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 –30°C are quite common and the immense amounts of snow are something to reckon with. On the other hand, the summers you will get to enjoy 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 should never underestimate the Canadian summers!
Not unlike other cities of its size and appeal to different cultures and subcultures, Montréal offers a rag rug of neighborhoods with a very distinct look and feel. If you are interested in moving to Montréal’s multicultural and open-minded parts, 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 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 the 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 info on every borough of town, including history, infrastructure, and nearly everything else which might be interesting for people moving to Montréal.
Not everyone enjoys life in the big city. If you are going to be sent on an expat assignment but opt against moving to Montréal proper, 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 for people interested in Montréal’s metro area.
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 insist on using your own car. Our guide to living in Montréal has more info on traffic and transportation.
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 the “rival” expat magnets Vancouver and Toronto, although prices have been continuously on the rise for the past decade. But not only the low pricing will probably make you feel more at ease when thinking of your upcoming move to Montréal: 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 the many different neighborhoods it encompasses, 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 to Montréal yourself, including the house hunting, 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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