Moving to Montreal?
Moving to Montreal
At a Glance:
- There is a huge range of neighborhoods in the city, each being different and distinct. However, there are many living options outside the city in the Metro Area.
- Relocating to Montréal is still cheaper than moving to Vancouver or Toronto.
- In order to obtain permanent residency you must be granted the Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ), where it is necessary to have a knowledge of French.
- The Preliminary Evaluation for Immigration will give you an idea of your chances of being selected by Québec.
(Very) Cold Winters, Warm Summers
Moving to Montréal means coming to terms with gravely distinct seasons. Should you be relocating in the cold season, don’t be put off by the relatively harsh winters — or relatively mild, by Canadian standards anyway. Temperatures around –10°C are quite common and the immense amounts of snow are something to reckon with. On the other hand, the summers in Montréal are absolutely gorgeous, with average highs around 26°C, and a few days and weeks which go well beyond that. Pack accordingly — Canada and frost go together quite brilliantly in many an expat’s mind, but you shouldn’t underestimate the Canadian summers either!
Finding Your Perfect Fit: Montréal’s Diverse Neighborhoods
Not unlike other cities of its size and appeal to different cultures and subcultures, Montréal offers a huge variety of neighborhoods with a very distinct look and feel. If you are interested in Montréal’s multicultural and open-minded areas, you have plenty of choices. There is Mile End, which is also one of the focal points of the city’s thriving music and arts scene, the Plateau, which is arguably one of the hippest and most laid-back neighborhoods at the moment, or the Latin Quarter, which has a long tradition as a hotspot for student lifestyle. Those of you who would like to discover more ethnically influenced neighborhoods might consider Little Italy, Chinatown, or Little Portugal — moving to Montréal awards you with a multitude of options.
In fact, it would simply be impossible for us to cover them all. Luckily, the official web portal of the City of Montréal has detailed information on every borough, including their history and infrastructure.
Well Connected: The Metro Area
Not everyone enjoys life in the big city. If you are going to be sent on an expat assignment but opt against actually moving to central Montréal, why not move to Montréal’s metro region? The various municipalities that retained or regained their independence after the merger of 2002 — which saw Montréal’s area expand to cover all of the Island of Montréal, a merger that was partially undone in 2006 — are only some of the options.
The West Island, an unofficial term which — unsurprisingly — includes all areas on the western part of the island, regardless of whether they are part of the city, is predominantly English-speaking, making it a rarity in Québec. Westmount, a demerged enclave within Montréal, might be an option for extremely well-heeled expats who would like to move to the city’s most upscale suburb and live next door to local and international celebrities.
The cities of Laval and Longueuil, located west and east of the Island of Montréal on the other side of the rivers, respectively, might also be worth a look for expats who want to enjoy all the commodities of life in a metropolis without having to deal with the hustle and bustle connected to it. Please keep in mind that in the periphery, the daily commute to and from those cities into Montréal proper might prove somewhat stressful, especially if you still want to use your own car. Our guide to living in Montréal has more info on traffic and transportation.
Home Sweet Home
Expats moving to Montréal should not face many problems when looking for apartments or houses. Generally speaking, condos and houses are still more affordable than in Canada’s other expat hubs Vancouver and Toronto, although prices have been continuously on the rise for the past decade. However, there is more to make you feel at ease when thinking of your upcoming move: not only are homes cheap, they are also readily available.
Should you be relocating without having visited the city first to get a feel for its many different neighborhoods, you should probably hire a real estate agent to help you with what is one of the most important decisions of any relocation. If you, however, want to take care of every aspect of moving yourself, including the housing search, you should start your search on sites such as Kijiji, Logis Québec, or the websites of the large dailies in Montréal.
You will routinely stumble upon size indications such as 2.5 or 4.5 rooms when looking for a place to live before moving to Montréal. This is perfectly normal, as the bathroom is usually counted as half a room. Therefore, you can expect an apartment with 3.5 rooms to have a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom, and a bathroom.
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