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Just for fun, and in recognition of the 50th anniversary of this beachfront hotel in Cape May, NJ, we’ve compiled a list of fast and fun facts about Cape May, NJ and the Montreal Beach Resort hotel!

       Way Back When…

  1. There’s a legend that pirate Captain William Kidd left buried treasure somewhere in Cape May, NJ.
  2. Pirates traveling up the coast regularly dropped anchor on the shores of Cape May, NJ.
  3. The Lenni Lenape were the first to inhabit Cape May.
  4. Cape May was named after a Dutch captain, Cornelius Jacobsen Mey.
  5. Due to a misspelling on the original paperwork, Cape “Mey” became Cape May, NJ.
  6. Dutch used to refer to modern day South Jersey as the “New Netherlands.”
  7. Cape May’s first hotel was the Atlantic House, built in 1791 by Ellis Hughes.
  8. The grand Victorian mansions were built to attract wealthy industrialist and plantation ownerThe 1960’s…
  9. The Cape May Rockets were the city’s first semi-professional sports team.
  10. Fishing was the one of the first and main industries of Cape May.
  11. Cape May was the second largest fishing port on the Eastern seaboard.
  12. West Cape May was known as the ‘unofficial’ Lima Bean capital of the world.
  13. On Memorial Day weekend of 1966, Harry and Sophie Hirsch opened the doors to the Montreal, a beachfront motel in Cape May, NJ.
  14. The Montreal motel beachfront Cape May motel was named by founders Sophie and Harry Hirsch for Cape May’s yearly influx of Canadian visitors.
  15.  When The Montreal motel originally opened, it had only one floor and 27 rooms.
  16. Sophie Hirsch, worked the front desk of the motel. She had never worked at a motel before.
  17. Harry wore many hats when working at the Montreal motel. He was the property manager, maintenance man, even bellhop.
  18.  Those who didn’t know Harry often mistook him for the help.
  19.  During the summer months, the Hirsch family lived together in a small apartment within the motel, where the motel’s meeting room now resides.
  20. In 1964, the first ferry connected Cape May, NJ to the town of Lewes, Delaware.
  21. That same year, the Garden State Parkway was completed. It ran 172 miles and made all seaside towns more accessible to vacationers.
  22. There are Stories that Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad did reconnaissance in Cape May.The 1970’s…
  23. Construction for Washington Street Mall began in spring of 1970.
  24. The Montreal Inn added 15 more rooms in the late 60’s/ early 70’s so that the Cape May beachfront property now stretched 300 feet along Beach Avenue.
  25. In 1971, the Montreal Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge opened its doors.
  26. In 1976, the Cape May Bird Observatory was founded by NJ Audubon.
  27. Harry and Sophie continued to add rooms and floors to the hotel to meet guest demand, expanding it to 70 rooms by the end of the decade, almost three times its original size.
  28. Sophie Hirsch passed away August 23, 1975. She was 49. 

    The 1980’s…

  29. Father of ornithology, Alexander Wilson, traveled to Cape May, NJ to catalogue the birds here to revel in their migratory sweet spot.
  30. In 1984, Pete Dunne launched the “World Series of Birding,” a 24-hour international bird watching championship.
  31. The Montreal Inn’s hotel pool underwent an extensive improvement/expansion.
  32. Cape May Stage was founded in 1988.
  33. The Cape May Music Festival was launched by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts, bringing classical, chamber, jazz and other musical performances to Cape May. 2016 marks its 27th year.The 1990’s…
  34. Mayor Jon Vasser originally sparked the idea of the Lima bean festival in 1985.
  35. Actor Ron Collins made it into the New York Times for winning the bean eating contest with 944 limas in 10 minutes.
  36. The Strawberry and tomato festivals helped shape the family friendly Cape May environment.
  37.  In 1994 Cape May, NJ hosted its first ever Jazz Festival, with performances by Clark Terry, Terrence Blanchard and Chuck Mangione.
  38. Equity Theater Company, founded in 1988, today regularly draws Broadway and even Emmy nominated actors.
  39. Cape May’s Kayaking business, Aqua trails, was founded in 1995 by Mike Bernstein.
  40. The Nature Center of Cape May was founded in 1992.The 2000’s…
  41. New York Times referred to Cape May as “The culinary capital of NJ.”
  42. On May 7, 2010, The Montreal’s restaurant was re-launched under the name Harry’s – a tribute to family patriarch, and hotel founder Harry Hirsch.
  43. Harry did not know about the restaurant’s new name in his honor until opening day.
  44. In the fall of 2010, the Montreal Inn beachfront hotel underwent a complete remodel — the heating and air, electrical and plumbing systems were replaced, as were all furnishings and decor.
  45. On August 20th, 2011, founder Harry Hirsch passed away at 88 years old.
  46. In 2012, the Exit Zero International Jazz Festival was launched; The Montreal is a major supporter.
  47. Cape May was quickly becoming one of the most talked-about resorts on the east coast, earning accolades like “third most popular wedding destination in the U.S.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), “One of America’s top 10 beaches” (Travel Channel), and “One of the 10 coolest small towns in America” (Budget Travel).
  48. The Montreal added its Beach Club in 2012.
  49. With the addition of beach service, the Montreal became more than just a hotel within a resort; it became a resort within a resort, and was rebranded as such in 2014 – from the Montreal Inn to the Montreal Beach Resort.
  50. Half a century after its founding, the Cape May, NJ Montreal Beach Resort is now a three-generational family beachfront operation.

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