somewhat noisy...

Note: try to verify to exact address with a tool like Google Maps -- some accommodation providers are, shall we say, somewhat lenient with labelling their location as being "Downtown" or on the "Plateau"...

Further Information[edit]

Some more links with information on Montréal:

Dead trees:

Lunch Options around Concordia University SGW Campus[edit]