Old Montreal is what many visitors come to Montreal for: old cobblestoned streets lined with buildings dating from the 17th through 19th centuries, grand old French restaurants, history museums, and the riverfront Old Port. That's not to say that Old Montreal is completely removed from the rest of Montreal — back a few blocks from the mimes and steakhouses, you'll find warehouses converted to boutique shops and loft apartments.
During the summer, Place Jacques-Cartier is packed with street performers and restaurant terraces overflowing with tourists. Winter presents a much more subdued scene, with bundled figures hurrying from gallery to restaurant to hotel in the cold and snow.
It is a mistake to call Old Montreal the "Old City" or "Old Town". Locals do not call it this, only guide books do.