The city of Laval, conglomerated from 14 smaller municipalities in 2000, covers the island Île Jésus and some smaller islands to the northwest of Montreal. Largely rural, the city's main population centre is on the Autoroute 15 corridor and its southeast coast, which faces Montreal across the Rivière des Prairies.
Although a separately-administered city and a separate tourist region from Montreal, Laval is a suburb of the city of Montreal. Much of Laval consists of bedroom communities, shopping malls and big-box stores that need cheaper land than is available in downtown Montreal, making it car-friendly and of limited interest for tourists. There are hotels in Laval which are considerably cheaper than downtown Montreal, although if staying at one of these hotels, a car would be very useful.
Laval was named after the first owner of Île Jésus, François de Montmorency-Laval, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Quebec.
The first European settlers in Laval were Jesuits who were granted a seigneury there in 1636. Agriculture began in Laval in 1670.
The only built-up area on the island, Sainte-Rose, was incorporated as a village in 1850, and remained as the main community for the remainder of the century. With the dawn of the 20th century came urbanization. Laval-des-Rapides became Laval's first city in 1912. Laval began to grow throughout the following years because its proximity to Montreal made it an ideal suburb.
The Quebec government amalgamated the whole island into a single city of Laval in 1965. At the time, Laval had a population of 170,000.
From Montreal: Autoroute 15 (Autoroute des Laurentides) takes you directly into the centre of Laval. Autoroute 13 takes you to the western part of Laval, including the Chomedey area. Autoroute 25 takes you from the east end of Montreal into the eastern part of Laval via a toll bridge. You can also take a bridge to Laval via boulevard Curé-Labelle or avenue Papineau. The bridges to Laval can have very heavy traffic during evening rush hour.
Laval is connected to Montreal by the orange line of the metro at 3 stations: Cartier, de la Concorde and Montmorency. Parking is available, but be sure to arrive early in the morning on weekdays.
Train service from Montreal is provided by the Agence Metropolitain de Transport (AMT), which operates two lines to Laval (one to the centre of the Laval, the other to the western tip.)
Although the metro system extends to Laval, it is still possible to get to Laval by getting off at Henri-Bourassa metro station in Montreal and taking the Laval bus across the bridge to Laval.
The city is (more or less) laid out in a grid. Autoroute 440 splits Laval roughly in two, north and south sides. Autoroute 15 splits Laval roughly in two, east and west sides. An address with the suffix "O" or "W" (ouest or west) is west of Autoroute 15; the suffix "E" means east of Autoroute 15. If you are going north, address numbers increase; if you are going east or west, address numbers increase as you get farther from Autoroute 15.
The major north-south highways in Laval are Autoroute 13, Autoroute 15 (also known as the Laurentian Autoroute/Autoroute des Laurentides), Autoroute 19 and Autoroute 25. Other large north-south streets are Boulevard Cure-Labelle, Boulevard Chomedey, Boulevard des Laurentides, Boulevard le Corbuiser, Boulevard Industriel. The major east-west thoroughfares are Boulevard de la Concorde/Boulevard Notre-Dame, Boulevard Levesque/Boulevard Cartier/Boulevard Samson, Boulevard Ste-Rose/Avenue Perron, Boulevard de Terrasses/Boulevard des Milles-Iles, Boulevard Saint-Martin, Autoroute 440, and Boulevard Dagenais/Boulevard Bellerose. (The "east-west" and "north-south" designations for these routes are not perfectly aligned with cardinal directions.)
The Societe de transport de Laval provides extensive service on the island of Laval and connects it with the Montreal metro system.
- Cosmodome, 2150, Autoroute des Laurentides (autoroute 15), toll-free: . A space museum with a life-sized space shuttle cockpit. Also contains Space Camp Canada.
- SkyVenture Montreal, 2700, avenue Du Cosmodôme, ☎ . Indoor skydiving windtunnel
- Isaute, 2045, boulevard Dagenais Ouest (Chomedey), ☎ . Indoor trampoline centre M–Th first hour, $12, second hour, $8; F–Su first hour, $14, second hour, $8.
- Ferme D. & M. Sauriol, 3150, boulevard des Mille-Îles (Auteuil), ☎ . Agrotourist enterprise where visitors can pick their own strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and eggplant in season.
- Le centre de la nature, 901, avenue du parc. 08:00–22:00. Urban park, on a site of over 50 hectares.
Laval has many suburban shopping malls, such as Carrefour Laval (the largest), Centre Laval, and Centropolis. Prices are a little cheaper than downtown Montreal, although the cost of gas to travel there tends to negate the price advantage.
- Marché public 440, 3535, autoroute Laval Ouest (Chomedey), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A collection of food stores under one roof, including three butcher shops, a fishmonger, and a delicatessen.
- Patate Depot, 2080 Boulevard Curé-Labelle (a few blocks south of the intersection with Autoroute 440). Tu-Su 11:00-21:00. A notable weird suburban greasy spoon.
- Dic Ann's, 1345 boul. Curé Labelle, Chomedey, ☎ . W Sa Su 11:00-20:00, Th F 11:00-21:00. A famous Montreal-area burger chain with its own burger.
- Au Biniou Restaurant, 100 Boul De La Concorde E, ☎ . Tu-Th 11:30-21:00, F 11:30-22:00, Sa 17:00-22:00, Su 17:00-21:00. Gourmet French restaurant. Wines available at same process government liquor store. Dinner mains $25-42.
- Restaurant Le Vieux Four de Laval, 5070 Boul Levesque East, ☎ . M-Th 11:00-22:00, F 11:00-23:00, Su 16:00-23:00. Italian restaurant. Pizza $13-20, mains $18-25, from the grill $22-34.
- Les Menus-Plaisirs, Restaurant-Auberge, 244, boulevard Sainte-Rose (Sainte-Rose), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The inn has four rooms, four studio apartments, three apartments and a cottage.
- Le St-Martin Hotel and Suites, 1400 Maurice Gauvin St, ☎ , toll-free: . From $140.
- Motel Chez Nous, 1002 Boulevard Curé-Labelle, ☎ . 44 rooms in Chomedey, Laval, with air conditioning, fridge, Wi-Fi. From $75.
|Routes through Laval|
|Mont-Tremblant ← Saint-Jérôme ←||N S||→ Montreal → Becomes → Albany|
|ENDS ← Boisbriand ←||N S||→ Montreal → ENDS|
|Rawdon via ← Terrebonne ←||N S||→ (toll bridge) → Montreal → Quebec City via|
|Mont-Tremblant ← Saint-Jérôme ←||N S||→ Montreal → ENDS|
|Gatineau ← Montebello ←||W E||→ ENDS|
|END ←||N S||→ North Island → Downtown Montreal|
|END ← Deux-Montagnes ←||W E||→ West Island → Downtown Montreal|
|Saint-Jérôme ← Rosemère ←||N S||→ North Island → Downtown Montreal|