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Attending a Formula 1 Grand Prix is a dream for many people. If you plan to visit Montreal and attend such an event, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you have the best time! These are the best tips for attending the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 Race in Montreal, at The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve shared by Michelle from Travel After Five.
Tips for Attending the Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 Race at The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Once a year, the Formula 1 circuit will make its way to Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve race track is where this fast-paced event is held, located on a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River. The Formula 1 race brings in attendees from all over the world, and the event in Montreal definitely has a unique racing experience.
What is the Canadian Grand Prix?
The Canadian Grand Prix is an annual Formula 1 race that takes place in Montreal. Formula 1 races are auto races that take place all over the world, with the race season lasting nearly every weekend from March through November. Each race gives drivers point for where they place, and at the end of the season, the points are added up to determine the overall champion.
The 3-day Formula 1 event
Formula 1 races take place over three days, Friday through Sunday. If you purchase a General Admission ticket, you will have access to the racetrack for all three days. While the Grand Prix race takes place on Sunday, there are practice sessions, qualifying races, and other cup challenges that will occur throughout the weekend.
In the past, groups that I have attended the Formula 1 race with will usually skip Friday, unless we have nothing else to do. On Saturday, we will take the time to walk around, see where the good food is, and determine where the best general admission seats are around the track. Then, on Sunday morning for the day of the race, we know exactly where we want to go to sit for the day.
Buying a ticket to the Canadian Grand Prix
Tickets to the Canadian Grand Prix can be purchased online, with tickets being released months leading up to the event. There are a variety of ticket-selling websites that will offer Grand Prix tickets. General admission starts at $170 CAD, and tickets range from $200-$875 for grandstand seats. Tickets are typically for all three days of the race, Friday through Sunday.
General admission means that you will not have a grandstand or assigned seat, and you are free to walk around the course at your own leisure. When attending the 2019 Grand Prix race, my group had only purchased general admission tickets.
We do not recommend general admission tickets for this track in Montreal. There are other racetracks that have hills for better viewing, but we found the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve to be primarily flat, with few good viewing areas. If we attend the Canadian Grand Prix again in the future, we would purchase seats.
The easiest way to get to the race is to fly into the Montreal-Trudeau airport, which is the main international airport in the area. You can fly in from any country and purchase public transportation to get to the city. To get to downtown, you can take the 747-shuttle bus to the metro system. With the metro, you have access to most areas of the city, and you can pay per trip or purchase a day or week pass. Uber is also available to get around.
French is the primary language used in Montreal, though most of the people there will also speak English. Most institutions will accept credit cards, but it helps to have Canadian cash on hand just in case.
If you have a few extra days while in town, consider a walking tour in Old Montreal to see the older sites and buildings. There are basilicas, museums, and markets for you to visit along the river. If you are in town prior to the race, you will notice that the entire city will be excited to prepare. There are many street parties and events going on; we stumbled into a few just while walking around in the evening.
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Getting to the race
You do not need to rent a car in Montreal. Even if you decide to drive around the city, it is advised that you park your car within the city and take the metro to Parc Jean-Drapeau, the island that the race is located on. There are a variety of metro stops throughout the city, and you can get to the race by getting off at the Jean Drapeau station on the yellow line. Your regular metro pass can get you here. While it will be crowded on the day of the race, the crowds move quickly, and you never have to stand in place for long.
Once you get out of the metro station, you will come up near the Biosphere. You can then follow the crowds and cross a bridge to get to the island with the race. If you need to pick up your Formula 1 tickets, you will do so after exiting the metro station.
Before crossing the bridge, you will need to present your Formula 1 ticket, and you will also have your bag searched. It is then about a 15-30-minute walk to the track.
Enjoying the race
Enjoying the Formula 1 race is pretty easy – find your seat and watch the cars speed by! While the Canadian Grand Prix takes place over the entire weekend, the actual Grand Prix race will take place on Sunday. Until then you can walk around the venue, enjoy snacks, and see what different vendors are offering.
As the Canadian Grand Prix typically takes place over the summer, you will want to come prepared to bake in the heat. The grandstands do not offer shade, and the seats can be uncomfortable. Many people will purchase seat cushions. You will want to wear plenty of sunscreen and bring sunglasses and a hat.
If you only have general admission, you have more flexibility and can look for a place near shade so that you can take a break in between races. Since you will not have seats with general admission, you can bring your own lawn chairs or a picnic blanket to sit on.
Fortunately, backpacks are allowed in the venue, and you can even bring in outside drinks and snacks. In order to save money, stock up on food ahead of time. If you prefer to eat healthier while traveling, packing your lunch is a good idea. If you do decide to purchase lunch at the race, keep in mind that some of the food stands are cash only.
Attending a Formula 1 race should definitely be added to your bucket list as an event to attend at some time in your life. With races taking place all over the world, you can easily find a race in a city that you’d like to explore.
Buy your tickets in advance, scope out your seat before the race, and take measures to protect yourself from the sun. With such a unique venue, the Canadian Grand Prix is not a race that you want to miss.