I’m constantly seeing articles floating around the net that denote Montreal as the “best city to live in” in comparison to any other city in Canada (such as Toronto). There’s list formats idealizing Montreal and the reasons why it’s so great. As a fellow Montreal native, I don’t want to decry the city’s strong suits. I whole heartedly agree it has an authentic appeal but instead of focusing on what makes it so awesome , I want to point out the hits as well as the misses of the city. Here’s a list I compiled that features the pro’s and con’s of living in this multicultural city:
We have a great nightlife. Anyone who resides in Montreal or has visited the city knows that Montreal is a city that reigns supreme in terms of the party lifestyle. Unlike most cities that close before 3 am and don’t have a myriad of bars and clubs encompassing an entire boulevard, we’ve got the whole sha-bang. We have St Laurent, St Dennis, Crescent Street, the Plateau and the list goes on! There’s no limit to the amount of bars and clubs that surround our very city. With it, comes a lot of entertaining (and occasionally annoying) drunken debauchery happening within our very eyes . The only problem with our nightlife? Deciding where to go!
Rigid separatist acts. Before Pauline Marois took out her malicious claws and unleashed her wrath with her separatist acts, Montreal was a -okay. Sure,there was the occasional strife amongst the french and english population but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it is at the moment. Nowadays, god forbid you aren’t perfectly bilingual your chances of getting a job are extremely limited. You mind as well pack your bags and leave for the west coast. (which is apparently what a lot of people are doing) Not to mention, the extreme social upheaval that the irrational separatists acts from Pauline Marois have caused. Not only has it inflicted a lot of unnecessary turmoil on us fellow Montrealers, but truth be told it’s quite embarrassing. Having to omit the word “pasta” and translate it to its francophone form because it’s not french enough to be put in a restaurant’s menu is quit frankly, ridiculous .(to the point where Americans are even providing their own commentary about our city’s inane policies) If you can get past some of the overt gestures of Quebecois nationalism in this city, then good on you! Otherwise, its current state is spiraling backwards and transgressing into a province that clearly needs to get their shit together ( hint : one way is by firing all those language nazi’s)
Rent and education is cheap . For less than 600 dollars you can rent a brand new 3 1/2 that’s 20 minutes from downtown. Not to mention, while in a lot of others cities it’s double that price (Edmonton, Toronto) and doesn’t provide you with nearly the same amount of room that you require. As for education? As much as there has been protests about the increase of university tuitions, you can’t deny the fact that tuition is a lot cheaper than in other cities. For about 1k, you can enroll in a fall semester as a full time student in Montreal. I don’t even need to pull out the facts and statistical analysis of other city’s tuition fee’s in comparison to Montreal’s because it’s that much of a given, that education in Montreal is much more affordable than in other cities.
Mother nature is one frigid bipolar bitch. Canada is synonymous with cold weather, I get that. What I don’t get is how bipolar Montreal’s weather is. If there’s one thing that Montreal peeps are always complaining and tweeting about, it’s the weather. Anyone living in Montreal will agree that one minute you’re bringing out the short shorts and the next, you’re pulling out your heavy socks and canada goose jackets. Not to mention, our winter’s are hellish literally. The weather shifts from -40 in a day to 2 degrees within the following week. It’s inconsistency at it’s finest.
Our city is enriched with creativity and entertaining festivals. If there’s one thing we know how to do (besides partying of course) is attract tourists. Summer months are filled with tourists from outside the city that come to reap the benefits and experience the fun that this lively city has to offer . In terms of festivals we’ve got Jazz fest, Mural Festival, Osheaga, Just for Laughs, Fantasia Film Festival, Nuit D’afrique and so much more! There’s so much entertainment happening within Montreal that you almost feel guilty about not attending or going on vacation during the summer months. Another Bonus : Art. Montreal is the living essence of Creativity. We have a metro stop specifically catered to all things art : Places Des Art, which is the celebratory haven for creativity. Not to mention how anywhere you go, art is following close behind. We’ve got murals painted from a multitude of talented street artists (such as Stikki Peaches) circumscribing the very streets of Montreal without the pressures of it being deemed “illegal”. Even the music scene is predominate and widely entrenched in the city’s creative scene. It’s hard not to view Montreal as a metropolitan city fueled by creativity.
Our underground transportation is for the pits. As much as the metro (STM) gets you to your destination, it’s in desperate need of repair. Let’s just put it this way : the metro is run by a system that is well over 35 years old. With that being said, it has more crashes and disruptions than a five year old cellphone that’s been dropped an insurmountable amount of times .Not only that, but the STM itself is run by a lot of separatists who are pretty much nazi’s that will be on your ass and give you the evil eye for not speaking in their chosen language. (There are exceptions to this, but the majority of the time this is the case)
We’ve got an unlimited range of multicultural restaurants. In a multicultural city like Montreal, expect to find greatness seeping through every restaurant window. Whether it be Italian, Indian, French, Portuguese or German, you name it we have it. How many food blogs regarding Montreal’s restaurants can you find ? Answer : an infinite amount. Yes, we are known for our infamously good poutines, bagels and smoked meat as well, but who can deny the endless array of multicultural restaurants taking precedence in our city? Not to mention, the ridiculous amount of pizza joints located in every corner of our street? Montrealer issue #4749 : So much food, so many choices, but so little money!
Pro/ Con :
Extremely Liberal City- I know how ironic it seems. Our city is over run by language nazi’s who practically want to bitch slap you for speaking English yet in other facets, our city is generally pretty liberal. Which is why I was uncertain whether to categorize it as a pro or con because in the end it’s a shady area that can blend into both categories. For instance, the city has an overwhelming amount of homeless people who at times can be aggressive and hostile to people walking by. Not cool. Instead of focusing their energy on asserting their francophone nature and imposing their language on anglophones, the city should instead focus on putting homeless people into a shelter or better yet helping them find jobs? Lastly, people’s overt gestures of patriotism. Take the hockey game for instance and the crazy amount of vandalism that happened within the heart of downtown. Why? Because the Habs (aka Montreal’s hockey team) lost. Boo freakin who. The Pro’s of this extreme liberal city is that we get to drink on the streets, witness the spectacle of naked people freely riding on their bikes (as a means of liberation) and always encounter some highly entertaining drunken people parading the streets like it’s nobody’s business. There’s something to see and talk about in the city of Montreal and as a result will never leave you feeling bored. As a homeless man once said to a guy who was too drunk to drive home but was going to do it anyway, “Welcome to Montreal!”.