Bonjour and welcome to the second largest French-speaking city in the world. Montreal is known as a bustling cosmopolitan city set on an island with a thriving nightlife and plenty of opportunity to explore the great outdoors.
Though temperatures in winter can drop below -10 degrees, Montreal is situated on top of miles of passageways below the city. These modern tunnels are equipped with heating and air conditioning and have been set up to connect apartments, shops and business districts together while shielding residents from any drastic weather conditions.
If you can speak French, Montreal may be the ideal location for you. Over 58% of locals speak French, which means that learning the native tongue will be beneficial to job seekers and kids starting school.
The city boasts the lowest cost of living than any of the other major areas in Canada and is home to many cultures, primarily made up of black, South Asian and Arab nationalities.
Top Job industries.
Montreal is a busy city with an even busier port. As the largest inland port in the world with grain, sugar, petroleum and consumer goods moving through every day, many immigrants find jobs in shipments, exports and international trades.
The international video game industry is exploding with many of the global brands working out of Montreal including EA Games and Ubisoft. Those that are familiar with the “Sims” and “Need for Speed” games will be interested to know that some of the latest versions of these games come from Montreal.
Living in Montreal.
Where to live.
Before choosing to live in a particular area, it is recommended that you base your decision on your fluency in French. There is a balance of neighborhoods that predominantly speak either English or French. Hampstead, Notre Dame de Grace and Westmount are predominantly English while areas like Rosemont are very French. Closer to downtown, many people are bilingual meaning that they switch between English and French easily.
Renting an apartment can be the most cost–effective option for immigrants who are just starting out. A modest 2 bedroom apartment can cost as little as $800 per month.
Carving out a spot as one of the top-rated learning institutions in the world, McGill University attracts students from over 150 countries worldwide. Immigrants flock to the school to study with the brightest minds in Canada including Nobel-prize winners. Medicine, dentistry, science and art are amongst the most popular degrees.
Most schools in Montreal are French while English-speaking schools are few and far between.
Living in Montreal does not require a car with the amount of buses and subway trains that run throughout the city. Most residents use bikes to get to work, making rush hour traffic a lot easier to navigate.
Led by the Regie de l’Assurance Maladie du Quebec, immigrants can qualify for this quality healthcare after registration and a waiting period of 3 months.
The highlights of Montreal.
In the heart of the city lies a truly unique experience, the Biodôme. This one-of-a-kind building contains four unique ecosystems including a tropical rainforest and the Gulf of St Lawrence. Visitors can explore the “House of Life” for a chance to learn all about these fascinating environments.
Mount Royal Park.
Spend your days soaking up the sun on the manicured fields of Mount Royal Park. This location is the perfect picnic spot with one of the best views of the city and plenty of bird and plant life to intrigue visitors. Discover the beauty of the park while eating at the on-site restaurant and exploring the many paths around the central lake.
Boasting architecture and cobblestoned streets that make you feel as if you are in the middle of Europe, this sector of town is completely unique. You can explore the town by horse-drawn carriage, by bike or by foot while taking in the stores and cafes that line the streets. There are many museums to visit as well as art galleries.
Pros and cons.
- Rent prices are affordable.
- Plenty of public transport and no need for a car.
- One of the most livable cities in the world.
- In the top 10 of the “Happiest places in the world.”
- Difficult to find English-speaking schools.
- Harder to find employment for non-French speaking immigrants.
- Winters are extremely cold.