Moving to Montreal
Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec. It’s the second largest metropolitan area in Canada, and the ninth largest in North America.
The city’s official language is French, which is spoken by the majority of Montrealers. It is the second largest French speaking city in the world after Paris, France. For those who don’t speak French, don’t despair – 56 per cent of Montrealers are bilingual, speaking both French and English, and about 18 per cent speak English as a first language.
Montreal is situated on the banks of the St-Lawrence River and the Rivière des Prairies. The city proper is located on Montreal Island, with large parts of the metropolitan area located on the north and south shores. To get around the city by public transit, you can use the Metro system or travel by bus.
Montreal is filled with history. It began as a First Nations village, became a French fur trading post, and then grew to become the largest 18th century city in British North America. From Mont Royal, “the mountain” that the city was named after, to Old Montreal, a well-preserved historic area with a European feel – Montreal’s rich past makes this city spectacular.
Montreal is a great place for those with families. You may take in a Montreal Canadians NHL hockey game, be amazed by a Cirque du Soleil show, or explore the Biodome de Montreal, to name only a few of the hundreds of attractions Montreal has to offer.
The city’s nightlife is outstanding, with lots of restaurants, pubs and dance clubs. Every July, Montreal is home to the Just for Laughs Festival, the world’s largest comedy festival.
When it comes to food, Montreal is well known for its smoked meat sandwiches and its poutine – a pile of fries, smothered in cheese curds and gravy. Yum! The city is also known as a great place for foodies, as international cuisines and gourmet restaurants are plentiful.
Montreal is Canada’s second largest economic centre. Many industries are established here, including aerospace, technology, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, transportation and tobacco. It is home to the Montreal Exchange as well as many financial institutions.
The Port of Montreal is one of the most important in Canada. Since much of the country’s imports and exports go through this port, Montreal has become the railway hub of Canada. The Canadian National Railway is still located here today.
Many of Canada’s largest companies have their headquarters in Montreal. Air Canada, Molson, VIA Rail, Rona, Dollarama, Standard Life, Bombardier and many more iconic Canadian businesses are in the area.
Film and television also play an important role in the Montreal economy. Radio Canada and the National Film Board of Canada both operate out of the city. Commerce, industry and culture all drive the Montreal economy. With one of the most diverse job markets in the country, it is quite the exciting place to live.
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Montreal’s real estate is surprisingly affordable for a Canadian city of its size. For both home buyers and renters, there are many affordable options.
According to The Greater Montréal Real Estate Board’s latest report, house sales are on the rise. In September 2014 alone, there was a 7 per cent increase in sales over September of the previous year. As for housing prices, they are also on the rise.
The following numbers are expressed in Canadian dollars and represent the median price of all units sold. Single family homes sold for $283,750. Multiplexes composed of two to five units sold for $428,000, while condo sales came in at $234,000.
For those looking to rent, here are the average monthly rental prices for the greater Montreal area according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Expect to pay about $569 per month for a bachelor apartment.
A one bedroom apartment will cost an average of $654. Two bedroom apartments rent for $742 on average, while three bedrooms rent for $917. The vacancy rate was last calculated at 2.7 per cent, which means a good number of available rentals on the market.
- Notre Dame de Grace (NDG): This west Montreal neighbourhood is popular with Anglophone families, students and young professionals. It is home to many English language schools, including Concordia University. It’s one of Montreal’s most walkable neighbourhoods.
- Le Plateau: This neighbourhood is chic and trendy. Le Plateau is a mix of eclectic shops, restaurants and residential row homes and apartments. It has been named the coolest or hippest neighbourhood in North America by various magazines.
- Griffintown: An up and coming neighbourhood perfect for young professionals. Griffintown is currently undergoing a transformation from industrial to family-friendly. New condos and apartments are planned, while preserving the area’s historical buildings.
- Riviere des Prairie: This area offers a suburban feel while still being on Montreal Island. This east-end borough is popular with francophone families with its many schools and parks. Some homes have a great view of the river, giving the area a close-to-nature feel.
- Westmount: Once the richest community in Canada, Westmount is still very posh and expensive. Mostly residential, this neighbourhood has many stately homes dotted with green space.
- Rosemont la Petite-Patrie: Popular with families, this area offers a great quality of life while remaining affordable. It is home to the famous Jean-Talon Market and Little Italy.
Schools and Education
Education in Canada is the responsibility of each provincial government. The education system in the province of Quebec differs from the rest of the country. Children go to primary school, which is kindergarten to grade six. They then move onto high school, which is called Secondary I, II, III, IV and V (1-5). Students receive their high school diploma at the end of Secondary V, which is equivalent to grade 11 in other Canadian provinces.
Post-secondary in Quebec is also different from other provinces. After high school, most students move onto CEGEP. They may take a two year program to prepare for university, or a three year vocational diploma. To receive a bachelor (or undergraduate) degree, students then move onto university.
There are French and English school boards in Montreal which operate primary and secondary schools. The Charter of the French Language (Bill 101) states French is the language of instruction in Quebec from kindergarten to Secondary V, unless a student’s parent meets specific requirements. English as a second language is taught as a curriculum subject in all French schools.
For post-secondary, Montreal has many CEGEPs and universities. McGill University is an English school that has ranked number one in Canada numerous times. Concordia University is recognised as one of the top business schools. The French Université de Montréal is amongst the largest research universities in Canada. Université du Québec à Montréal is mostly known as a liberal-arts university.
Cost of Moving
If moving from overseas, having your belongings shipped can seem overwhelming. One option is to have your household items sent by shipping container. Here are a few quick estimates to give you an idea of the cost involved. These estimates are for a typical move for a family of three and are in pounds.
|From London||£2,015 to £2,154|
|From New York City||£712 to £762|
|From Sydney||£5,025 to £5,372|
|From Dubai||£5,768 to £6,166|
|From Beijing||£3,468 to £3,707|