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Montreal, a unique City in North America
Founded in 1642 and incorporated as a city in 1832, Montreal is the second most populous city in Canada, after Toronto, and the largest French-speaking city in America.
As Quebec's metropolis, it has nothing to be envious when compared to other large North American cities!
It's ideal location on the shores of the St. Lawrence River and its seaway, easy access to the Canadian and North American market, bilingual aspect (most Montreal is bilingual and nearly a quarter are trilingual), cultural richness are only a few of the characteristics that make Montreal a unique city.
Montreal is divided into 19 boroughs that cover three-quarters of the island of Montreal and are home to over 1.8 million people. As for the Montreal metropolitan region, it is home to more than 4.1 million people, or about half of the population of Quebec. The economic, commercial, and financial heart of Quebec, the city has at least 400 head offices and numerous industrial clusters.
From Hochelaga to Montreal
The first known name for the territory where the City of Montreal is located is Hochelaga. This name refers to an Amerindian village established at the base of Mount Royal. In 1535, Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) arrived on the island. According to his estimate, more than 1,000 people lived there at that time. In 1603, when Samuel de Champlain explored the St. Lawrence River later, the Amerindian village no longer existed. Its disappearance remains a mystery.
It wasn't until 1642 that this inhabited place was given a French name in this territory. As of then, it was Ville-Marie, founded near the former Iroquois village of Hochelaga by some 60 pioneers, the most famous of whom were Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve (1612-1676) and Jeanne Mance (1606-1673).
If the origin of the name of Hochelaga and Ville-Marie seems to be relatively consensus, the same cannot be said of the name Montreal. A first hypothesis is that the name Montreal is a variant of Mont Real or Mont Royal. A second hypothesis refers to a contemporary of Jacques Cartier: Claude Pontbriant de Montréal, son of Pierre de Pontbriant, lord of Montréal, in France. To settle the debate, Mayor Jean Drapeau sent a letter in 1968 to the owner of the Château de Montréal, in the Périgord region, acknowledging the patronymic paternity of his city. Many historians and geographers still dispute this decision.
The name Montreal gradually became the name used in administrative documents from the end of the 17th century, and it definitively superseded that of Ville-Marie in the early 18th century. Montreal celebrated its 375th anniversary in 2017. (Sources: Wikipedia, City of Montreal, The Canadian Encyclopedia)
Many Good Reasons to live in Montreal
There are many reasons to live in Montreal. Among the many Internet users who have shared their affection for the big city, there is Wendy, whose choices reflect those of many lovers of the Quebec metropolis. Here are her reasons for loving Montreal:
|The BANQ (the great library of Montreal)
|Getting lost in the streets
|Respectful people / safety
|The 4 seasons (almost!)
|A big city that seems small
|The Feux Loto-Québec
|The hours and days that the stores are open
|The daily rhythm of life
Source: Les choses que j’aime le plus à Montréal - https://homemilesaway.com/choses-que-jaime-montreal
The Grande Bibliothèque, a vast public space of 33,000 square meters in the heart of the metropolis is an exceptional cultural meeting place providing free access to over 3.5 million documents including 2.3 million books. The collections are essentially grouped around two poles: a Universal Collection and the National Collection.
Here are some other aspects worth mentioning about Montreal:
- The snow
- The typical streets of Montreal
- The buildings
- The squirrels
- Let Sunday be a day like any other
- Finding a place to live easily
- Finding a job easily
- Public transportation
- Neighborhood life
- La Ronde
- The many parks
- Old Montreal and the Old Port
Located in the heights of Mount Royal, Beaver Lake is the ideal place for families who want to do outdoor activities without leaving the city. The Beaver Lake Pavilion rents all kinds of equipment. In the summer, people come here to picnic, play kite, or with the little boats on the lake or to start beautiful walks on the mountain. In winter, the slopes bordering the lake are equipped with trails for tubing, sledding, or crazy carpet (a plastic sled on which one slides). A skating rink has also been set up on the edge of the lake, which is partly open for sliding when the water is frozen. Source: https://www.cityzeum.com/lac-aux-castors-parc-du-mont-royal.
Our Five Top Reasons to Buy a Property in Montreal
For the Life Quality
Montreal ranks fifth among the world's best cities to settle in 2020, according to InterNations' annual ranking.
This puts Montreal in the top five of the survey, which ranks expatriates in 82 cities, behind Taipei (Taiwan), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and Singapore. Three other Canadian cities appear in this ranking: Calgary (that was ranked 19th in the world), Toronto (39th), and Vancouver (55th).
“Montreal outperforms other Canadian cities in several areas: it is the best city in terms of work life (10th in the world), cost of living (11th), and in terms of finance and housing (8th)," reads a statement issued by InterNations.
However, the firm Leger has brought a damper with its survey on Quebec's most livable cities. This survey ranked Montreal 10th among cities with 100,000 or more inhabitants, and 95th among the happiest cities. The big city posted a rate of 67.71% versus the average rate of 69.65%.
The Leger survey implicitly raises an important question: To live in the city or in the country? In a recent article in the newspaper Le Devoir, we read: "If one enchants by its frenzy, the other attracts by its calm. It's hard to choose. But if we rely on health indicators, it is really better to live in an urban environment, where life expectancy is higher and mortality caused by road accidents or lung cancer is considered lower than in a rural environment.”
(Sources : La Presse : Montréal 4e ville nord-américaine pour la meilleure qualité de vie, Journal de Montréal : Sondage Léger: les villes du Québec où il fait bon vivre, et TVA Nouvelles : Montréal, 5e meilleure ville au monde pour les expatriés, Le Devoir :Pour notre santé, mieux vaut habiter en ville qu’à la campagne)
For its Exceptional Location and Efficient Transportation Network
Montreal benefits from a network of autoroutes that brings you, in a relatively short time, to the main cities of Quebec and to beautiful regions such as the Lower Laurentians, Lanaudière, Laval, Suroit, and Montérégie. To get there, you can use roads and highway 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 117, and 132. You can push the adventure further as the American border is only one hour away and New York is 6.5 hours away (the same time it takes to get to Rimouski).
In terms of public transportation, the Montreal Metro and soon the REM make it an ideal choice to go to work car-free and carefree. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) network is the main player in the mobility of people in the greater Montreal area, with four metro lines and 68 stations served by 189 bus routes (including 20 routes for the nighttime). With the addition of the Réseau de Transport de Longueuil, the Société de transport de Laval, not only is it easy to move from one point to another on the island of Montreal, but also to Laval, the South Shore in the suburbs as far as St-Hilaire, Beloeil, Longueuil, Brossard, Blainville, Mirabel, and Saint-Jérôme via this network.
For its Cultural Life
Montreal is one of the world's leading festival and celebration destinations, regularly hosting more than 380 festivals per annum. Downtown Montreal alone has 180 theaters, 65 museums, and 270 movie theatres. At the beginning of the pandemic, most of these venues and events were closed or postponed. But in 2021, Montreal will be back in full swing with in-person and webcast performances.
An example comes from the Place des Arts, which welcomed spectators in its halls on October 8, 2021, to the maximum of their capacity and in compliance with the health instructions of public health. Video clip: Quebec Issime, celebrating its 25th anniversary, presents its latest production 12 voix, un piano. On stage, two generations of performers are reunited to bring to life several songs from the vast repertoire of Québec Issime's shows. It is with a selection of magical moments from De Céline Dion à la Bolduc, PARTY!, ExpressIo, Cowboys, Quebec Issime chante Starmania and of course Décembre, that the walls of Théâtre Maisonneuve will once again resonate in tune with the hearts of the artists and the public. Website: https://quebecissime.net/
On his side, the website Sors-tu.ca has listed more than 1,300 events and over 6,000 shows in 2021 in Montreal. Establishments such as Le Café Campus, the Cabaret Lion d'Or, the Casino de Montréal and the Corona Theatre have all gone back to the "Show Must Go On" route, whether through webcasts or in-person. Sors-tu.ca offers several resource guides for your search for shows and cultural events in Montreal:
- Where you can see drive-in shows in Quebec
- Calendar of virtual and live shows in Montreal, Quebec City, and others
- Calendar of free shows
- Montreal concerts, music and live shows
- 2021 Festival Guide in Montreal and Quebec
- Quebec's concert halls
So, the artistic and cultural life is just as vibrant with its array of sites, festivals, and various events. It's not quite the same in the Montreal of 2019; for example, to attend a live performance, you now need a pass, spaces take into account the 2-meter rule, the wearing of masks, etc.
Here are some other resources to guide you in your exploration of cultural life in Montreal:
- Montreal Summer Festival Guide
- Bonjour Québec - Festivals and Events
- Concerts, shows, and events in Montreal | Place des Arts
- Shows and exhibitions - City of Montreal
- Search for an event - City of Montreal.
Montreal is also a major cultural center for video games, film, and design.
For your studies
Montreal is consistently at the top of the list of the world's best student cities. In 2013, according to The Economist, Montreal ranked first in the world as a destination for studying abroad, ahead of London. The Quebec metropolis welcomes some 35,000 international students each year.
Founded in 1878, the Université de Montréal (UdeM) is the only French-speaking Canadian university to be ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and is one of the top five French-language universities. UdeM has 13 faculties and schools, two big schools affiliated with it - HEC Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal - and some 30 affiliated health institutions. More than 67,000 students are enrolled in its 250 undergraduate programs and 350 graduate programs. The faculty of the UdeM and its affiliated schools includes 2,300 permanent and visiting professors and researchers. Website: https://www.umontreal.ca/
According to the 2017 QS Best Student Cities ranking, the Quebec metropolis was the best city in the world to study in. In 2019, it ranked first in North America and 6th in the world for best student cities in America. The city would rank second among North American metropolises in terms of the number of university students per capita. In 2011, more than 60% of Montreal's population held a post-secondary certificate, diploma or degree.
McGill University is one of Canada's best-known institutions of higher learning and one of the leading universities in the world. International students from more than 150 countries make up nearly 30% of McGill's student body ‒ the highest proportion of any Canadian research university.
There are approximately 260 elementary schools, 75 secondary schools, 26 adult education centers and 37 specialized schools, managed by five school boards, three French and two English. There are four universities, seven colleges and 17 CEGEPs offering courses in French and five in English. In addition to these public institutions, Montreal has nine private colleges and two vocational colleges. (Sources: https://www.montrealinternational.com/fr/etudier/ and https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montr%C3%A9al#%C3%89ducation)
A Smart Long-Term Investment
Affordable prices, good life quality, easy access to many parks and expressways, and of course beautiful homes: these are all good reasons to buy a property. Actually, Montreal's real estate market has been one of the most interesting in terms of investment over the past few years. In fact, between 2020 and 2021, an increase of 19% in the sale price of single-family homes has benefited many owners! In comparison, the average selling price of homes and condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area rose by 19.3% in October compared to the same period last year, reaching nearly $1.16 million.
Montreal - Useful links
Located in the heart of Little Italy, the Jean-Talon Market is one of the largest markets in North America. Its effervescence is constant since it open both in the summer and winter thanks to the know-how of our producers and craftsmen. One of the oldest public markets in Montreal, it was inaugurated in May 1933. It hosts more than 150 merchants, including butchers, bakeries, and even lavender candle makers. The Montreal Public Markets (MPM) is a group of 15 markets located throughout the island of Montreal. Throughout the year, find quality products and a unique warm atmosphere in your urban public markets! The atmosphere is that of a village, a family place where generations of merchants and customers have grown up. Website: https://www.marchespublics-mtl.com.
Trip Advisor Best Attractions
- Mont Royal
- Old Montréal
- Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal
- Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal
- Montreal Botanical Garden
- Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
- Expo Barbie
- Marché Jean-Talon
- Pointe-à-Callière - Cité d'archéologie et d'histoire de Montréal
- Vieux-Port de Montréal
- Marché Atwater
Mount Royal Park is home to dozens of trails and places of interest all around the mountain. Are you an avid walker, Sunday jogger or even a driver? Did you know that there are four lookouts on Mount Royal? The Popular one: Kondiaronk which offers a magnificent view of the downtown skyline all the way to the Montérégiennes. The Fast one: Belvedere Camillien-Houde which offers a view of the east side of the city and allows you to admire the Olympic Stadium. The English one: Summit Circle from where you can see the western part of downtown and Westmount. And finally, the Secret: Belvédère Outremont, which offers an unobstructed view of the north of the city. (Source: Journal Métro: https://journalmetro.com/actualites/montreal/1040233/connaissez-vous-les-quatre-belvederes-du-mont-royal/)
The Best Restaurants According to the Time Out Magazine
According to Time Out magazine, "Eating out is one of the greatest pleasures of Montreal's many.” However, it's not always easy to choose: Montreal has more restaurants per capita than any other city in Canada – only New York exceeds it in North America.
- Joe Beef
- Au Pied de Cochon
- Le Mousso
- Maison Publique
- Bouillon Bilk
- Ile Flottante
- Nora Gray
Lists of all the 71 best restaurants in Montreal for unforgettable meals: Time Out: https://www.timeout.com/fr/montreal
Felix Villeneuve and Pauline Chen, your Royal Lepage brokers
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Chen-Villeneuve | Royal LePage Real Estate Brokers | Montreal | South-Shore
7503 Taschereau Boulevard
Brossard, QC, J4Y 1A2
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