There are Pretty People in Montreal

I arrived in Montreal with high expectations. I had asked my Twitter followers and Facebook friends what to do in the city, and the answer was unanimous: poutine, strippers, and partying.

But we stepped off the train and into rain and drizzle. Our view of Mont Royal from our Omni Hotel was entirely masked by fog, and when we went out to find breakfast with our buddy Kendra, the restaurant she suggested had an hour line-up…outside. I was beginning to think I had gotten my hopes up, even if I had never heard anyone say anything bad about Montreal. Ever.

Breakfast at The Main, Montreal

Breakfast at The Main.

Fortunately, Kendra proved to be an excellent guide and we ended up in the Old Town, spying on weddings being photographed in front of the Notre Dame and wandering through tiny alleyways where artists had set up shop. And by the time the sun came out to play and we found ourselves drinking sangria on a terrace overlooking a square where buskers performed for hundreds of people, I had fallen helplessly, hopelessly in love with Montreal.

I am not a big city girl. St. John’s suits me well, and despite having a fantastic time in Toronto last night, we drove away on the busy 400 towards Sault Ste Marie with me thinking, “I can’t understand how anyone lives here with all this chaos.” But even with 1.5 million people, Montreal didn’t intimidate me in the slightest. The Metro (‘Tro) is fantastically easy to figure out, speaking French wasn’t an issue, and everyone was gushingly nice. Gushingly. Plus for its size, Montreal is surprisingly affordable.

Montreal Old Town

Cheri Lucas summed it up perfectly during a brief Twitter chat: St Laurent craziness, parties spilling out onto the street, hot men/women everywhere.

Saturday evening, Cailin, Kendra and I went out for a night on the town. We started in the touristy area of Crescent Street, eating appetizers and drinking beers on the deck of Sir Winston Churchill. We witnessed the table next to us get kicked out of the bar, a brief cab collision in the street below us, and fire trucks cruising by filled with handsome men apparently just surveying the scene in plainclothes. (We witnessed this a lot, actually. What’s up with that?)

Then Kendra took us to where more of the locals hang out: the area of St. Laurent, and a bar named Biftech, where the three of us had the luck of sitting down next to three incredibly HGs. (Our friend had been referring to “hot guys” as “HGs” since we got there, so we stuck with it.) We made new friends, drank some beers, and headed on over to Tokyo’s rooftop deck. Then we partied until the wee hours of the morning…hence the previous sleepwalking post.

By the time we boarded our train to Ottawa, I was plotting ways to live in Montreal short-term within the next year. Cailin and I talked about how we have only seen a small percentage of the country so far during our trip, but each city and town we visit has a distinctly different feel than the previous one. Montreal is young, busy, filled with party people; Ottawa is clean, beautiful and family oriented. Toronto has the “centre of Canada” thing going on, an air of self-importance which is pretty warranted, I think.

We didn’t spend all our time peering down the neck of a beer bottle, either. We visited the Biodome, checked out some shops and walked everywhere we possibly could. Sunday afternoon, we watched the Tam Tams performing at Mont Royal—an organization of hippies of free spirits all gathering in one spot to smoke pot and participate in one hell of a jam session. There were some seriously freaky-deaky people there.

These dudes were rad. And antisocial.

Okay, so maybe we spent most of our time peering down the neck of a beer bottle. But it’s research.

So who wants to make Montreal their temporary home with me?

  • June 03 2011

    “freaky deaky” eeheeheehee ;D
    I never really thought of the ‘feel’ of Ottawa before, but I think you’re pretty spot on with that clean, family oriented idea. . and everythign I’ve ever heard of Montreal, and the people I know who live there would certainly fit your description :)
    I am definitely thumbs up to you not wanting to live in Toronto. But I would support a decision to move to Montreal for awhile. I’d probably even visit you. ;D

    • June 05 2011

      Hahaha, Ottawa is totally family-oriented. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. I guess it has that whole “capital city of Canada” thing to live up to.

  • June 03 2011

    I do Candice! Pick me! (Don’t tell Pete)

    Because I’ve never been there, and am embarrassed to say so.

    • June 05 2011

      *gasp*! You’d love it, GO! Or join me. Haha, I talk like I’m a pro…last week was my first visit also.

  • June 03 2011

    I do! :) Sounds like you had a great trip. I’ve never been to Montreal, but would love to visit sometime!

  • June 03 2011

    You guys probably passed by my place on your way out of Toronto! haha

    Montreal is amazing, and you make it sound even better :D

  • June 03 2011

    Oh, you know it – I was only there for a couple of days and I want to know WAY more about Montreal. Seriously groovy city.

    Hey, this CCCC is just great. I look forward to each new installment and wonder where you two are now. Really great idea.

    Egad, the Pan Pacific looks jaw-droppingly luscious….swoon.

    • June 05 2011

      Thank you, Susan! Guess where I’m staying in Regina…the Dragon’s Nest! :)

  • June 03 2011

    Hahaha! Any time I see a dude playing a bongo I can’t help but laugh. I always think of that Matthew McConaughey… um… ‘incident’. I guess that was probably a NHGBP. Not really my area of expertice, but I’ve still got a hunch…

    • June 05 2011

      What incident?! I totally don’t recall…

      • June 06 2011

        There was some drug use, some nudity and some very loud music. Less than enthusiastic neighbors called the cops (who arrived mid-performance). Makes me laugh every time I think about it.
        “Alright alright alright” :)

  • June 03 2011

    I want to live in Montreal too, and not just so I can tell Torontonians that I’m from “quebec”. The atmosphere there is really kick-ass, so I totally agree with about 100.5% of your post.


    • June 05 2011

      Damn, looks like I got a boatload of new roomies, let’s GO!

  • June 03 2011

    I think Montreal is Canada’s coolest city hands down. I’m currently in Calgary, probably the worst of the big cities, and I found Toronto cool, but a bit stuffy and far less justified in its self-importance than New York. Long live the freaky-deakies!

    • June 05 2011

      Freaky-deakies !I’ll be passing through Calgary tomorrow. Not much time to form an impression.

      AHEM, I still claim St. John’s to be the coolest city. ;)

  • June 04 2011

    Montreal is a smaller town feel. Maybe it’s more open air and less density than Torotno. Toronto is one of those places that many have to get used to. I grew up in TO, but the way it’s home for me is because of all of the different little neighbourhoods. I usually stick to one or two of those neighbourhoods and it works out for me. But as a second home, Montreal would be a pretty sweet deal.

    • June 05 2011

      Yeah, don’t get me wrong Natalie, I definitely didn’t give Toronto the right amount of time to explore it all! It’s one hell of a city, and I can see how people fall for it. For me though, I’m just a small city gal!

  • June 04 2011

    If I had to choose just one Canadian city to live in, it would have to be Montreal. There’s something about it that’s distinctly European… I love the vibe and its old town is absolutely gorgeous! There was a recent Lonely Planet article that ranked Montreal as one of the world’s 10 best cities to party – no wonder my brother found it so hard to leave!

    • June 05 2011

      Hey, at least give St. John’s a shot! Hahaha. I believe that about the partying in Montreal though. I’m dying to go back now.

  • June 04 2011

    That’s awesome you made it to the rooftop at Tokyo Bar — I used to go there a lot and stare at the swarms of partiers down below. I lived in Montreal for several summers, years ago — in the Plateau, in the midst of everything, and also on the McGill campus, which opens up dorms in the summer to travelers. Not sure if the university still does this, but it was relatively inexpensive.

    Your tweets and this post reminded me of how much fun I had there — wouldn’t mind living there again someday!


    • June 05 2011

      Ooh, that’s an idea…renting out a room in the campus. Such a great location too. I didn’t realize you actually lived there, awesome!

  • June 05 2011

    Sounds like you got a lot of volunteers to join you in your temporary move to Montreal, you’ll need a bigger place and lots of couches.

    Loving your stories on this trip.

    • June 05 2011

      Thanks, Linlah! Glad you’re following. You’re welcome to come crash on my couch as well.

  • June 07 2011

    Sounds like fun! I love big cities and Montreal is definitely on my list.

  • July 03 2011

    Hey Candice,

    Lauren and I lived in Montreal for 3 months last year and loved it too. We plan to go back in December to stay longer term. Actually, didn’t you see Lauren when we were there? It’s all a a bit of a blur. But we’ll definitely be living there soon.


    • July 07 2011

      Hehe, nope, didn’t get a chance to meet up! If you do go back longer term though, perhaps I’ll see you there. I really do want to come back.

  • October 28 2012

    how hockey player looking in Montreal? is it they have big body or same like others. i want to know. I was attract to go there.

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