Going to the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Going to the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

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    I’ve only been to the race once (2011 year of the rain) so I may not be as expertish as others but here is my take. Unless I was broke and still desperate to go to the race I wouldn’t consider buying GA tickets. If you are serious about racing and want to actually watch the race the GA areas would be very disappointing. The track is relatively flat so you can’t sit up on a hill, spread out your blanket and have great views of the track like you can at many European/Asian tracks. You are pretty much limited to high speed sections and you’ll be level with the track so you’ll literally see the cars going by so fast that it isn’t worth it. Plus the GA spots where you can actually see stuff fill up almost immediately so you’d need to be at the gates an hour before they open. If you only plan to go on Sunday and you’re more of a casual fan, GA would suit you fine otherwise spring for the Grandstand. I sat in Bronze 34 in 2011 and thought it was great. You get a view of the full hairpin and you get to see the cars brake hard from 185MPH down to 35MPH, then hard on the throttle for the fastest straight on the circuit. It is awesome to watch and hear. They advertise this section as a “mechanical symphony” and it truly is. Apparently the atmosphere is a bit more “festive” at this end of the track (drinking and pot smoking) but I didn’t see anyone being rowdy. If you’re a racing fan I really don’t think the prices are unreasonable considering there is so much going on all 3 days, there is more than just F1.

    As far as Crescent St , I’m not a real party guy plus I go to the race solo so I’m not someone who gets totally into the street party but I did go on Saturday evening in 2011. It was pretty cool to see cars up close, they had lots of vendor booths, there was a DJ spinning records, it was a very fun atmosphere. That being said, I stayed for about 90 minutes and then went to the movies. I didn’t go to any bars or restaurants but they all looked packed from the outside. The city really does embrace racing, even the drivers have rated the atmosphere very high.

    As far as lodging I stayed off the island in Boucherville and drove to the Longueuil train station each day. To me this was the perfect plan but if you prefer to stay in the action, staying in Montreal would better suit you. Another advantage of coming in from the Longueuil station earlier in the day was at the end of the day 99% the 120,000 people flooding into the train station at the circuit are heading into Montreal whereas 1% are going towards Longueuil which is the last stop on the line. It was relatively painless leaving. My hotel on the mainland was about half of what you’d pay in Montreal.

    I will be attending again this year and I’m really looking forward to it. Less than 6 weeks to go.


    I will also be attending my first ever Formula 1 race this year, going to drive up from the states on that Thursday/Friday morning. Already got my tickets booked for Grandstand 34, and hotel is all set too. Now just patiently counting down the days.
    I’ve only recently gotten into Formula 1 (always watched off and on, but started watching religiously last season), but I’ve been a long time motorsports fan, and I’ve been to numerous Nascar and Indycar races. I’m used to races and all the nuances that go along with them, but I’m just wondering is there anything “unique” so to say that I should look out for, or should know, before going to my first F1 race? Also, is there a general merchandise area for Formula 1 gear and booths at the track, much like you get at motorsports events here in the states? And where would that be located? Thanks in advance!

    Alex green

    @amnjg24f Yeah theres plenty merchandise etc,at all the races theres a tented village and youll find all the team shirts etc there,also theres a budweiser stage wheres theres theres girls etc throwing tshirts into the crowd at circuit gilles,follow the signs its usually on the way down to stand 31,turn left after the entrance points,its about a 20-25min walk if your tickets are for any of the first corner complex to get to your seat,
    think i posted previous but after qualy or the race head to the top bar in the casino(it was getting refurbished last year) and grab a beer some food and let the crowd thin out,then grab a cab or walk to the metro station to take you back into the city


    Hi all – I’m thinking about treating my SO to the grand prix for his bday. I read through the 2012 thread as well as this one and was wondering if there is a significant difference in experience for between GS 11/12 vs GS 33 price points. Also, how can I find the difference in seat sections for each GS? Which section for which GS would be preferable? Any advice would be much appreciated!


    I’ve just bought my gold trio tickets (although the official website claims that they’re sold out, they’re still available on Admission, the Canadian version of Ticketmaster that is the official vendor). Can’t wait! Any plans for an F1 Fanatic meetup?


    Thanks a lot for the advice Alex. And I take it prices of merchandise at the track are the same as you would find at the F1 website, or individual team websites? Will definitely check out the Casino though, would probably be the smart thing to do.

    Also, there seems to be a few different streets that have activities on Friday and Saturday night in regards to Formula 1 fans and booths and exhibits. Any recommendations on which ones to see, or maybe which ones have more/less of a party scene then the others?

    Alex green

    @AMNJG24F Prices are about the same,there might be a small mark up as teams use a currency converter to there benefit obviously,as for street parties it all happens on crescent/peel street,usually a stage with live music so best get into a bar for your space early and a couple of streets over theres an irish pub,sorry cant remember the street or the name of the pub but it was the only irish bar on that street a lot of the journos and thoose loosely connected with the paddock tend to hang around in ,decent for a wee bit of gossip ,also last year there was a “dinner in the sky” down by cirque de solais (spelling) in the french quarter/old town that i went up,that was good fun eating at around 50m up in the sky
    Enjoy i mentioned earlier montreal is my favourite gp to attend and i honestly cant believe ive swapped it for austin this year


    There will be tons of merchandise stands around the track. It’s too expensive though, just buy them off ebay. You’ll pay way less.

    As for seating, the silver grandstands are usually in places with more action & a better view of the cars. It depends on which grandstand you want though. Not every “section” within every “grandstand” is amazing.

    For Grandstand 11:
    -sections for 1-4 are the best (lower section number is better)

    For Grandstand 12:
    Sections 5-7 are best (higher section number gives a better view)

    For Grandstand 24:
    -I think sections 2-4 would be best (closest to apex of hairpin)

    If you want specifics of why I’m saying those sections in the grandstands let me know.
    The main streets are always Crescent (blocked off for events) & Peel Street. Sometimes St-Laurent street is blocked off with events also.

    There are so many good restaurants & pubs in Montreal you can find anything. Let me know what you guys are looking for.
    Unique things to lookout for during the weekend for first timers?
    -Bring the essentials with you, bottle of water, umbrella?, snacks?
    -Take time to walk around the track & get different vantage points
    -If you have seats in GS 1,2,3 or 11-12. Walk down the back straight & get some videos of the car braking into the last chicane. It’s amazing. (usually security doesn’t allow people without tickets to those sections down towards the Senna Curve but try anyway).

    There’s a ton of connected underground shopping/stores throughout downtown:
    -Les Cours Montreal
    -Eaton Center

    If you are in town for long enough or have children you guys can go to the Six Flags theme park on the island beside the F1 track.

    In the old port:
    Montreal Science Center


    Use youtube for videos of the different grandstands. Best way to get an idea.


    @Andrew Minett We went to the Canadian GP last year with our daughter who was two years old at the time (and ended up having chicken pox when we were over there!) We did have to pay for her Grandstand Seat (GS33) and it was a full adult price that we had to pay. It was a bit of a waste of money as she ended up sitting on my lap asleep for most of qualifying and the race. You do need to buy a ticket as each time you enter the grandstand you will be checked that you have your tickets for everyone in your party, so I don’t think there is a way of getting around it. Little tip, if you haven’t bought your tickets yet then try and get some seats at the end of the row. When Charlotte got a bit restless it was easier sitting there so we didn’t annoy people with moving in and out of the row as there is not much space. I was quite conscience that she would kick the person sitting infront of her so she did sit on the steps at the edge of the grandstand at times. Everyone commented on how well she behaved she was, mostly because she was asleep during the race!

    There are plenty of people selling ice-cream and drinks next to the grandstand, and there are also lots of toilets incase your wee one needs a pit stop!

    Have a great time! We all had a brilliant weekend and my daughter still talks about waving her Scottish flag at the “fast cars” and shouting “Go Paul Go” although she really likes Lewis!

    Let me know if you have any other questions.



    Has anyone seen the full schedule of events with the times of the support races etc? I could have sworn I saw it a while back because I remember being disappointed that the historic GP cars weren’t on the schedule. I’d appreciate a copy and paste or a link to the event schedule.


    Me and a few friends are going to the race this year and have seats in GS-11 Section 5 (about 19 rows up seats 1, 2 and 3, next to Section 4). We anticipate these being fairly good seats according to Youtube videos and input from others. We went in 2011 but were on the other side of the track at the hairpin. Any input on our seat selection?

    Does anyone know if backpacks will be permitted this year, figure it’s a good question to ask after the Boston Marathon? Figured I’d call in about a week or so for the latest info but wasn’t sure if someone here knew.

    In 2011 we had a fanvision, since we can’t get those does anyone have any suggestions for portable radios? It will be 3 people and I’m not sure if it’s easier to get a small radio with splitters for headphones or just get my own radio headphone set?

    Looking forward to this years race!

    Mark O’Donnell

    I was in Section 5 and it was brilliant.


    All the info the track is here: https://www.circuitgillesvilleneuve.ca/schedule

    GS 11 Section 5 is very good. but sections 1&2 the best in that grandstand. In my opinion THE BEST seats are Grandstand 12 section 6 & 7. You see them exiting the final chicane & run up the small hill into turn 3.

    I’m sure backpacks will be allowed, no news here in Montreal yet if they have banned them. I think most people would be upset with not being able to bring bags. Not everyone wants to pay 5$ for a hotdog.


    George O’Donnell

    Thank you for posting the schedule!

    I’d like to know roughly how long it takes to get into the circuit. My only other experience of this sort of event was Valencia last year and I don’t think that was at all typical because the Spanish people only turned up for the quali and race so there was no trouble getting in just before the sessions began. I’d imagine that the Canadian fans are a bit more keen to get to the track , so curious how long the queues are, how long it takes to get in, any insight about which entrances are quick to access the circuit?

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