Friday, October 16, 2009

Why Montreal is Better than Toronto

If you're an Anglo living in Quebec, you've probably been asked by other Canadians or Americans why you continue to live in Quebec given the language 'situation.'

It's never easy to answer, suffice to say that we stay because we want to. Those who aren't comfortable have already left, but those who remain, like it just fine.

Just for a hoot, I'd like to compare the livability index between Montreal and Toronto according to my own strictly subjective opinion.
I've graded each category out of ten and then applied a multiplier which weighs the category's overall importance.

Housing ---- Montreal 9/10 Toronto 4/10 x 10
A no-brainer. Montreal offers as varied a choice as Toronto and at about 35% cheaper than Toronto, it's a significant bargain. It's also possible to get homes with real lawns and back yards throughout the city with the exception of downtown. I once visited my cousin's home in Toronto and was shocked to find that there wasn't more than 3 feet that separated her home from her neighbour's. Freaky!

Health Care ---- Montreal 4/10 Toronto 6/10 x 10
While Quebec's health care system is clearly inferior to Ontario's, the gap is not as wide for Anglos in Montreal, who do a lot better then their Francophone counterparts, especially outside the major cities. The biggest problem remains the lack of family doctors and waiting lists.

Shopping ---- Montreal 5/10 Toronto 7/10 x 3
Montreal's biggest weakness is the lack of variety. Toronto boasts many American chain stores that haven't made the transition over to Quebec because of the French factor. (example-Williams-Sonoma). At the very high end, Toronto has a slew of expensive international stores that aren't represented in Montreal. Visit Bloor street in Yorkville to see what I mean.

Professional Sports ---- Montreal 5/10 Toronto 9/10 x 4
Toronto counts a pro baseball team and a pro basketball team, something missing in Montreal. The Toronto FC play in the premier professional soccer league, the MSL as compared to the minor league USL Impact. If Toronto had a NFL franchise, they'd be a perfect 10. The Buffalo Bills do however play some home games in Toronto, so it's a 9/10 for the city in terms of professional sports. While the Canadiens and the Allouettes are better organizations then the Leafs and the Argos, they can't make up the difference.

Restaurants and Nightlife---- Montreal 8/10 Toronto 6/10 x 3
At the top end of the scale both cities have a wonderful selection of first class restaurants, but Toronto has more. That being said, the real difference between the cities is in the restaurants serving patrons who can't shell out $400 on a restaurant bill and here Montreal wins easily. While Torontonians are more prone to eat at American style chain restaurants (like TGI Friday's), Montrealers eat in neighbourhood bistros that are second to none in North America. Eating phenomenally well, at a reasonable price is what sets the cities apart. Montreal nightlife is more dynamic and bustling, mainly because a higher percentage of Montrealers hit the clubs to party. Toronto's last call at 2:00AM is a bit of a party-pooper. Montreal bar owners are lobbying to extend the 3:00AM closing time to 6:00AM so people can continue dancing and sober up. (no alcohol would be served after 3:00AM..hmm!)

Live Entertainment---- Montreal 4/10 Toronto 7/10 x 3
No doubt that Toronto wins this category. Live theatre is virtually non-existent in Montreal. Although all the major musics acts include Montreal on the national tours, there are some smaller acts that just don't make it into La Belle Province. At least Montreal's situation is better than Vancouver's, a city that is consistently skipped on national tours.

Traffic---- Montreal 5/10 Toronto 3/10 x 6
Traffic is a problem for both cities, with both road networks straining under the load. Both have too many cars during rush hour and gridlock is an unfortunate fact of life. But Toronto's traffic is worse and commuting distances are significantly longer than in Montreal, making for a much longer drive. Toronto's Don Valley Parkway and Montreal's Metropolitan Boulevard remain the most annoying roads in Canada.

Cottage Country---- Montreal 10/10 Toronto 6/10 x 7
Toronto cottage country consist of the three major destinations, the Muskoka, Kawartha and Haliburton areas. While all three offer magnificent natural settings of woods and lakes, they require two to three hours to get to.

Montreal has two distinct areas that serve as cottage country, "The Laurentians," north of the city and the "Eastern Townships" to the southwest. Both offer magnificent lakes and woods, but have an added feature that is sorely lacking in Toronto cottage country- real mountains.
Better still, the Laurentians are located just 45 minutes away from Montreal, while the Townships are a little farther at about an hour and ten minutes. Montreal's cottage country is also better than Toronto's because of it's accessibility. Both regions are served by a first class divided highway that cuts through the heart of the regions, making for quick access.

As for boating, both Toronto and Montreal cottage country offer everything a boater could want, but for sailing the 'Townships' Lake Memphremagog straddling the US/Canadian border is tops.

Both city's cottage districts offer an outstanding selection of cross-country skiing, but when it comes to downhill skiing, Montreal far outshines Toronto, which offers few choices, the best being Intrawest's Blue Mountain resort in Collingwood with it's paltry 750 ft vertical drop. It doesn't compare to it's sister property in Mont Tremblant which is three times as tall and a world class resort, complete with a casino and airport (In fact Porter Airlines flies directly to the resort from Toronto during the ski season!) The Laurentians, The Townships and Northern Vermont (with the fabulous Jay Peak, Stowe Mountain Resort and Killington Ski Resort) combine to offer dozens of first quality ski resorts.
Also worth mentioning is the 120 kilometre bike trail that runs between St. Jerome and Mont Laurier and offers restaurants, B+B's, inns and campgrounds along the way, a biker's paradise!

What makes Montreal's cottage country a perfect 10/10 is that it is a complete summer and winter paradise, available not only to cottagers, but to all Montrealers as a day trip. Fabulous!

Higher Education---- Montreal 10/10 Toronto 8/10 x 8
Montreal and Toronto both offer splendid opportunities for higher education. What's amazing is that Montreal Anglos (numbering less than 15% of Toronto's Anglos) have so many options to choose from. Montreal's 10/10 comes from having the finest English language University in Canada, (18th best in the world) an amazing achievement. Toronto has more great schools, but none with an international reputation.

Weather---- Montreal 3/10 Toronto 5/10 x 8
Toronto has a warmer climate than Montreal. Not exceptionally better, but enough to make a big difference, lifestyle-wise. Truth be told, Montreal is not a fun place to be in February.

Festivals---- Montreal 10/10 Toronto 6/10 x 4
With the return of the Grand Prix, Montreal runs three major International events including the Jazz Festival and the Just for Laughs Festivals. What's significant is the extent that the citizens embrace these events. Toronto has only one real international event, the Toronto International Film Festival, which pales by comparison to the happenings in Montreal.

Public Transportation-- Montreal 8/10 Toronto 7/10 x 7
Both cities offer both excellent subway and surface transportation. The only reason Montreal's score is higher is that trips are generally shorter.

Suburbs-- Montreal 10/10 Toronto 6/10 x 7
Both cities offer beautiful bedroom communities, but the the real mark of a suburb is how far it is from the city centre and Montreal's west island suburbs are a lot closer. Some of the morning and evening commutes in Toronto are brutal hour and a half plus affairs. Going downtown for an evening out is an option that many suburban Torontonians don't have, given the long drive in. Suburbanites in Montreal remain vitally connected to the city.

Parks Montreal 9/10 Toronto 7/10 x 4
Montreal's Mount Royal Park has been voted the 8th most important urban park in the world. 545 acres smack dad in the middle of the city makes it second only to Vancouver's Stanley Park as Canada's best. Toronto has the Toronto Islands Park, but you need a paid ferry ride and a up to 40 minutes to get there, and that's from downtown. Accessibility is the key.

Bicycle Friendly-- Montreal 10/10 Toronto 5/10 x 3
Montreal leads all cities in North America in integrating bicycles into the urban landscape. The completion of a bike path on Maisonneuve Boulevard running through the heart of the downtown core signals the city's commitment. The BIXI bike rental program has been wildly successful and is expanding this spring into more neighbourhoods. The program is the envy of North America with cities lining up to import the concept. Don't worry Toronto, I'm sure you'll copy BIXI soon.

Innovation-- Montreal 8/10 Toronto 6/10 x 3
Montreal has always been the innovator, while Toronto remains the executor. Like the Japanese, Toronto copies and improves just about every urban concept developed in Montreal. Montreal is first, Toronto is better.


Professional Life - Montreal 6/10 Toronto 9/10 x 8
There's more opportunity in Toronto for Anglos than in Montreal. That, more than language was the cause of the Anglo exodus from Quebec.

Cost of Living - Montreal 8/10 Toronto 6/10 x 8
Housing, restaurants, entertainment all cost significantly more in Toronto.

Joie de Vivre -Montreal 8/10 Toronto 5/10 x 8
Torontonians are stay-at-homers. Montrealers live in the streets. There's an edginess in Montreal that exists nowhere else in Canada. Anglo Montrealers live in two cultures and enjoy it.

And so here is the final tally.

Final points--- Montreal 832- Toronto 692.

What do you think?

54 comments:

  1. The multiplier factor for Professional Life is supposedly 50 to 70, thus explains why more people actually choose Toronto as a better place to live in than the other way around...

    And oh, where is the entry for "Language Discrimination"?

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    1. There's in no way more discrimination in Montreal than in Toronto! Try to get around and be served in a business, helped in the street or find a job in french in Toronto! That's the worst argument ever! LOL!

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    2. The author of this blog needs to do WAY more objective research. McGill is the only university in Canada with an international reputation? Sorry but no one outside of Canada has even heard of McGill. U of Toronto has a far better reputation, and has achieved #17 (one place ahead of McGill) on international rankings. Montreal is the same lame assed city as Toronto, the only difference is that there are far fewer job opportunities for the educated thanks to quebec's racist administrators.

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  2. I'd take Halifax over either city. They've got the ocean, lots of fresh air, and a wonderful sense of welcome.

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  3. I ran away from Montreal in 1991 and enjoy Vancouver as a home town now. I love coming back for the night life, fine dining and the habs, but feel MTL is a great place to visit, I just wouldn't want to live there anymore based on the language issue.
    You are correct about GTA, i wouldn't live there if you paid me.

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  4. Toronto is awesome to live in, especially just outside of downtown like South Etobicoke!!! I love to visit Montreal, but that's about it!

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  5. Is it a requirement to party to live in Montreal or Quebec?

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  6. One big reason for higher prices and accessibility problems in Toronto is immigration - which is totally out of control.

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  7. I moved to Toronto in 1994 but have always identified myself as a Montrealer who now lives in Toronto. I still catch myself comparing TO and MTL. I can't help it!!! If it hadn't been for the "language" issue and lack of jobs for anglos - I never would have left. If the opportunity should come around to move back with a secure position - "West Island here I come.....!!!" I miss Montreal and the lifestyle that comes with it just about every day. It's funny...some times when I'm watching a Habs game on a Saturday night...I almost forget where I am...but then reality soons sets in again! LOL!!!

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    1. Just out of curiosity - no harm intended - I was wondering why you didn't learn French to improve your chances of getting a job since you seem to like Montreal so much. I'm a francophone who wanted to work in Ottawa (where you need to be bilingual almost everywhere) so I learned English... It was a no-brainer for me.

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    2. No matter how much you learn French, speak and write, French people never give you credit. Never give you a job no matter how much you are better. It is plain and simple as that. So I had to move out of Province.

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    3. I am a francophone from Montreal as well and I now live in BC. Is that true what you're saying? If it is, I must honestly tell you that I'm definitely shocked. I had the chance to work with anglophones in West Island even though my English wasn't that great at that time... But they gave me a chance. If what you're saying is true and that we act in such xenophobic ways then I'm totally and your side and I'd do anything to try to change the Francophone mentality. I think we can both coexist and must simply forgive the past.

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    4. I must admit is true, I'm swiss but I speak English much better than french (my native language is German) Francos don't like Anglos or anything not french. Obviously not all, I work with a mix of French/English people in Montreal, but I've felt the rejection of some french people, specially in the east of Montreal. And now with the PQ in power I'm planning to move. The economy is falling apart :( Too sad, because I really love Montreal, but I think I don't want to be here if things get worse.

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  8. What do I think? ... I think it's just another weak attempt of a Montrealer pretending that his city is still the top place in Canada. Just face it ... Montreal has slipped. The producer of this survey or whatever it is shows he really doesn't know Toronto. The Caribana Festival is the largest of its kind in the world visited by people from around the globe. Pride week is the largest on the continent. TIFF is becoming the top festival in the world. Montreal an innovator and Toronto just copies ... Puleeez!!!

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    1. This is true but you need to understand, the lifestyle in Toronto is all about work work work. You don't really have the time of enjoying your life because you're busy all the time, working, trying to pay off all your expenses. In Montreal, you can go out and enjoy life there. Like it was said before, in Montreal, people live on the streets and are out all the and most importantly, THEY ENJOY LIFE! In Toronto, I don't enjoy shit and don't get me wrong, I'm a party animal but Toronto just doesn't cut it for me anymore. I've had it with this work Monday-Sunday lifestyle, I need more satisfaction in my life and that's why I'm moving to Montreal in a couple of months, once my business and house get sold.
      And FYI, who cares what the roads n shit look like?? As long as you get from point a to point b, you're set.

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    2. I think Toronto definitely has some amazing festivals. The top three international ones are Pride, Caribana and TIFF. Montreal's top three festivals are Grand Prix, Jazz Fest and Just for Laughs. Toronto is becoming increasingly bohemian, particularly downtown. I'll admit that it's taken Toronto some time to catch up to Montreal; I mean just walk along Ossington Avenue, Little Italy and Kensington Market to see what I mean. But Toronto does have to make more areas of the city car-free, especially in the summer like Montreal's La Village and Prince-Arthur.

      In addition, I find that once one leaves Montreal's amazing downtown, it becomes very mall- and plaza-centred. Whereas Toronto has some interesting areas outside of the downtown area, such as Corso Italia, The Beaches, Greektown, Little India, Little Jamaica/International Market, etc. Toronto's suburban sprawl is disgusting, but there does seem to be a little more variety in urban neighbourhoods.

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    3. and i also think u dont know montreal to say such thing. So the Caribana festival is more known than just for laugh , than cirque du soleil than etc... do your research and learn about montreal before writing false comment . do you know there is the same ammount of world organisation in montreal than NYC ... and there is even much more to learn about montreal.
      pls do your homework and stop crying :)

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  9. Yes for real. Toronto has TIFF, which Montreal would never have in their life, Whoever mad this also forgot about how big the language barier is. Furthermore, Toronto is considered a world class city, Montreal is not, i live in MTL and it is completely run down, roads falling apart, buildings falling apart. Also MTL has like a third the population Toronto has. Finally have you ever had asian cusine in MTL??? what a joke that is. People reading this need to remeber that one person wrote this and his/her bias is definitley eveident. Montreal stopped being better than Toronto in the 70's...this article also left out the corruption that has ruined MTl for years...Finally Health care in MTL is like a 2 of 10..I miss Toronto cant wait to come back.

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    1. I lived both in Toronto (10 years) and in Montreal (9 years). Montreal is way better tan Toronto in many ways. Regarding Asian food I guess you don't know were to go. Montreal has excellent authentic Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai food in many neighborhoods. Only with respect to Indian food, I would say that Toronto is way better. I also lived in the orient for a couple of years (Hong Kong and Nagoya), and I know what I am talking about. Alaso, regarding innovation and architecture, Montreal is way ahead of Toronto.

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  10. FYI - The U of T is the best university in Canada. There's nothing better than Toronto's diverse street life.

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    1. You seem not to know that Quebec has the most affordable universities in the country -by very far- and the most university students per capita in North America (right ahead of Boston). Here the average student doesn't have much to pay. Even McGill students from Ontario pay less than what they would pay back home.

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    2. Karl, thats very true, but Taxes are also much higher in QC, so once you finish university you better leave!

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    3. I was a bit surprised by the higher taxes at first - especially buying big stuff when I first moved in, but you know, you get a lot for those taxes I think. Especially the arts, parks and transit, and the urban planning is quite something compared to the TDot.

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  11. Yes Agree that Montreal has better transportation but it is soooo much more expensive than Toronto
    Just on Income tax alone you lose 7% on Sales Tax Montreal is 1.5 % higher.. food price is 40% higher Who said Toronto is expensive .. Montreal is much much more !!! I lived in both !

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  12. Guys i lived in both,Montreal is 30% cheaper from Toronto and people are more friendly,car insurance In MTL 60$ ana average in Toronto 150$ 2 bedroom condo MTL 850 Toronto 1800$ where i live now,i cant wait to go back to MTL i love it>

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  13. I've been living in Toronto now for 20 years and still have not adapted.. Culture shock was the first thing I noticed when I got relocated here. I am still trying to figure out what identity Toronto has besides being a business city. There is not a day that goes by where I don't miss Montreal but I married a girl from here and have a tween and it's not that easy to move back when they are not bilingual.
    There's nothing like the joie de vive in Montreal, the restaurants, people nightlife etc. People in Toronto are pretty miserable. You have to have lived in Montreal to appreciate it and realize what you had. If I could go back I would and would not miss anything in Toronto.
    Montreal is a beautiful city and Toronto has nothing to compare, it's absolutely depressing to go downtown because I always compare everything to Montreal and believe me there is no comparison.
    I'm skier also and that sucks here too.

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  14. This is a little biased towards Montreal. toronto's public transportation is a little hectic but its better than montreal's. plus montreal is more bike friendly but heyy the drivers here have no respect for bikers.
    HOWEVER, Montreal still wins. MTL has a balance between work and life. culture in montreal is awesome. Nightlife in T.O. is either getting a beer, dancin for 15 mins and leaving, OR getting drunk and shootin people
    BTW if you are racist to french, dont know french and arent willing to french, then montrealers are rude and snooty. But you dont have to be fluent. I'm an anglophone livin in montreal for 4 years (not including the time when i was in universiity). I was in McGill and learned some french but im still not fluent. BUT i have montrealer(francophone) friends, francophone girlfriend and people are friendly to me.

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    1. completely right ..show us some effort ( like you did ) and we will welcome you arms open .

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  15. McGill is way overrated. In the most respected ranking - Academic Ranking of World Universities, McGill is far behind UoT and UBC.

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  16. how about calgary, edmonton compared with TO and MTL?

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    1. Calgary and Edmonton are superior to TO and MTL being an ex -Montrealer now living in Edmonton we Albertans have to fork out billions of dollars to Ontario and especially the 3rd world nation known as Quebec so they can have their "Joie de Vivre" at the Alberta's tax payers expense! No debt here!

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  17. Torontonians are relaxed and definitely more agreable. But there is a lot of trash on the streets also in front of the houses, and the parks are much smaller. The shopping malls are bigger, though. Also the food is cheaper.

    Montréal is much cleaner, McGill infrastructure definitely looks better then UoT. The metro is from the future compared to the subway.However, work opportunities are extremely limited if you don't get hired by an anglo company or if you aren't Quebecois.

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  18. il n'ya pas du choix--for us ex-Montrealers,T.O. will always be la dieuxieme choix--and second class at that. In Vancouver, you can't eat the view. In Montreal, the language laws drive you crazy. In T.O. as the saying goes you just work! work! work!! Torontonians don't know the first thing about joie de vivre... quel;e dommage :(

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  19. after living in both, toronto tops. i'm an american who lived in montreal for a few years and now toronto. montreal has an awesome culture of it's own, and toronto gets a bad rap for not having its own culture, but this is because toronto is twice the size with more diversity. toronto is an easier city to fit in, because there's more of more...montrealers are more easy going but when it comes to toronto, montrealers are always comparing to toronto, when toronto is more comparing to other world cities....people could care less about what city is better in toronto and focus on priorities, like paying off a mortgage and living in florida for retirement...there are long term consequences to enjoying life more in earlier years, and that's at the expense of a quality retirement (people in toronto do seem to have their economic priorities in mind). also, toronto isn't work work work, anymore then other world class cities. it's not like it's a city full of drone slaves....toronto is vibrant, modern, clean, and safe, and relative to other cities of it's size, outstanding in almost all measures of a good life. also, who cares whose bars shut down later? oh yeah, people below the age 30....well to the youth below age 30, i tell you this...ideally, you'll live more years after age 30 then before, and i promise once you end up like your parents and become parents yourselves, or not....bars open later = bad news for everyone.

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  20. 1of3...
    First of all, the amalgamated (“Mega”) city of Toronto – formerly “Metropolitan Toronto” – is a BIG city. Every area of the city is different. If you look at just the former old city of Toronto proper, there are plenty of unique and eccentric neighbourhoods each with their own charm and character. You will not see the bank tower to Union station rat races here, or the DVP/Gardner rush hour gridlock; you’ll see the same type of people taking time to sip their tea on a balcony or patio, tech entrepreneurs and social media yuppies casually plugging away on their laptops in a café, main street shoppe owners and artisans going about their daily routine and community interactions – basically everyone but the tight collar suits or overworked masses T.O has been made out to be full of. The author of this interesting post did not exactly define the boundaries of a “Toronto vs. Montreal” debate (except for the cottage country comparison), but I got the impression he was comparing the core town/boroughs of Montreal (not even the whole island) to that of the entire Greater Toronto Area, which contains over a dozen major cities and several different regional municipalities. And when I say “major” cities I’m talking about actual cities, not towns, with populations approaching 200,000. To compare the daily downtown commute from Oshawa, or Oakville, Burlington, etc. to that of Pointe Claire or Kirkland even is not exactly apples to apples. I live almost 50 kms from my downtown work location, in the city of Brampton (Peel Region) that has over half a million residents, and it takes me approx 1 hour and 15 minutes door to door to commute to work. My home is on the outmost fringe of the north-west GTA, literally two blocks south of farmland. So the average commuter horror is not this bad – unless you are commuting to T.O from Hamilton - BTW that would be about the equivalent of living in Reviere-Beaudette (practically on the Ontario boarder) and having to drive into downtown Montreal each day. At least people in Hamilton have regular GO train service running to Union station; that ride is less than an hour and 20 minutes which they can spend sleeping, reading, relaxing etc on the train. As for the traffic situation in Montreal… about a year ago (2012) I was recruiting for a position based in St. Bruno – that would be, what, the equivalent distance of Scarborough here in T.O? (approx 25 kms from downtown we’re talking) – and although the position and client hiring was great and garnered plenty of interest from local candidates, the minute I would mention the St. Bruno job location these Montrealers would bewail over the phone, “Agghhrr! Non, Saint Bruno? You have to cross a bridge!” Each candidate, without fail, declined interest after that. Even the ones who lived somewhere on the island proper (didn’t matter if they were unemployed for God sake!) said with the state of crumbling infrastructure in town, especially the bridges and their ongoing emergency repair works, the commute times to go anywhere off the island were effectively tripled or quadrupled to what I had been citing via Google maps lol. Man I got to speak to a bunch of colourful characters during that search, and quite often about the differences between Toronto and Montreal in fact. I remember talking to one professional, a seasoned francophone business gent probably in his late 40’s or early 50’s who I still keep in touch with, who said how ironic it was that downtown Montreal had a street called Rene Levesque… he said it would be more fitting if the people in Toronto re-named Yonge Street after Levesque to honour and thank him for taking all of Montreal’s business and giving it to Toronto on a platter.

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  21. 2of3...
    I lived in Toronto and Mississauga most of my life. I’ve visited Montreal more times than I have fingers and toes, from trips as a boy with my dad who worked for CN Rail and made regular business visits to Montreal, to sneaking out of town to visit girls in later years, to roaring into town every year or two with a few car loads of buddies to watch the Leafs play the Habs at the Bell Center. I’ve stayed in sketchy districts in Montreal that resembled and felt like Jane & Finch or Kennedy Rd in Scarborough, to suites at the Courtyard Marriot downtown. Sure, Montreal has some very pretty areas and olde world type historic districts, and I will admit that in general or on average people in Montreal & area (Quebec I’ll say) are more relaxed and less worried about career and work than people in the GTA… but maybe that has something to say about Quebec’s misfiring economy and low productivity (going on 4 plus decades of stagnation now). If the federal government handed over as many billions of dollars to Ontario as it continues to shower on La Belle Province, maybe folks here would have more of an engrained carefree attitude about them too? Either way, more to my point before if you want to compare the pleasant and core city (boroughs) of Montreal to the city of Toronto (either old Toronto or amalgamated/metro), go ahead, but don’t compare it to the entire GTA b/c it’s not “Toronto”. When I use to live in Mississauga I’d proudly tell people (even on vacations abroad) I was from Hazel’s town! If you want to bring the ‘burbs’ into this comparison go right ahead – Mississauga will wipe the floor with Laval. It’s not even a fair comparison seeing as how Mississauga is now the SIXTH largest/most populous city in Canada, nearly twice as big as Laval which correct me if I’m wrong is Montreal’s largest suburb? There are now 6 million people living in and around Toronto which is almost twice as much as Montreal’s metro population. Of course there are going to be noticeably more workaholic business folks, more blue collar workers trying to survive, more of everybody. Yes, the downtown financial core in Toronto is especially chaotic these days and the epicentre of the rat race; in the last decade they have built a new city of condos and dropped a population literally the size of old Montreal directly on top of the existing one. You are going to see a dense mix of everything in those few square blocks from Spadina to Yonge and Front (Bremner now) to Adelaide. For people who haven’t visited Toronto in a few years you will think you are in the thick of Manhattan in that area, BUT that is only a tiny fraction of Toronto. Take a 10 minute ferry from Queens Quay to the Toronto Islands (conveniently absent in the authors cottage & parks comparisons) and you can enjoy one of the best views of any major city in the world – I work with a friend who lives on a house boat on the island during the warmer months and as confined and hectic and all-work/no-play as the downtown core can get, in just 10-15 minutes we can be sitting on the patio on the marina enjoying lunch and a cold beer. With our iPhones or Galaxys we are equipped to work if/when need be, and even if the office building is burning down we can be back in 20 minutes. The Toronto islands are one of the city’s best kept secrets. From there the downtown core not only looks serene but also sounds so peaceful (the hustle and bustle of traffic is not even discernable).

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  22. 3of3...
    I may circle back to this article to comment on other aspects of the comparison. I’ll end for now by saying regardless of whom you are or where you live, you need to WANT a life in order to have one. If someone is interested in partying and living fast, Toronto has plenty to offer. Maybe Montreal has more, but we’re not exactly shut-ins over here. If someone wants work life balance and a GOOD career, I would argue Toronto has far more to offer than Montreal – business here, especially newer tech savvy business vs. the crusty, old school, body behind a desk establishments, allow people to work remotely and basically whenever they want/don’t want. If you want to raise a family in Toronto (city) or GTA, there are plenty of options. You need money to live here, and more of it the closer in town you want to be, but that’s the price of living in a world class city. Compared to other major cities around the globe, Toronto is still a bargain. Montreal barely gets mentioned. If you want to work a static job and coast through life putting in the minimum amount of effort necessary, then maybe Montreal is the right ticket for you because the expectations and productivity certainly don’t appear to be very high for a lot of folks there. Could that be why jobs across the board tend to pay considerably less in Montreal vs. Toronto? Just remember: Toronto is a big place; there’s nothing stopping you from doing that here if you want to! :P (Heck, we have a bloated and inefficient provincial government here too, although I won’t argue that the creme de la creme of unions and politicians are all in Quebec!). I hope people can see we shouldn’t generalize either place as I’ve just done. There are miserable armpit districts within Montreal just like Toronto, just as there are trendy, eccentric, and quaint areas in both. Don’t compare Toronto’s four square block bank tower cluster to historic old Montreal, or T.O’s trendy distillery district to the classy strip clubs on St. Catherine’s street.

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    1. all ur comments is funny , we are talking about two city but it is stronger than you and need to brinb back those seperation fight . Montreal area is 4 millions and toronto may be 6 .it is obvious that there is more people in toronto but i dont see where is the point to be a better city , world class city ... loll its a trendy sentence now in toronto hehe

      the median family income in Montreal is higher than toronto in 2012 72 300, and 72 100 for toronto . so instead of talking about old fact and old fight and old false opinion ... do ur homework i will rather live in montreal with 73k than toronto even with 85k since cost of live is much more higher and everything is way more accessible in Montreal :)

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  23. Both have their advantages, I'd say it's better to live in Montreal while you're young, then, when trying to find a job, move to Toronto.

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  24. Grew up in Mtl during the best decade ever, the '70's and moved to Calgary in '96. When the opportunity arose to move back east, we chose T.O. for many reasons….. I was going to write a long winded essay on the advantages of leaving Mtl for other areas of the country but in reality, in our hearts and probably most of the ex-pats, if all the people who left the Q on account of politics and all of their offspring were to move back tomorrow, I’m pretty sure we’d be right behind them. What would the political landscape look like then? One could only imagine the impact. Then what a great city Mtl could become again. Ah to dream...

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  25. Virtually no live entertainment in Montreal? Did you actually visit!? Montreal has *at least* 4 simultaneous festivals playing all through the summer. There's so much to do, that locals just don't know where to go any more. Compared to Toronto, where I've found myself going to the cinema during visits because there wasn't anything else happening in town, Montreal is just non-stop entertainment. Yes, you created a separate item for festivals, but you can't exclude it completely from live entertainment. Apart from that, still plenty of theatre and other live entertainment happening.

    Sports x4? Why so high? Rather bring it down a bit. Nobody I know attends sports matches in Montreal, most of them watch it on TV or in a sports bar any way. Don't forget the Montreal Impact soccer team though, which is pretty popular.

    The article is outdated anyway. Toronto has Bixi by now, so extra points for cycling. Take some points out of Montreal, because it's not always rainbows and sunshine: Quebecois are among the worst car drivers in the world. I've lost count how many times I had to yell and bang on a car, because the driver turned right without flasher to indicate the turn AND NOT LOOKING OUT FOR ANYONE CROSSING. This happens on nearly 10% of my bike rides. Not to mention that trying to bike during snow fall is nowadays an invitation to get your teeth knocked out by impatient drivers.

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  26. I'm sorry, Editor, but as a recent, fully bilingual university graduate who just recently headed down the 401, the economic opportunity here alone blows Montreal right out of the water. That, coupled with the fact that Toronto isn't exactly a cultural/entertainment wasteland makes the comparison not even all that close, in my opinion. I won't even get into the language issue and "la question nationale".

    Montreal still remains a pretty nice city overall, definitely great to visit. Montreal and Quebec as a whole will always be part of who I am, part of my cultural DNA, but honestly, I don't see myself going back there to live anytime soon.

    Montreal - 7.5/10
    Toronto - 9/10

    (We really do need to get rid of our idiot mayor, though.)

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  27. 5/10 for sports in montreal?
    You didn't even mention the Habs!!!
    Neither did you talk about all olympic athletes that come from Montreal!

    Here in NHL series, every game won by the Habs means we break shopkeepers' windows in the street because we party too hard (and that may be why you only gave a 5/10 for shopping :P)...

    Then, mtl's joie de vivre should be 10/10, nightlife should be 9/10 or 10/10, and live entetainment should be at least at 7/10 or 8/10.

    Im sure you lowered the numbers because you didn't want Mtl to wipe Toronto out of the map lol

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  28. I think Toronto has way way way more festivals than Montreal. And they are huge. And they are popular. And they are fun. I am not sure why Montrealers constantly rave about Montreal being a city of festivals, but if you repeat it enough, it doesn't make it true. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annual_events_in_Toronto

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  30. The biggest difference between Montreal and Toronto which all the commentators here have missed is that Montreal has a "soul" while Toronto has none! It's enough to go out and walk in the streets of Montreal to feel and sense this special soul. All memorable cities have a soul. Paris, Rome, London, Barcelona all impact you right away with the special atmosphere proper to each of them. The same goes with Montreal. Toronto is a great practical city for living and working, but it sorely lacks a soul.

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    1. That's is an old, tired cliche ...BS.

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  31. Here is the tale of two brothers:
    One is the older, yet stylish, womanizing alcoholic. The other is the younger professional boring accountant.
    Let's guess who is Montréal and who is Toronto.

    No but seriously, who cares if Toronto is today the top city in Canada. Montréal is still second with a lot too offer, and Vancouver will probably top us. But regardless, we still have our own identity, and yes Toronto always tries to compensate by copying and improving. In the end, Montréal is Florence and Toronto is Rome (and I am talking about the 15th century Florence of Da Vinci). Let Toronto make the money, us in Montreal will enjoy your equalization payments for our social services and better education, oh and all that over a bottle of wine or scotch. Not to mention while having that oh so good restaurant food voted tops in North-America. Joie de vivre, and money comes along.

    In the end, Chicago or Boston ain't complaining about New York being top dog, they got their own style to worry about.

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    1. I like the way you think.LOL. When I'm elected prime minister of Canada I'll make sure payments will be "equal" to how much a province puts out. Hopefully this will happen after the PQ chases away towards Toronto all the young smart ambitious professional and boring accountants.

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  32. Well, I have lived in both Toronto and Montreal. I think, the daily life in Toronto is much easier than Montreal. In Montreal, people are full of animosity and almost feels like a civil war. People are uptight and ready to discharge at any stranger. In the malls, they even come right smack into you - feels Montreal is depressed and sick. It is always recommended to travel in Montreal as a group.

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  33. I live in Mtl and the french seem to tolerate the english..just barely..the design and layout of the city is confusing unlike toronto's simple grid layout..plenty of good restaurants here in Mtl..I like the style of the houses alot more than in T.O...the traffic isnt too bad here most times..usually a max of a 30min commute by car to anywhere in the city..1 hour by publuc transit..the women are hot and most look good..I find most french people to be snooty and many arrogant but not all..the habs suck as much as the leafs these days..we have plenty of summer festivals..summers are nice but humid...winters can be brutal like this years...jobs are very hard to come by if your not a frenchie..toronto seems all crammed together and not as naturesque or spread out as mtl...rents are much more affordable in mtl..good weed and plenty of it here if you like that sort of thing..the biggest problem with mtl is the infrastructure..its crumbling but they seem to be addressing it as of lately..we have ski hills..mountainous areas nearby..plenty of bike paths..shopping..theaters..plenty to do..most people are bilingual..the pq goverment is a huge pain in our asses for anglos anyway..I like montreal but have been contemplating leaving for T.O. for good mainly due to the pq gov's..b.s. and the lack of opportunities for an anglo here..I would probably miss mtl as my home but would not miss the language differences & issues at all!!
    Its a tough city to live in as an anglo but overall most people are friendly and anywhere you go.to an extent. ive been here my entire life..45 years...If I left though id never come back.because of the french..id move to toronto to get away from the french and for greater or more income opportunities..overall though besides the language b.s. I like mtl more than t.o. ive only been there twice though for about a weeks total..but I did like it..I noticed alot of garbage along younge st. though and like i said earlier all the buildings seemed crammed together without much green space..which makes it look cold and like a city of mostly buildings and traffic..I did enjoy my visits there though and did get to see most of the city..if I suddenly became rich though id probably stay in mtl..it is a cool place to live although the winters can be hard mentally and physically year after year and are also hard on the cars..the cost of living has been going up here steadily but if you make enough you can enjoy a good quality of life here if you can tolerate the french society and their b.s. with the language and signage issues..if your looking for a good time here..you no doubt will be able to find it..we have it all here..if it wasnt for the issues here id say im never leaving and I love it here!! But im ready to split for good because of it because it never seems to let up or fade away..I would only move to T.O. though if i left..nowhere else in Canada..to me its the next best city to be in..still on the fence though as to whether or not to leave mtl for t.o..if you are trying to decide which one to move to from elsewhere id say move to Toronto..

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  34. UMMM University of Toronto is ranked way higher internationally than McGill.

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  35. "Montrealers live in beautiful, penthouse-sized apartments with large balconies, and it costs them what a Torontonian pays for their monthly subway pass"

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