Moving to Montreal can be a major adjustment. But once you get into the swing of things, you’ll realize that the city is amazing in a lot of ways. From the incredible nightlife and food, to multiculturalism and the arts, you’ll fall in love with Montreal in no time. But before heading to this side of Canada, check out 13 things you need to know before relocating to the city of saints.
You don’t need to be bilingual, but it does help
Montreal is an extremely bilingual city. You will meet a plethora of people that speak both English and French but you will also meet some people that only speak French or English. You can get around only knowing English, especially if you’re living in or near the downtown core, Westmount, the Plateau, or Mile End. Just make sure to do your research as some neighbourhoods are much more Francophone than others.
The nightlife in Montreal is really as great as people say
The rumours are true. Montreal nightlife is where it’s at. From the fancy bars in Old Port to the hipster joints of Saint Laurent, there is something happening every night. The bonus? Door cover is either nonexistent or reasonably priced.
When apartment hunting, make sure to consider public transport availability
The public transport system in Montreal isn’t exactly the best. If you are going to be relying on public transit to get places, make sure that your new digs is located close to a metro station, or at the very least, close to one of the more popular bus routes.
Make sure to learn the apartment-hunting lingo
For all the Anglophones reading this, when you spot a sign on a residential building that says ‘a vendre,’ that means there are apartments for sale. But when you see a sign that says ‘a louer,’ that means there are apartments to rent. Additionally, instead of apartment listings saying “1 bedroom apartment for rent,” they will advertise a “3 ½ for rent.” The whole number represents the number of rooms in the entire apartment (including the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms,) and the ½ number signifies the bathroom. Don’t worry, you’ll catch on faster than you think.
Cycling is a key part of the city
Montreal is a cyclist’s paradise. Bike lanes are spread across the city, the introduction of Bixi bikes has been hugely successful, and generally speaking, cycling is a major part of the city’s culture. That being said, cyclists tend to be aggressive here so always be aware of your surroundings, especially when opening your car doors.
Navigating the one-way streets will take some time to learn
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If you plan on driving in Montreal, the number of one-way streets might surprise you. At first they may seem exotic and European, but they will quickly become an obstacle. Realizing which streets run in which direction will be a fun initiation to the city and key for your driving sanity.
The cost of living is extremely low for a major city
Compared to Toronto or Vancouver, Montreal is extremely affordable. Rent, public transit, entertainment, and food are all significantly less expensive than you will find in other provinces in Canada.
Quebec taxes are very high
It may be an affordable city but they get you with the taxes! According to a study conducted by the Fraser Institute, Quebec taxpayers pay some of the highest taxes in North America. For example, if you make a salary of $50,000 per year, you will pay 16.37% in personal income tax in Quebec. Ouch.
5 a 7 is a way of life
Cinq a sept is a way of life in Montreal. Montrealers love leaving work at five to head over to their favourite bar or restaurant and socialize over drinks until seven. Plus, if you’re new to the city, it’s a great way to meet new people. Most bars in the city will offer 5 a 7 specials, so think of it as Montreal’s own personal happy hour.
Montreal is a student city
With McGill, Concordia, UQAM, and U de M located in the city, Montreal is crawling with students. The large student population (over 180,000) keeps the city young and vibrant. Just be sure to avoid the McGill campus during frosh week, things get a little crazy.
Poutine will become your guilty pleasure
With almost every fast food restaurant (including McDonald’s), and even some fancier spots offering poutine in all forms and shapes, this iconic dish is inescapable around here and has become a foodie religion.
It’s easy to make new friends here
One of Montreal’s greatest assets is its people. If you’re moving here and don’t know a single soul don’t worry, you will have a solid crew of friends within weeks. The European and inclusive nature of Montrealers makes getting assimilated here very easy.
People here are ridiculously good looking
You may have heard whispers of how good-looking the population in Montreal is. Well, we are here to confirm that the rumours are true. So if you’re single, brace yourself. That’s all.