Quebec’s most famous spot and one of Canada’s top destinations, this city remains unrivaled in many aspects. Living in Montreal has many positives, and people from all over the continent come each year to study, find employment, or simply enjoy life in this bustling metropolis. If you’re interested in what life looks like in one of Canada’s most intriguing cities, stick with us because we’ll go through all the major aspects of the Montreal experience.
MTL is the largest city in the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec and its major economic center. It is also famed for its top-notch universities and art, so it attracts students and creators from all corners of the world. It is infused with influences from both French and English culture, and its multicultural appeal continues to amaze expats looking for a home away from home.
Basic Things to Know About Montreal
As we have already stated, this Canadian province of Quebec is the second most populated city in one of the friendliest countries in the world. Established as Ville-Marie or “City of Mary” in 1642, it is named after Mount Royal, which is located in the center of the city. The area is based on the Island of Montreal and on a few much smaller neighboring islands, of which Île Bizard is the largest. The city sits 122 miles east of the capital Ottawa, and 160 miles south-west of the provincial capital, Quebec City.
Is Moving to Montreal a Good Idea?
People chose to move here for a variety of motives. Some are attracted by excellent education opportunities and the low cost of rent, while others fall in love with its mesmerizing artistic spirit. And for many, it is the spot where they can find a balance between work and enjoyment since it is more laid-back than its relatively close neighbor Toronto but still competitive. But, whatever your reasons for moving to Canada are, this is a place to consider since its diversity is truly remarkable.
Pros and Cons of Life in Montreal
Moving overseas is always exciting and makes people feel a little nervous because learning how to move to another country entails finding out about both the positives and negatives of where you’re heading to. But, there’s no reason to worry if you’re thinking about living in Montreal since it is a spectacular ride and the pros outweigh the cons in the opinion of many.
Pros of Being a Montrealer
Relocating here has many positives, and some of them are so great they seem to be almost too good to be true.
- The cost of living in Montreal is lower than in other Canadian centers, which makes it one of the cheapest places to live in Canada,
- It was proclaimed the cultural capital of Canada because of its vibrant cultural life,
- It is ranked among the top cities to eat in North America by all leading gastronomical magazines,
- It is host to many summer festivals, attracting leading artists and performers,
- It is alive in winter too and provides fun all year long,
- Nature and public parks are second to none,
- The cycling network is among the best in the country,
- Education is unrivaled, making it one of the best places to live abroad with family,
- There are many government-funded facilities where you can learn French from native speakers.
Cons of Staying in MTL
Still, it is never all milk and honey, so the town has got some downsides too.
- The infrastructure is deteriorating since the government hasn’t invested in this aspect for a while and has started seriously fixing it only recently,
- The roads are also shabby, and repairs cause traffic jams and congestions,
- One is obliged to pay federal taxes as well as progressive provincial taxes for income and property, and these can get quite high,
- It can get tricky to find employment for those who struggle with breaking the language barrier since there is a strong insistence on bilingualism,
- The winter weather can get freezing, with minimum temperatures even falling to 14°F (-10°C), so don’t forget your winter gear by any means.
Relocating to MTL – Getting Into Quebec Canada
Unlike other provinces where the immigration quotas are determined by federal law, Quebec has its own immigration acts and policies. If you want to relocate and work in the province’s largest city, you can apply for one of the following programes:
- Obtaining a work permit for temporary workers if you’re not fluent in French,
- The Regular Skilled Worker Program if you believe you can contribute to the economy of the province,
- Business Program – if you’re an established entrepreneur or investor,
- Family reunification – if you’re moving to another country for love or you’ve got a family member in the Great White North,
- The Quebec Experience Program – for experienced workers with native or near-native knowledge of French who have been working in the province for at least two years,
- Foreign Student Program – if you wish to study at one of the acclaimed local universities.
To find out more about the procedure, documents needed to travel abroad, in this case to MTL, and the criteria of admission, take a look at the following video.
Is It Expensive to Live in Montreal?
The cost of living here is actually better than in the other Canadian metropolitan areas. According to Numbeo, a person needs 1K CAD (around 770 USD) per month without rent for various expenses. That is 22% lower than Toronto cost of living but higher than the average expenses in smaller Quebecois towns. The housing costs are competitive, and you can rent or find property at a reasonable price (renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center will set you back about 930 USD.) Other costs vary depending on your spending priorities, but the great news is that entertainment and eating out are so diverse here that you’re bound to find something you’ll like within your price range.
What Is Considered a Good Salary in Montreal?
Province’s art capital is known for its high potential key business sectors, as well as educational progressiveness and cutting edge research in technology and finance. If you have a successful career and you’re interested in employee relocation, try to think of the right relocation questions to ask the employer. According to government statistics, the city’s got an ever-increasing employment rate with numerous job vacancies. The average salary is 2,450 USD per month, according to Numbeo, but if you dream of more business success, it’s the place to be.
How Safe Is MTL?
Safety is key whether you’re moving abroad alone or you’d want to raise a family in the new home. Lucky for you, the crime rate is quite low, and this is one of the safest places on the continent. You don’t have to worry if you’re returning from late-night outings, and there is a large number of good neighborhoods where you can find your place.
Montreal’s Safest and Best Neighborhoods
The city boasts many excellent quarters and places that cater to all your needs. Artists, entrepreneurs, families, and singles create the cityscape and add to its corners the life and excitement that can inspire you to stay. Some of the best Montreal neighborhoods with the lowest level of crime include:
- Wealthy neighborhoods such as Westmount – ideal if you’re moving with pets for their greenery,
- Hip and modern areas such as the Mile End where one can hear languages from every continent and meet all kinds of artists in pursuit of giving the old ideas a new meaning,
- Classical historic sites such as Old Montreal where you’ll feel like you’re in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The area’s exquisite architecture, cobbled streets, small cafes, and European charm are guaranteed to make you feel like you’re traveling through time,
- Family-friendly places such as Plateau-Mont-Royal were adjusting to a new country for your kids will be a piece of cake. Superb parks, excellent schooling, and outstanding cultural events create plenty of opportunity for learning a language abroad and leave little time for disappointment or moaning over how to keep in touch with friends.
- Brossard is a home of nearly 80,000 people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The more affordable price point, mostly due to the vast number of semi-detached homes, is one explanation for its popularity.
- Pointe-Claire is located in the suburbs, and it is still on the island, making it a popular place for commuters, especially those who want an outdoor area and a larger home.
The Language Barrier – Living in Montreal Without Speaking French
Many people wonder how important is French in Montreal and whether they need it to live and be full members of the community. And truth to tell, living in Montreal Canada, is possible without the knowledge of it. Still, fluency in the language is a huge plus, and your experience of moving internationally will be enriched if you dust off your dictionary and start picking up tips for learning a new language. You’ll have better employment and social opportunities if you speak la belle langue. And if you’re scared you can’t achieve it; there’s no reason to worry. There are many government-funded courses available, and people in one of the friendliest countries in the world will be happy to help you on your journey. Make use of language cafes and all the networking events here to hone your language skills because there won’t be a better way to learn French.
Getting Around Montreal Without a Car
If you don’t want to worry about shipping a car overseas or if you prefer a healthier and more active lifestyle, you’re coming to the right place. Though Monreal has an excellent public transport network and the pass for it is fairly inexpensive (about 65 USD), it is also a paradise for cyclists. With over 200 miles of bike paths and cycling routes, you’re bound to stay fit while living overseas. And, if you’re planning day trips away from the metropolis to rest and change the scenery, you’ll also find alternatives to cars for almost all top destinations. Finally, if you start wishing you had an auto, there are excellent car-sharing options, which free you from many responsibilities and give you back the pleasure of driving.
MTL is Bicycle Friendly Community
Here’s a great tip if you are moving to this city: you can rely on your bicycle for another form of transport. This city was named the best city in North America for cycling in 2013. It lost that position in the following years, but it remains ranked among the world’s top bicycle-friendly cities. Furthermore, it was the only Canadian city to be named on that list. All in all, cycle lanes are isolated from car traffic and safe for biking.
Things to Do in All Weathers
Though it’s notorious for its long and cold winters, like the rest of the Great White North, you can find some fun-packed activities regardless of the season. Apart from the classical leisure activities that are part of every moving abroad checklist, such as strolling in nature, visiting museums, concerts, restaurants, and similar things, the Northern city of light has some unique pastimes that give it the real edge vs other nearby places. Here are a couple of our favorites.
Enjoy a Moveable Feast at Farmers’ Markets
If you’re learning how to live in another country, these true culinary gems will surely complement your moving abroad experience. In summer, you can explore outdoor venues and indulge in a wide choice of fresh organic produce. You can find crunchy bagels, aromatic spices, and the highest-quality organic meat here, and if you’re vegan, one of the best vegan cities won’t let you down either. You’ll leave content and inspired to come back to some of the best farmers’ markets. In winter, you can also drop by and have a warm cup of coffee or mulled wine in some of the gastro corners they all have.
Buy Beer in the Famous Montreal Corner Stores
If you don’t like nightlife but want a beer, in corner stores named dépanneurs, you can buy it whenever you like. Some of them even turned it up to the next level by introducing craft beer rooms, sushi bars, and snack shops. Overall, nothing beats having a cold beer just around the corner from your home on a humid day.
Go Back to the Roots and Visit Biodome
If you’ve ever dreamt of exploring the jungle or the Prairies, you might live out your dream for a day. The Biodome is a recreation of the continent’s tropical and marine ecosystems, and it’s home to fabulous animal and plant species. But if you’re moving to Canada with pets, they better sit this one out. You know what they say, three’s a crowd.
Wish Upon a Star at la Grande Roue de Montréal
The city’s illuminated wheel celebrates its 375. birthday and it is one of the main attractions. The biggest Ferris wheel in the country is situated at the heart of the old town, and it gives you a chance to enjoy the panoramic views and cityscapes day and night. It’s spectacular if you’re moving during the holidays, but it is always a great spot to come to if you want some alone time to think or an attraction to wow visitors.
Is Montreal a Good Place to Live?
All in all, if you’re looking for fun times, the North-American Paris won’t let you down. Make sure you find a reliable international moving company and schedule your free survey on time. Arrange boxes and moving supplies, packing services, custom crating for your valuables, storage, or anything else you might need, so you can successfully finish your international moving adventure and fully commit to the new phase of your life. Don’t let your dream remain distant and unreached. Take the first step and plunge into the unknown.