Montreal is a feeling

There’s been many an occasion since last May when someone has brought up the city of Montreal in a casual conversation and I immediately start gushing, “OMGILOVEMONTREAL!!!!” And then I struggle to find the adequate words to describe just how much I love the city.

I almost feel traitorous to St. John’s about it all. St. John’s is a different ballgame entirely, and yet I feel like both cities can draw many parallels with its historic feel, vibrant dwellers, and fierce independence. It’s the people.

Matt and I had a conversation recently about how while we don’t know the names of many major politicians in the city, we can name and identity every eccentric character that walks the streets of downtown on a regular basis. The city is currently mourning the death of a downtown figure who constantly roamed the bars on the weekend, inquiring his signature “flowers for the lady?” and handing out flowers for men to give to their dates. It’s why I love this place.

I got that same feeling of “home” when I was in Montreal, and I was surprised. I’ve said it before: I’m no big city gal. I’m not impressed by skyscrapers or concrete blobs of government buildings. Public transit makes me squirmy. The funny thing is, I spent only four days in Montreal, but it was enough to convince me I have to live there at some point.

When people ask me why I love it, the only explanation I have is, “There’s a vibe.” An undercurrent of excitement, a pulse of happy people, and a “joie de vivre” I haven’t found anywhere else except maybe New York City.

And this is all just a long-winded way of introducing you to 10 reasons why Montreal is awesome.

1. Poutine, smoked meat, beer pubs, and Montreal bagels. Hangover cures of awesomeness (including the beer pubs).

2. The best subway system I’ve seen outside of London.

3. The historical district of Old Montreal, where artists paint in cobblestone alleyways and performers entertain for those dining on “terraces” around the square.

4. The nightlife of Crescent Street and Saint Laurent. Endless pubs, clubs and bars, many with outside decks.

5. Eye candy. I’ve never felt more attractive than when I did while in Montreal. I remember beautiful, suited men smiling at me in the street, and me thinking, “OMG is there something on my face?!” before realizing – nope – they were just being friendly. Ask me about Danny the soccer coach. Hubba hubba.

6. The Tam Tams at Mont Royal. Hippie fest. There’s a strong artsy community in Montreal, and it rocks.

7. The friendliness. From the enthusiastic security guide at the train station who pointed us in the right direction to the butcher who displayed his meat just for us in a store window so we could film it…Montrealers are just as friendly as Newfoundlanders, it seems.

8. Festivals, festivals, festivals. Whether it’s IglooFest in February or Jazz Fest in June, Montreal always has a reason to celebrate.

9. The French. I love hearing French being spoken, even if I can barely speak the language myself after 25 years of learning it. It’s not hard to get by with English, though, and there are a billion language learning programs.

10. The anonymity . One of the biggest drawing factors for me living in a big city for awhile is the anonymity factor, something I’ve never had here. Quel surprise!

And here’s a fun fish photo from the Biodome, just for you.

So, who has a room for me to rent in the big city?

  • January 20 2012

    I think there’s definitely places that have a feeling or vibe, that you can’t really explain, you just have to go there. The first reason is enough to convince to go to Montreal… it sounds like all sorts of heaven.

    And what’s the story with Danny the soccer coach?

    • January 27 2012

      It IS! Go go go! Eat poutine!

      Hahaha, Danny and I had a brief and lovely love affair, and then I lost his phone number. He was beautiful and taught kids, and was on his way to South America on a big road trip. So much regret.

  • January 20 2012

    you make me sad I’ve never been to Montreal (so many people thought it was a sin, growing up in Ottawa and never having been, but nobody did anything to help me remedy the situation :( )

    on the plus side, though, growing up in Ottawa, I knew lots of people who often went to Montreal. . . and so I do know that Montreal bagels are my favourite bread product OF LIFE. om nom nom.

    mebbe i’ll visit when you stay there.

    • January 27 2012

      One of those things where you don’t think to visit cuz you live close, right? Sadface. I took Central NL for granted too. We’ll go together!

  • January 21 2012

    Now I definitely want to check it out! :)

    • January 27 2012

      Put ‘er on the ‘ol bucket list

  • January 21 2012

    As a born and raised Montrealer, I’m glad you love my city. You helped explain why I seek out and love other cities with a “vibe,” like NYC and London. I never know what to think of cities without any spirit or energy.

    I don’t actually think we’re a happy or friendly lot to each other, but I guess we do well by tourists, which is more than some cities can say. Feel free to stop by and say hi next time you’re in town :)

    • January 27 2012

      Yay! I love it, and I hope to be in town again within the next year. I’m surprised that you don’t think you’re happy or friendly to each other…hopefully not just a tourist thing!

  • January 22 2012

    I’m happy to learn we share an affinity for Montreal, Candice. I’m surprised, however, that you didn’t mention strippers in this post. Aren’t there a lot of strip clubs in Montreal? I figured you would have gone to check out at least one. I’ve never been, of course. But don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t either ;)

    • January 27 2012

      That’s one thing I didn’t get to do, actually! I really wanna try the naked breakfast thing. Yeah, strippers serving breakfast.

  • January 22 2012

    I’ve been wanting to visit Montreal so badly! Mostly for the poutine, the French, the beautifulness I can only imagine!

    • January 27 2012

      Reaaaaally want poutine now.

  • January 22 2012

    1. Great, now I want to go to Montreal.
    2. Tell me about Danny, the soccer coach.

    • January 27 2012

      We had a brief love affair, and I lost his number. SIGH! He was SO DREAMY.

  • January 23 2012

    Ok, now I really want to go there, too! Also, you take such good pictures. You’re just awesome at everything you do <3…

    One more thing: "the butcher who displayed his meat just for us in a store window so we could film it" ….hehehehehe… God, I'm so childish.

    • January 27 2012

      Hahaha I’m glad you think so, I thought those pics were a little dreary!

      Totally showed us his sausage(s).

  • January 23 2012

    So… after reading this, I’ve decided that fish has a French accent.
    I know the math doesn’t quite work out there, but still.
    It would be fun.

    • January 27 2012

      I can just imagine his French laughter…hnuh huh huh!

  • January 23 2012

    Montreal has been on my list of places to go for ages! Maybe this year….!

  • January 23 2012

    I grew up in Ottawa and used to take the train into Montreal once a year as a kid for a back to school shopping outing with my mother, so it’s thanks to her I got hooked. I think the city would be fabulous for long term living but I would like to see the city politicians get a handle on the infrastructure. It’s a city that’s falling apart and as one man I recently met said, I never stop under a bridge if the traffic slows. Too many pieces of bridge have fallen off. But its close to the Eastern Townships and the Laurentians which is a big bonus in my mind. And I love the vibe.

    • January 27 2012

      Ah, didn’t know that! About the crumbling bridge, I mean. I also didn’t know you grew up in Ottawa! That’s another thing I love about Montreal…the proximity to so many awesome cities.

  • January 23 2012

    Montreal!!!!!! Oh lala one of the craziest nights of my life! hahaha

  • January 26 2012

    Three or four years ago a St.John’sinite/ St.John’stonian/ whatever someone coming from St. John’s introduced me to Donnie Dumphy. Since that introduction of youtube video after youtube video, I’m pretty convinced that I too, need to live there.

    Okay, so really that story has nothing to do with Montreal. But I do want to know the deets about this soccer coach…

    • January 27 2012

      Dude, come crash on my couch! Well, really it’s a futon with a hole in it. But I assure you, you’ll love it.

  • March 09 2012

    Great insights Candice, nice way of showing us around the city, keep having fun! :)

  • June 20 2013

    I’ve got a futon with your name on it! Montrealers love people who love Montreal !

  • June 20 2013

    I’ve got a futon with your name on it! Montrealers love people who love Montreal !

    • June 20 2013

      Hey, thanks Arielle! Be careful what you wish for…I may never leave, haha.

  • August 25 2014
    Juan Ca

    As a writer for MTL i was browsing the web for a little inspiration. my question was what makes people love Montreal. and what a great post i’ve found.
    You love poutine, then i love you
    You love tams tams, then i love you
    You love the Old port, then i love you
    You love naked guys (you went down on a “Québécois” soccer coach), then i love you even more!
    Now, for summer 2015, make plans and come down for… Osheaga… maybe?
    Montreal is like a shirt, your favourite shirt.
    Montreal is what you make it. your vibe, your style, your home, your L.O.V.E.

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