Things to know before coming to Montreal

I marvel at the differences between Montreal and other Canadian cities, but in just less than six weeks, it’s taken me no time to adjust to them. I’ve noted the quirks and I’ve pocketed those routines. I hadn’t realized this until I attempted to walk on a green light in Ottawa, despite there being no “Walk” sign. Fortunately, April pulled me back. Green doesn’t ALWAYS mean “go”…only in Montreal.

They’re minute, but they’re present. Prepare yourself.


1. The booze is cheap as hell.

Well, compared to most of Canada. I bought a 12-pack of beers for $15 and nearly fainted…the same thing would cost me $25 in St. John’s. Similarly, it’s not hard to find $5 pints at most pubs, especially with daily specials. Try Brutopia during the week.

Drinking a “Gone With the Wind” at La Distillerie.


2. They do the French double-cheek kiss thing.

I wasn’t aware of this. When I first met my friend Adam, he leaned in awkwardly close and I went in for the hug. I think we did this like, three times, before I caught on. He hasn’t cheek-kissed me since, that bastard.

Just kidding, Adam. ILU.

3. If you’re driving, don’t turn right at the red light.

It’s illegal! You’ll die!

4. Make eye contact when cheers-ing.

The lovely Jodi Ettenberg taught me this one after she cooked a romantic dinner for me, and we poured a glass of wine. She wasn’t happy until I said, “SALUD!” with eye contact. I’m sketchy like that. Eye contact makes me nervous.

5. You don’t need to know French, unless you’re driving (all signage is in French).

I am stunned by the fluidity in which Montrealers can switch between languages, and also ashamed of my own lack of bilingualism. If a server greets you in French, don’t panic! Just say “hi” or “hello” and they’ll sense your Anglophone roots immediately. They’ll likely switch to English without a trace of an accent.

“Arret” means “Stop,” in case you couldn’t figure it out.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t make Montreal a very good environment for practicing your French. My accent blows.

6. Apportez votre vin.

Tons of restaurants let you bring your own wine, so get sloshed for CHEAP! Drinking and eating culture in Montreal is MASSIVE. More on that later.

7. Be whoever the fuck you wanna be.

Dress like a bum, wear gothic crap, be trendy, etc. There’s no way you will NOT fit into this city…it just works. While I was waiting to move into my new apartment and staying in a hostel for a few nights, I went out one morning in search of breakfast. I HATE dining alone, but I decided to suck it up and went to L’Oeuforie to sit on the terasse. No one batted an eyelash.

Just having dinner with my parrot, NBD. Except BFD.

I have so much to say about Montreal, OMG. BUT FIRST, an announcement about where I’m going NEXT! It’s big…and it’s TOMORROW. Check back then, suckas.

  • June 13 2012

    The more I read about Montreal through you, the more I want to visit:)

    Btw, looking forward the announcement about your next destination.


    • June 14 2012

      You SHOULD! It’s unreal. Not like anywhere else in North America, I feel.

  • June 13 2012

    This sounds like my kind of city. Glad you are having a good time!

  • June 13 2012

    I love that most of these have to do with booze in one way or another :)

    • June 14 2012

      Bahaha oh dear, I hadn’t even realized…

  • June 14 2012

    I can dress like a bum you say?!

  • June 15 2012

    Have you been to Schwartz’s yet?

    • June 15 2012

      Yes! But last year. I need to revisit.

  • June 15 2012

    Dress like a bum and cheap booze? My kinda town !

    • June 18 2012

      Yes! OR dress like a crazy person. Both work

  • June 16 2012

    Bahhhhh I want to come to Montreal! Obsessed with the French/English thing, although I can never understand the Canadian French accent! Glad you’re having so much fun :)

    • June 18 2012

      You must come and practice it, then! Takes French people a little while to get it, but they get it!

  • June 16 2012

    Being from Montreal, gone around the world since now more than 2 years, I have to say that yous post about my hometown are delightful :)

    • June 18 2012

      Thanks so much, Maxime! I’m glad. I’m in love with this place, seriously.

  • June 16 2012

    Lady you are supposed to make eye contact no matter where you cheers – it’s bad luck not to!

    • June 18 2012

      Hahaha, well I’ve never heard anyone protest as much as Jodi does! Lol

  • June 17 2012

    I’m always envious of anyone who is bilingual! I don’t understand why their stop signs say Arret when those in France say STOP. That to me is weird.

    • June 18 2012

      Do they say “stop” in France?! I had no idea, that’s hilarious!

  • July 03 2012

    Can you believe we’ve never been to Quebec?! Shame on us…

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