Situated on an island in the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, Montreal has been a strategic location since before the arrival of Europeans in Canada due to its navigable position. In the 1960s, an urban renewal drive brought Montreal a subway system and a number of attractive urban parks. The 1976 Olympics also left a striking stadium and many other urban improvements behind it.
The opening of the Saint Lawrence ended Montreal's economic dominance in Canada enabling transition points to move between western railroads and eastern sea carriers, causing business to move to further ports in Ontario and on Lake Superior.
Rue Ste-Catherine, between rue Guy and boulevard St-Laurent, is the city's prime shopping streets and houses the big department stores and major malls. Rue St-Viateur is a popular tourist district and is home to a host of unique businesses and streets within one small area between St-Laurent and Avenue du Parc.
Walking is the most popular mode of transport in the busy downtown and the narrow streets of Old Montreal, especially during the summer months. There is also what is known as the RESO, a network of corridors which connect the metro stations, shopping centres and office buildings. STM is the transport network for the city running buses, subways and commuter trains. Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport is about half an hour west of the city centre and operates flights to most major cities in the US and EU.