Study in Montreal, Canada

Study in Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada is a breathtaking city located in the province of Quebec and the second largest city in Canada.  According to the latest available statistics, the population of Montreal is just over 1.65 million in the city proper and more than 3.8 million in its Metropolitan Area.  The official language of Montreal is French, and except for Paris, France, it is the largest French-speaking city in the world.  Census statistics show that 60.5% of Montreal residents speak French on a day-to-day basis, followed by English at 21%, with the remainder speaking a variety of different languages, ranging from Mandarin to Hindi.  Montreal is also thought to be the most bilingual city in the world, with over 55 percent of its people able to speak both French and English fluently.

While it is widely believed that the island of Montreal was inhabited by French nomadic tribes over 2000 years ago, it was not until 1832 that the region was incorporated as a city.  From 1844 to 1849, it served as the capital of the Province of Canada, but numerous rebellions in the city, particularly one that led to the burning of the Parliament Building by Tory protesters, prompted the government to move the capital to Ottawa, a more centrally located and insulated Canadian province.  There were two events in Montreal, the opening of the Lachine Canal, which allowed ships to bypass the impassable Lachine Rapids, and the construction of the Victoria Bridge, that established the city as a key railway hub.  Naturally, this prompted a huge surge in both population and economic growth, and established Montreal as one of the most important cities in Canada, both culturally and economically.

If you are planning to settle in Montreal, especially if you plan to arrive during winter, you’ll definitely need to wear a coat.  While the spring, summer and fall months typically bring pleasant, if not beautiful weather, the winter months can only be defined as “brrr.”  Characterized by snowy, windy and occasionally icy weather, the average high temperature during the winter in Montreal struggles to get past 20 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime lows dropping to single digits.

Housing in Montreal is expensive by North American standards, but compared to other major Canadian cities, including Toronto and Vancouver, it is actually a bit more affordable.  As of December, 2011 the median price for single detached homes in Montreal was $408,340, but compared to Toronto and Vancouver, where averages are well over $500,000, homes in Montreal are a bargain.  If you plan to rent, you can typically get a good deal, as Montreal currently has a high vacancy rate.  Average rent in the city is just $649—and probably lower for the typical renter, as this average also includes the expensive upscale units located in the downtown area, some of which rent for well over a $1,000.

Everything you need to live a happy and fulfilled life can be found in Montreal.  Businesses such as banks (major and local), retail stores, malls and grocery outlets are in abundance here, as are service industries, ranging from hair and nail salons to automobile service garages.  The city has several libraries, hundreds of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, as well as a handful of movie theaters, concert halls, fitness centers and over 100 parks strategically located throughout both the downtown area and in the suburbs. When trying to reach these places by automobile, the streets and highways of Montreal, like many large cities, can often get congested, but the city does boast an excellent system of public transportation, which includes buses, subways and commuter rails.  The buses and subways are operated by the Société de Transport de Montréal (STM).  Bus service runs seven days a week throughout the city, and the subway system, which serves 1.3 million daily passengers, is the largest and most efficient in all of Canada.  Commuter rails serve individuals living or working in the outlying areas of Montreal’s metropolitan area, and are operated by Agence Métropolitaine de Transport, or the Metropolitan Transport Agency.

Once named “Ville-Marie,” Montreal takes its present name from Mount Royal, a large majestic peak in the heart of the city, and that is just one of the many sights and attractions that consistently draw tourists from around the world, as well as new residents who’ve come to the city for a business or educational opportunity.  From the Places des Arts—Montreal’s concert and theater venue—to the Botanical Gardens to La Thou, where visitors can be amazed by local circus-style acts, Montreal has something for everyone’s tastes.

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