About MTL Detours
Montreal’s Walking Tour Specialists
MTL Detours is a small-group Montreal walking tour company focused on showing guests the authentic local side of Montreal.
Our tours are designed to be fun and informative! We carefully tailor each tour, showcasing the highlights and hidden treasures of Montreal, and sharing the city’s fascinating culture and history with guests. We stick to walking tours at MTL Detours, because as locals we know the best way to see Montreal is on foot and have worked hard to create the best routes that showcase the highlights of Montreal.
Our tours are small and personal! Unlike most other tour companies, we cap our tours at a maximum of 10–12 participants to give each guest the attention they deserve and provide a personal experience.
Our tours are inclusive! At MTL Detours, we value diversity. We proudly welcome all people on our tours, regardless of their gender identity, sex, religion, race, ethnicity, etc.
We work with a select group of top-notch guides, so you’ll always be in excellent hands on an MTL Detours excursion! Each of our amazing guides are passionate and engaging local Montreal experts excited to show guests all the nooks and crannies of this fascinating city.
To see the real Montreal and learn about what makes this city so special, join us on one of our carefully curated tours.
Who We Are
Meet MTL Detours Founder, Lesley Thompson
MTL Detours is the result of Lesley’s lifelong love affair with her hometown – the unique and absolutely fabulous city of Montreal.
Born and raised in Montreal, Lesley’s friends have nicknamed her “Miss Montreal”. As an avid walker and photography enthusiast, Lesley has always spent her free time exploring Montreal on foot and capturing the city through her lens. Check out her Montreal photography here.
Her studies in Tourism led her to a rich and varied career spanning almost 3 decades in the local Montreal tourism industry. An insatiable curiosity for history, architecture, urban planning, art, politics, culture, and all things Montreal led her to pursue studies at the Hotel & Tourism Institute of Quebec (ITHQ) to obtain her diploma, certification, and license as a professional Montreal Tourist Guide.
Combining her experiences, interests, and passion for Montreal, she made the big jump and created her own walking tour company specializing in small groups – MTL Detours – in 2019.
She loves showing visitors around town and sharing not only her knowledge, fave spots, and insights but also her contagious enthusiasm and passion for Montreal. Nothing beats being shown around by a true local expert who loves their city!
Meet the Team
Martin has been working as a tour guide for more than 25 years. Over the years, he has had the chance to make several trips (North America, Europe, and Asia) and what fascinates him today is to share the love he has for his hometown city of Montreal with the many visitors he meets. Although he covers a variety of topics during his tours, he has a particular interest in history, architecture, and economics. In his spare time, he loves walking, photography, and tennis. Martin describes himself as curious, passionate, and super friendly. He looks forward to meeting you!
Elise has been a Montrealer, by choice, ever since 2011. She is known for her laugh and her joie de vivre! She loves languages, history, thrifting, and food! She’s actually a (self-proclaimed) poutine expert. Most importantly, she loves Montréal and showing it to visitors!
Amélie is passionate. She loves picnics in the park, bike rides, free concerts and festivals, anything related to food, the great outdoors, and Bollywood. Born on the outskirts of Montreal and an avid traveller, she fell for Montreal only after having visited over 50 countries and now wouldn’t live anywhere else. Amelie loves to talk about its history, but also about the people that make it what it is today. A city is an agglomeration of humans that coexist, share a geographical place, and make it come to life – the result here in Montreal fascinates her.
Thom was born in a hospital on Mount Royal in the middle of a snowstorm. As if that wasn’t “Montreal” enough, his Mom speaks to him in French and his Dad in English. He’s been showing people around the city he loves since 2016. To him, being a tour guide is the best job in the world because he gets to share his passion for the city he loves. The one possible downside is the blow to his ego when he is upstaged by a cute squirrel. When not sharing his passion with visitors, you can usually find him on his way to check out the city’s newest café or hanging out with his husband and his fur-child.
Born in Montreal, Marie-Pier has always felt super attached to her city. Having studied in Visual Arts and Tourism Management at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), she became a licensed Montreal tour guide in 2019. She is faithful to greasy spoon diners for brunch, loves to watch movies at Cinéma du Parc and bikes all over the Island (almost) all year round. In summertime, you’ll see her in Parc Jarry for hang outs & picnics and at Montréal Complètement Cirque – just the best festival ever!
Gabriela is a born and raised Montrealer who grew up on the West side of the island with a Spanish and British-Canadian background. She fell in love with her city at a young age, enamored with the creativity, cultural richness and the uniqueness of its varied neighbourhoods. Her childhood is marked by attending Montréal’s plethora of summer festivals and walks along Sainte-Catherine St. in all seasons. She also knows the RESO Underground network like the back of her hand. She is passionate about sharing her love of her city with visitors and eventually decided to make a career out of it by becoming a tour guide in 2022.
Trained as an architect, Marie-Hellène is an attentive witness to the evolution and transformation of cities by the communities that live there. She has been a resident of Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood long enough to claim to be part of the furniture – she even built her own house there! Her love of discussion and interaction led her to become a tour guide and she enjoys engaging in active conversations with guests about a variety of topics. Marie-Hellène is an avid cyclist and you’ll see her riding a bicycle, year round (yes, even in winter!). Her special talent is that she will talk about the quirkiness of Montreal in a way that will make you want to come back for more.
Born and raised in Montreal, Isabelle is an energetic guide who has a deep passion for sharing her knowledge of her city. She’s from a family whose deep local roots are both French and Irish. Isabelle loves taking you off the beaten path, sharing historical and architectural facts and talking about food – she loves food! As a professionally trained actress at the National Theatre School of Canada, she has a lively flair for bringing historical stories, anecdotes, and legends to life.