All the Things to Know About Living in Montreal

When a place has a range of nicknames that go from Sin City to The City of Saints, it is hard to tell what you can expect from it. Luckily, we know everything you need to know about living in Montreal before deciding to move abroad. We will gladly share our information and leave it up to you to determine which nickname suits MTL better.

Located in the province of Quebec, MTL is the second most populous place in CA and most populous in Quebec. It is situated on the Saint Lawrence River island, and it has around 1.8 million residents. Founded in 1642, it used to be called Ville-Marie, or City of Mary. Many who think about moving overseas and decide on moving to Canada often choose MTL because it’s one of the best places for living overseas. However, since French is the official language in MTL, many are concerned about learning a language abroad. So, is not speaking French almost a sin in MTL? And what are the other aspects you should be aware of before you start packing for the City of Saints? Take a look at our guide to find out.

Is Montreal a Good Place to Live?

Whether you’re moving to another country for love, work, or education, you’re probably concerned about some general questions such as quality of life, safety, costs, and so on. But the truth is, even though relocation to MTL is not as popular as moving to Vancouver or Toronto, MTL has a lot to offer, and it ranks high in terms of life quality. According to Mercer’s survey, this is the 4th best city in North America regarding the quality of living and 21st globally. Life in MTL is not overpriced, and there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a single adult moving with dogs or a family of four looking for decent schools and quiet neighborhoods.

Pros and Cons of Everyday Life in Montreal Canada

Think about the town where you are now. There are certainly some things you love about it and some you’re not so happy with. The thing is, everything in life comes with pros and cons, and it’s up to us to choose which one of them we are going to focus our energy on. We are here to point out both sides, but the final verdict about moving to Montreal is all yours.

Pros of Moving to Montreal

Here are some of the main advantages you’ll get to experience if you choose MTL over some other Canadian cities:

  • Lower rents – We know that cost of living in Canada is notorious for being somewhat high, especially when it comes to housing. But luckily, in that category, MTL can be considered one of Canada’s cheapest places.
  • Affordable public transportation – This is another good news for all of you on a tight budget. Public transport is cheap and well-connected, meaning that you can totally rely on it.
  • It’s bike-friendly – If you’re not a fan of driving or waiting for a bus, you can always bike your way around. Bike lanes are separated from vehicle traffic, making them completely safe, and many locals use this convenience.
  • Rich cultural scene – There’s always something going on in MTL. Festivals, concerts, a vibrant art scene, and plenty of bars that are open up to 3 AM only show how lively it is here and that there’s always something to do.

Cons of Relocating to Montreal

And now, some downsides. Keep in mind that these shouldn’t be the reason to unpack and abort the mission of moving internationally or switch the course and move to Portugal. CA is one of the friendliest countries in the world towards expats. Any expat community can confirm that. So, let’s see what things you potentially won’t like about MTL:

  • High taxes – Although the rent and some other costs are relatively low, taxes are among the highest in the country. The Quebec Sales Tax and GST combined are 14.9%.
  • Cold winters – If you’re looking to experience a proper Canadian winter, you’re at the right place. Long and snowy winters are much harsher than the ones in Vancouver or Toronto, for example.
  • The language – If you’re an expat who is not fluent in English or French, you might have a hard time finding a job. For better-paying jobs, fluency in both languages is often a must, so keep that in mind. You can always find courses that will help you learn a bit, and locals will certainly appreciate your effort.

Is It Expensive to Live in Montreal?

We already mentioned that MTL is known for being more affordable than other big cities in CA, but what’s expensive for one person doesn’t have to be pricey for others. It all depends on your lifestyle and preferences, and of course, having a job will certainly ease the whole situation. Create a list of your current expenses and make a budget, then compare it to the cost of living in Montreal to get an idea of how much you’ll need to earn to live comfortably.

What Is Considered a Good Salary in Montreal?

According to Numbeo, a website that compares various costs in different cities, the average monthly salary, after-tax, is around $2,350. Would that be enough for you depends upon a lot of factors. As an expat looking for jobs in Canada, we recommend you to pay attention to essential relocation questions to ask employer.

How Affordable Is Montreal in Comparison to Ottawa and Toronto?

The capital, Ottawa, belongs to the province of Ontario, and it is only around 2 hours drive away from MTL. Both cities have a similar climate, but how do they compare in terms of costs? We also added Toronto since it’s one of the most popular places in the country. Let’s take a look, it’s MTL vs. Ottawa vs. Toronto battle, and all listed prices are in USD.

Is Living in Montreal Without Speaking French Possible?

This is a tricky question. How to live in another country or city, to be more precise, if you don’t speak the official language? Breaking the language barrier is a concern for many expats, even Americans, because the official language in MTL is French. It is believed that around 50% of locals speak it at home, while only 22% of them use English as their main home language. After Paris, this is the second-largest city where French is a primary language. However, this is also one of the most bilingual cities in CA, but many claim it is actually trilingual since more than 40% of immigrants speak three languages. So can you make it in MTL if you only speak English? Oui. But it would make your life easier if you learn a few essential words, especially if you want to find a high paying job.

How’s the Weather in MTL?

MTL has a continental climate with warm summers and very cold winters. You can expect snowy weather from November to mid-March. Cold winter temperatures are much similar to those in Moscow, Russia, when it gets around 14 °F in January, but at least the days are not so short as in Nordic countries. Besides snow, prepare for windy weather during the winter season, and carefully pick the best time of the year to relocate, whether you’re moving internationally by sea or by air.

Is Getting Around Montreal Without a Car a Mission Impossible?

Having to deal with shipping vehicles overseas can certainly increase your levels of moving stress, but on the other hand, it can be totally worth it. Although MTL is a very walkable city, walking is not anyone’s favorite sport during the cold months. Still, a large portion of MTL downtown is well connected with a network of underground tunnels for pedestrians, so that eases everything. And then there’s the public transportation that works pretty well.

How Montreal’s Public Transportation Works

Whether you rely on the subway, bus, or train, you won’t be disappointed. Public transportation here is affordable, clean, safe, punctual, and well connected. You can choose between single tickets, day and monthly passes. Just keep in mind that masks are mandatory due to the pandemic caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus.

How to Find the Right Neighborhood

Are you wondering what the best neighborhoods in Montreal are? Well, we have a few ideas and recommendations for communities that have it all in various categories. Sort out your priorities, and take a close look at some of these neighborhoods:

  • Mile End – A community perfect for those creative souls. Whether you’re a writer, artist, or musician, this is where you need to be. Numerous galleries, bookstores, and music venues are the reasons why this neighborhood is trending.
  • Gay Village – Are you always out and about? Are you hoping bars at night and day drinking is your religion? Take a stroll around this trendy area that has become a lively dining and entertainment hub.
  • Le Plateau-Mont-Royal – This is another trendy neighborhood with colorful murals, bars, and restaurants. But also a place where people bike around, go to parks, walk to schools, so it is easier to find a good croissant than an apartment.
  • Ahuntsic – One of the neighborhoods with most schools and, therefore, families with children is Ahuntsic. It is not so far from downtown, and it has everything for raising a family, from parks to schools.
  • Old MTL – The list couldn’t end without one of the most popular and charming neighborhoods, Old MTL. Narrow cobblestone streets from the 17th century, proximity to all landmarks, and a central location are only some of the reasons why everyone wants to be there.

What’s There to Do in MTL?

As a newcomer, you’re probably wondering what the things to do in Montreal are. Instead of making numerous lists, we decided to show you. So take a look at this video, and feel free to go around and explore all those touristy and not so touristy spots while you’re getting to know MTL.

The Cost of International Moving to MTL

We already gave you a brief insight into how much living in Montreal, Canada, could cost you. But the real question is, how much will it cost you to get there? Shipping overseas can be expensive, so before you prepare all the documents for traveling abroad, make sure you can afford it. Think about the distance and amount of stuff you’re packing for overseas shipping. How many boxes and supplies you’ll need? Will you rent storage, invest in packing services, or call friends for help? Speaking of friends, don’t forget to keep in touch with old friends after you move. Invite them to come over and take them on tour around Great White North, or at least the City of Saints.

Is Moving to Montreal a Good Idea?

CA is one of the best countries to live in and often ranks highly on lists of best places to live abroad with family, and from our guide, we think you could get the idea that MTL is a pretty good choice for settling down in the Great White North. If you don’t know French, don’t let that stop you. Learn a few phrases just to impress them. Most of them speak English as well, so you’ll be fine. Now schedule that free estimate and find your reliable international moving company.