When it comes to Canadian cities, no one has ever mistaken Montréal for a sleeping giant. MTL, as it is affectionately known among locals, is the country’s second-most populous city and the most populous in Quebec. With a population north of 1.7 million people, the city named in honor of the stunning Mount Royal offers residents a nearly endless array of benefits and reasons for sticking around. If you’re considering a move, you’ll want to keep reading as we recap the top five reasons why Canadians love living in Montréal.
1. Cost of living is reasonable
A city the size of Montréal will always pale in comparison to a small suburb or countryside village when it comes to costs, but when stacked up against other metropolitan areas of its size and stature, it’s clear that Montréalers are getting a bargain. According to Numbeo, rent prices in Montréal are 36% lower than in Toronto, 40% lower than in Vancouver and about 68% lower than in New York City. Additionally, other consumer goods like groceries tend to be less in Montréal.
2. The culture is nearly unparalleled
Because of its unique intermingling of English and French culture, Montréal offers its residents something that isn’t easy to replicate. Frequently hailed as Canada’s “Cultural Capital,” Montréal has a unique flair that serves as inspiration for the city’s many artists, musicians, dancers and theatrical performers. In the warmer months, downtown Montréal is usually abuzz with street events, festivals or concerts. But if you need to get indoors, the city has musical venues of all sizes, a litany of museums and art galleries, and a thriving theatre scene.
3. It’s very bike-friendly
When the weather is nice, there’s nothing better than feeling the wind through your hair as you pedal along Montréal’s bike system. In fact, the city has repeatedly been named one of the most bike-friendly in all the world. Montréal offers safe biking throughout downtown, along the Lachine Canal, across the Gouin Boulevard bike path and more. Not ready to take the plunge on a bike of your own? Hit up one of the many vendors who rent bikes for locals looking to just get out for a few hours.
4. It’s incredibly diverse
You’d be hard-pressed to find a city that embraces diversity in the way that Montréal does. According to the city’s tourism agency, “Montréal is part of several initiatives, such as the Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination and the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, under the aegis of UNESCO. The inclusion model extends to LGTBQ2+, Indigenous Peoples, religious beliefs, as well as ethnic and visible minorities.” Some 33% of residents are born abroad, with many residents moving to Montréal from French-speaking locales like Algeria and Haiti. If it’s vibrancy you’re after, you’ll find it in Montréal.
5. The food is to die for
Boasting a culinary scene that features everything from food trucks to fine dining, Montréal knows how to throw down in the kitchen. The city might be best known for smoked meat sandwiches, Montréal bagels (think a less-doughy alternative to the traditional bagel) and poutine, but you can get just about anything your heart (and palate) desires. Check out Eater Montréal’s recent list of “The 38 Essential Restaurants in Montréal,” but be sure to have a napkin nearby to wipe the drool.
Montréal is an excellent spot for people of all ages and with unique and varied interests. Call it Montréal, MTL, The City of Saints or the 514, but one thing you should want to call this spectacular city is home.