Thinking of moving to Montreal? Well, as we say…’bienvenue!’
We already told you everything you should know before packing for Toronto, but we think we’ve got them (easily) beat.
Just this year, Montreal was ranked as one of the world’s best places in the world to live by the Economist says as well as the best city in Canada to be a student as reported by the Global News. We also can’t forget one of our favourite restaurants, Joe Beef, was placed in the World’s Best 100 (just the tip of the culinary iceberg if you ask us).
But aside from all the great rankings, there’s a lot more you need to know about our fair city before you decide to pack up everything you own to move here. In fact, these 20 things will prepare you with your move:
1. There is always construction here. And it’s bad. Very bad. Especially in summer.
Get ready to experience road rage like never before. Construction seems to be a never ending story around the city. With major tourist streets like Peel closed all summer for road work and new buildings popping up at an insane rate, be prepared for traffic on every corner.
2. Parking tickets are handed out like candy at a kid’s birthday.
It’s a running joke around Montreal that parking cops literally hide behind bushes ready to pounce on your car the minute your ticket expires. When our Montreal Manager first moved to the city, she accumulated a total of 20 parking tickets in a 3-month span due to hidden and confusing signage all over the city. Merci, Montreal.
3. We are a highly multicultural community.
While Toronto tends to grabs the headlines as Canada’s most diverse city, Montreal has become extremely cosmopolitan with a third of our population having been born outside the country. That means your circle of friends could soon consist of Jewish, Italian, Lebanese, and Greek peeps – if it doesn’t already.
4. You can actually afford to buy or rent a decent place here.
According to an RBC report on housing trends and affordability, buying property in Quebec is more affordable now than it has been in almost a decade. A far cry from the salary you need to avoid living in a shack on the west coast.
5. You don’t need to speak French, but it helps. A lot.
As bi-lingual as Montreal is and as many Anglophones as you’ll find, French is still the dominate language and a huge asset, not least of which when you’re dealing with anything government related. Ask any young professional here that hasn’t learned French about a negative experience they’ve had with language laws, and you’ll get stories for days. A little hint? At the very least, learn the basics; people here appreciate when you make a small effort.
6. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be in heaven here.
With our very own Joe Beef ranking as the 80th Best Restaurant in the World, and a plethora of world-class foodie spots opening all over the city faster than you can down a plate of fresh calamari, it’s easy to see why people from around the world come here to eat…and never leave.
7. July 1st is official moving day.
To the rest of Canada, the first of July is spent celebrating Canada Day but here it’s time to pack up. Somehow, July 1st has un-officially officially become “Moving Day’ – the time when thousands of Montrealers move to new homes. Our advice? Plan to move before or after this day, it’s a complete sh*t show.
8. There is something going on every. single. night.
Bars, restaurants, and nightspots basically seem to close when they feel like it. That’s right, don’t expect the uptight nature of Vancouver where as soon as the clock strikes 2am all bets are off. Even Mondays here are never boring.
9. Montreal is the student capital of North America.
Home to 180,000 university students, Montreal is known for its first class academia. Montreal has the highest concentration of post-secondary students of all major cities in North America (4.38 students per 100 residents, followed by Boston at 4.37 students per 100 residents.) Party on, Wayne.
10. It’s a stylish place.
Montrealers always make a serious effort to look good. Whether working from a coffee shop during the day or gracing the streets at night, you’ll rarely see Uggs and sweats around here.
11. Be prepared to pay higher taxes…
According to a new study by the Fraser Institute, Quebec taxpayers are paying some of the highest taxes in North America. The study revealed that taxes in Quebec – especially personal income tax – are disproportionate to averages across Canada and the United States. To put things in perspective, if you’re making $50,000 a year, you will pay 16.37 per cent in personal income taxes, the highest rate among all Canadian provinces and U.S. states. Start saving those pennies.
12. Cyclists are pretty damn aggressive.
If you’re ever planning on owing a car in Montreal, there will be at least one instance when you encountered a cyclist that is on a mad dash to who knows where and isn’t taking any prisoners. Keep an eye out, especially when it comes to opening your car doors (aka dooring).
13. You can (and will) actually get a ticket for jaywalking.
A whooping $156 for crossing the street on any light other than a green…even a yellow can be a close call. Don’t take the risk – it’s literally not worth it.
14. Smoking is still cool here.
Well, at least it’s still accepted. Perhaps it’s Montreal’s European nature and the old-school sex appeal that comes with cigarette smoking but people here enjoy a tar-filled puff more than most other Canadian cities.
15. People won’t think you’re weird if you eat poutine for breakfast, lunch or and dinner.
Quebec’s national dish is a plate full of fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Yes it’s as good as it sounds and can be eaten at any time without guilt.
16. Hockey is a religion.
And unlike some other Canadian cities, here, our religion actually has reason for hope. Also, don’t wear a Boston jersey. Ever.
17. Beer here is cheaper than anywhere else in Canada.
That’s right brew lovers, a 2-4 of Molson can be purchased for a measly $26.99. Now we’re not mathematicians but we are drunk.
18. Our Old Town is like something out of Europe.
Cobblestone roads, horse-drawn carriages, and beautiful cafes, restaurants, and architecture all reminiscent of old Europe can be found just a short drive from downtown Montreal in the Old Port.
19. There are neighbourhoods for everyone and everything.
Whether you prefer to live a posh lifestyle or want to immerse yourself in hipsterville, Montreal has something for everyone. From the swanky Westmount to the cool streets of the Mile End, you will never be bored here.
20. Finding a family doctor is nearly impossible unless you have connections.
There is a serious shortage here when it comes to family physicians accepting new patients so brace yourself for having a difficult time finding one unless you know a friend of a friend who has a doctor in the family or live in the affluent Westmount.