Montreal (officially Montréal; pop. 3,127,200), city in southern Quebec, Canada, located on the island of Montréal at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers. A major inland port on the St. Lawrence Seaway, Montreal is Canada's largest city. It is named for 764-ft (233-m) Mount Royal, which rises in the city's center. A French mission was built on the site in 1642, which soon become an important fur-trading center. Ceded to Britain in 1763, the city has retained much of its French character. In the 19th century Montreal grew into an important transportation and industrial center, aided by its many natural resources and an abundance of hydroelectric power. It is the site of McGill University and the University of Montreal.