Country Guides January 29, 2021

Things to Know About Living in Montreal Before Moving There

By Blake Shaw

If you are about to embark on an adventure of moving internationally and your destination of choice is the second-biggest city and the cultural capital of the Great White North – you are in the right corner of the internet. Check out the pros and cons of living in Montreal before you go and see for yourself if relocating there is the right thing for you.

Is Montreal a Good Place to Live?

Before you get on to figuring out how to move abroad and gathering the documents needed to travel abroad, you might find yourself second-guessing your decision and questioning – Is moving to Montreal a good idea? Whether you are moving abroad alone or moving to another country for love – stepping into uncharted territory is never easy. But let us just say that they don’t call this place the Jewel of La Belle province for nothing – it ranked number 1 happiest city in North America and one of the best places for US expats.

It is the happiest place in North America to call home.

Is It Expensive to Live in Montreal?

It is actually rather affordable. The cost of living in Montreal is significantly lower than the Toronto cost of living or the cost of living in Vancouver, which is a part of its allure. Rent is much lower than in other major cities in Canada, and a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city center will set you back around $600, according to Numbeo. You would have to set aside from $1000 to $2000 dollars for a two-bedroom apartment in the city center and around $250,000 for a two-story home.

If you are moving with kids – you’ll be happy to hear that Quebec subsidizes the daycare program, and it will cost you around $8 per day. Groceries and local beer are also affordable, around 30% lower than those in New York. It’s not the cheapest place to live in Canada, as it’s overall a little bit more expensive than the average cost of living in Canada, but it is the most affordable major city.

What Is Considered a Good Salary in Montreal?

Obviously, it depends on the kind of lifestyle you seek to lead, whether you have kids, and other factors. The average salary here is around $2,400, after-tax. If you have a job offer that offers that much or more – go for it.

Not worrying whether you’ll be able to pay rent is pretty amazing on its own.

Jobs in Montreal, Canada – What to Expect?

Once Canada’s business hub, Montreal continues to be a big player in industries like business, software, aerospace, railway, pharmaceuticals, textile, culture and arts, and so on. Around 45,000 people are employed in some of the biggest aerospace companies like Bombardier Aerospace, Pratt  & Whitney, CAE, and others. Those moving to this Canadian city often ask – What jobs are in demand in Montreal, Quebec? Here’s the answer:

  • HR and recruitment officers
  • Brokers and other financial officers
  • Sales, marketing, and advertising managers
  • Mechanical, civil, and electrical engineers and engineering managers
  • Scientists
  • Medical workers

Do You Have to Speak French to Work in Montreal?

While you can get around living in Montreal without speaking French, you would have more opportunities for jobs in Canada if you spoke at least some French. It is the official language in the Quebec province, and you will find all signs on the streets and all forms you will ever sign in French. Learning a language abroad by immersion is the best way for adults to learn and start breaking the language barrier.

Also, around 73% of residents listed French as their primary language, so you should also factor that in when choosing a place to live if you want to be able to communicate with your neighbors. Generally, you will find the locals accommodating, in either switching to English, if they speak it, or helping you polish your French.

It’s time to start learning French.

Best Neighborhoods to Live in Montreal

If you’re looking for an English-speaking area, The Old Port, with its cobblestone streets, picturesque cafes, and horse-drawn carriages, is reminiscent of the time of the early settlement. Like old-money Westmont, it is predominantly English-speaking and beautifully preserved, but a bit on the expensive side.

Plateau and Mount Royal are close to downtown but more affordable, and their residents are bilingual. Rosemont is a lively French-speaking area, and buildings are popping up everywhere, much like in Griffintown and Verdun, which are gentrifying quickly. Notre Dame de Grace, Laval, and Kirkland are reasonably priced Montreal neighborhoods, and all of them are safe.

What are the bad neighborhoods in Montreal? While the city is remarkably safe all around and one of the best places to live in Canada, it’s still better to stay away from some areas, at least when house hunting. Such are Montreal North, Park Extension, and St.Michael.

The Old Port evokes the spirit of the time of the early settlements.

Getting Around the City

There’s a running joke among Montrealers – We have two seasons here, winter and construction. The roads are in bad condition, and they seem to be constantly patched, so you can expect traffic jams. Winters are hard with heavy snow, but the roads get cleared surprisingly fast, and if you tend to drive, you will need to switch to winter tires before the snow starts.

Getting Around Montreal Without a Car – Montreal’s Public Transport

The Canadian city has a decent and extensive public transport system which is, above all else – affordable. An OPUS transit card will give you unlimited access to both the metro and bus services for about $80 a month.

Get your winter tires ready – you’ll need them.

Life in Montreal: Pros and Cons

We have created a list of pros and cons of life in Montreal to sum it up for you, so you can make your own decisions on whether or not to contact your mover for international moving and packing services.

Cons – Let’s Start With the Disadvantages

  • Taxes are higher – Quebec has some of the highest taxes in the country – expect to pay a 16% income tax.
  • Winters are cold and snowy – temperatures can go as low as -22°F.
  • Language barrier – People say that it’s harder to find a good job if you are not bilingual.
  • Traffic jams and construction work on the roads

Pros – Let’s Take a Look at the Good Stuff

  • Affordable rent – Isn’t it great to be able to cover the rental fees with no worries?
  • Cheap utilities
  • Cheap daycare
  • World-class cultural scene and a laid-back lifestyle
  • Most inexpensive tuition in the country
  • Great food that fits everyone’s tastes
  • Canadian people are very welcoming
Once you’ve informed yourself about the pros and cons, it’s up to you to decide.

Get Ready for a New Chapter in Your Life

Once you’ve partnered with the right international moving company and arrived in Canada, you can be sure you’ll be living in one of the best places to live abroad and the friendliest countries in the world. Moving overseas is never easy, but living overseas enriches your life, so put yourself out there, embrace change, and get ready for everything life has in store for you in your new country.

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