The village is world-famous for the Château Montebello resort, the largest log structure ever built. The resort was the host for the 1983 NATO Nuclear Planning Group, and the 1981 G7 Economic Summit.
Parc Omega, a large drive-through wildlife park, is just to the north in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours.
Since 2005, it also hosts the Amnesia Rockfest, which has become Canada's largest rock festival. Past performers include System of a Down, Blink-182, Alice Cooper, The Offspring, Korn, Marilyn Manson, Linkin Park, Rise Against and Dream Theater.
Non-native settlement of the area began when the land of the Petite Nation Seigneury was purchased by Joseph Papineau in 1801. Later in 1817, Louis-Joseph Papineau inherited the property and starting in 1846, built the Manor of Montebello, which is now a National Historic Site in the national park system, operated by Parks Canada. The Family Museum, (c. 1880) which is on the national Register of Historic Places, is next to Manoir Papineau, on the grounds of the National Historic Site.
Louis-Joseph is credited with giving the name "Monte-Bello" to the location in 1854 as tribute to Napoleon-Auguste Lannes, Duke of Montebello (1801-1874), French diplomat and foreign minister in 1839, with whom he had become acquainted during his exile in France from 1839 to 1845.
In 1855, the village got its post office. In 1878, it separated from the Parish Municipality of Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours-de-la-Petite-Nation and formed the Village Municipality of Montebello. On August 2, 2003, its statutes were changed and it became the Municipality of Montebello.
On August 20–21, 2007, the President of the United States (George W. Bush), the Prime Minister of Canada (Stephen Harper), and the President of Mexico (Felipe Calderón) held a major trilateral summit meeting, in relation to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, at the Château Montebello. A diverse group numbering more than 1,200 protestors opposed the SPP meeting. The group included labour unions, environmental activists, political parties and NGOs.
Private dwellings (occupied by usual residents): 457