Montreal, is now the second-largest city in Canada and was the largest city in Canada up until the 70's and is the largest city in the province of Quebec. Originally called Ville-Marie ('City of Mary'), some historians think the city takes its present name from the Mont Réal (as it was pronounced in Middle French, or Mont Royal/Mount Royal in present French), the three-head hill at the heart of the city, whose name was also initially given to the island on which the city is located.
The official language of Montreal is French as defined by the city's charter. It is among the five largest French-speaking cities in the world. As of the 2006 Canadian Census, 1,620,693 people resided in the city of Montreal proper. The population of the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (also known as Greater Montreal Area) was 3,635,571 at the same 2006 census. In the census metropolitan area, French is the language most spoken at home by 70.5% of the population (as of 2006 census). In 2007, Montreal was ranked as the 10th cleanest city in the world.
Montreal is the cultural centre of Quebec, and of French-speaking North America as a whole. The city is Canada's centre for French language television productions, radio, theatre, film, multimedia and print publishing. The Quartier Latin is a neighbourhood crowded with cafés animated by this literary and musical activity. The local English-speaking artistic community nevertheless contributes dynamically to the culture of Montreal, and intense collaborations exist between all Montreal communities. The result is a dynamic musical and artistic scene, ignited by the presence of numerous festivals.