Frequently Asked Questions

Not seeing an answer to your question below? Don’t worry! Contact us and we’ll be in touch promptly to respond to any questions or concerns you may have for MTL Detours and our tours.

Why should you book with MTL Detours instead of another tour company?

We are the walking tour specialists in Montreal! We only offer fun and informative walking tours and don’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades. Our groups are small – only 10–12 people, depending on the tour – which ensures a personal, intimate experience where you can easily interact with your local guide and the other tour guests. We’re able to take you to off-the-beaten-path spots which are inaccessible to larger tour groups. MTL Detours only works with the best, engaging and fun guides in Montreal, and we are proud to generously compensate them for their highly sought-after knowledge and expertise (we pay some of the highest wages in the city). You’re on vacation, you’re our special guests, and we’ll make sure you have a great time with us!

MTL Detours is a 100% locally owned and operated small independent tour company – founded in and based in Montreal. Some other tour companies are multi-city conglomerates who are based in a foreign country. We are huge advocates for buying local! Booking directly with local businesses like us provides a more authentic experience, has a more positive impact on the destination and contributes to the local economy. 

On another side note, please always book tour & travel arrangements directly with the local supplier on their dedicated website rather than booking on sites like Viator, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Get Your Guide, Airbnb etc…These huge, anonymous online marketplaces keep substantial commissions (30-40%!). By booking directly with the local supplier, you are directly supporting a local independent small business and supporting the local community. Those commissions stay in our coffers, allow us to retain the full value of our tour product and help us to grow! Thank you for your support and for spreading the word!

What should I wear? What should I bring?

Comfortable clothing and footwear are essential! These are walking tours, so be extra nice to your feet by wearing your comfiest shoes.

In summer, a hat could be a good idea to protect you from the sun. An umbrella/poncho is a great idea if rain is in the forecast.

For tours that go into the Underground City – you will be walking indoors for the majority of the tour, so no need for that winter hat or winter jacket while inside. You can remove your winter items and carry them, or perhaps bring a bag or backpack to transport them. We recommend that you dress in layers in wintertime, so you can remove heavier garments while indoors and replace them when you go back outside.

For tours during the winter season – please dress appropriately for a true Canadian winter (aka COLD). Be sure to have a proper winter coat, winter boots, a winter hat, winter gloves/mittens, a scarf or neck warmer, and wool socks. Avoid cotton and try to dress in layers, with your base layer being a wicking material. Winter tours are tailored to be a mix of indoor and outdoor stops – you are not constantly outside. If you have questions about what to wear in the winter, please contact us!

Also bring:

  • You should bring your camera/cell phone to take photos
  • Your beautiful smile and positive attitude
  • Some water to stay hydrated (please be green with your own reusable bottle and avoid disposable plastic water bottles, if possible – merci).
  • Some cash to tip your guide 😉
  • During COVID times – please bring your own mask and hand sanitizer

What do we do in the case of rain or bad weather?

We operate in all weather conditions. Our tours are held rain, shine, or snow. We are very quick to adapt the tour should the outdoor elements warrant it. Please check the weather forecast and dress/prepare accordingly. Be sure to have an umbrella/poncho for rain, hat + sunscreen for hot sunny days, winter clothing for winter tours etc… Only very extreme weather conditions (i.e. violent or dangerous) will warrant the cancellation or rescheduling of a tour, at our discretion. If we need to cancel due to weather, you will receive a full refund.

Are children allowed?

Yes, children 12 years old and up can participate (same standard rate as adults) Our walking tours consist of 2–3 hours of walking and cover a lot of ground. You are the best person to judge if your child will enjoy an active walking tour or not. If you have a younger youngster (under 12), please contact us to see if we can accommodate you/them. You can always book a private tour with us for a personalized family experience.

Are pets allowed?

We love animals! But please check with us first before showing up with your furry friend! Contact us beforehand, and we’ll see if we can accommodate you (restrictions may apply).

Do I need to tip my guide?

A tip/gratuity is a customary way to show your guide that you enjoyed your tour and their hard work. Although optional, they are greatly appreciated! The standard gratuity in the Canadian service industry is 15%-20% (+/- $10 per person). Lesley and her fellow guides thank you in advance for your generosity 🙂

Are bathrooms available during the tour?

Yes, at least one bathroom break is scheduled during the tour. However, it’s always a good idea to take care of business before the start of the tour.

Where does my tour start?

Please refer to the Our Tours section. Select your tour and consult the Logistics tab. Kindly arrive 10 minutes in advance and note that our tours always start on time (we do not wait for latecomers).

Is there parking available?

Maybe? We very strongly encourage guests to take public transportation to get to the tour start location. Precise location details are provided in the tour description. We have an excellent public transit system, and Metro (subway) and bus are great ways to get around Montreal. Taxi or Uber is another option. Street parking may be available, but be sure to check for parking meters or restrictions. If you need to find a pay parking lot, check out Parkopedia online.

What are your COVID-19 safety protocols?

MTL Detours is committed to offering a safe and pleasant experience to all participants. Any government-mandated rules or restrictions will be respected by the guide and the group. Guests are bound to and agree to follow any regulations that are in place at the time of their tour. Currently, wearing a mask is optional, but is highly recommended for entering any indoor public space.

What's your cancellation, change and refund policy?

Our small-group tours are 100% refundable up to 24 hours before the tour start time. We have very limited capacity on our tours. Please be mindful that the later you wait to cancel, the harder it is for us to fill your spots. If you cancel less than 24 hours ahead of time or do not show up for the date and time that you booked, unfortunately, any sums paid will be 100% non-refundable. Bookings made less than 24 hours before the tour start time are 100% non-refundable. Changes less than 24 hours before the tour start time are not permitted. Last minute date/time change requests due to weather are not accepted. No-shows, bookings for incorrect dates/times and late arrivals are not eligible for refunds. We can try to fit you onto another tour, pending availability, but cannot guarantee this option. If you can’t make it, please contact us in advance to notify of your absence.

If you booked your tour via a 3rd party site like Viator/TripAdvisor/Get Your Guide etc… – you must contact them directly for any cancellation or change requests. We do not have access to their systems and we cannot process these types of requests from our side. Your confirmation email received from them at the time of your booking will contain their contact information. The same policy as above applies.

On a side note, please always book tour & travel arrangements directly with the local supplier on their dedicated website rather than booking on sites like Viator, TripAdvisor, Expedia, Get Your Guide, Airbnb etc…These online marketplaces keep substantial commissions (up to 30-40%!). By booking directly with us – the local supplier – you are directly supporting a local independent small business and supporting the local community. Those commissions stay in our coffers, allow us to retain the full value of our tour product and help us to grow! Thank you for your support and for spreading the word!

Our cancellation policy for private and custom tours is 72 hours but can vary and will be specified at time of booking.

Who are your guides and what kind of training do they have?

We have carefully hand-picked all of our guides for their passion for Montreal, their fun and engaging personalities and their high level of knowledge and expertise. All of our guides have passed the mandatory tour guide training program at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, possess their City of Montreal guide permit license and are members of the Montréal Professional Tourist Guide Association (APGT). To learn more about our amazing local ambassadors, check out the Meet the Team part of the About Us section. Illegal tour guides are a serious problem in Montreal. If you are doing tours with other operators, please be diligent in verifying their credentials and refuse the service of illegal, unlicensed guides.

Are tours accessible for people with mobility restrictions and serious health issues?

Our tours are sadly not wheelchair accessible. Guests with mobility restrictions, impairments or serious health issues should inquire about the possibility of booking a private tour. Our regular tour routes involve a lot of walking at a decent pace. Depending on the tour/season, there may be cobblestones, stairs, escalators, snow, ice etc… Please contact us to discuss your situation and see if we can set up a private tour that can accommodate your special needs.

Is there a minimum/maximum tour group size?

Yes! You definitely want to be a special guest on one of our small-group tours. We cap our tours at a maximum of 10–12 people depending on the tour to ensure that it is a more personal experience. Our tour size is a huge bonus due to the high level of interaction between guide and guests. You are not part of a larger anonymous herd as is the case with other tour companies. We generally require a minimum of 2 people to operate a tour. Should there be an issue with the date/time that you have booked, you will be contacted as soon as possible and offered either a full refund or a chance to rebook a different tour. (Kindly note that due to logistical reasons, we may occasionally have to increase the tour size by one or two participants. This is very rare and usually only occurs if we have two concurrent tours with an odd number of guests ex. a group of 9 and a group of 11. Thank you for your understanding)

Does the tour start and end at the same place?

No, not necessarily. Check each individual tour description Logistics tab for more details on the route and end point.

How much walking do we do?

Our walking tours generally consist of 2 to 3 hours of walking. We cover a lot of ground on our tours, so you can see as much as possible. There is usually a quick stop or two to rest your feet, if needed, but most of the tour is either walking or standing. Benches are occasionally available along the routes to sit down for a moment.

Do I need to purchase tickets in advance?

Yes, advance ticket purchase is required. Tours typically sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the date, time, and number of tickets you prefer, please book well in advance. We do not accept walk-up bookings. If you are unable to book online, it means the tour is full and we cannot take more guests.

What language will my tour be given in?

All tours are currently offered in English. Other languages might be available as a private tour. Please inquire and we’ll see if we can set you up!

Do you offer private tours?

Yes! We will be more than happy to customize a private tour for you according to your requirements. Please contact us to discuss your needs.

Can I take photos, video or audio recordings during my tour?

Taking some photos is permitted but please be mindful to not disturb your guide or other guests (aka don’t be paparazzi!) Filming video and recording audio is strictly forbidden at all times.