Montreal is the largest city in the Quebec province of Canada and is a very popular destination for visitors from around the globe. It is a well-known for being a city that is full of culture, unique experiences, and friendly people that contribute to a melting pot of different cultures, religions, and backgrounds, making it one of the friendliest places to be on earth. Therefore, if you have been looking for your next vacation destination, Montreal is a great choice. The city is the perfect combination of Canadian tradition, which can be found in the beautiful old town, but also the vibrant energy of the more modern regions, meaning that whether you are young or old, from nearby or far away, this is the perfect place for you to visit.
However, there are a few things that first-time visitors should be aware of before embarking on their trip to this beautiful Canadian city, and to make it even easier for you, we have put together this helpful guide. Here you will learn all the information you will need to know about Montreal, including some top tips and things to know before you arrive at this popular destination.
The City Has One Major Airport
Despite the size of Montreal, you may be surprised to find out that there is only one major airport, but it is located conveniently to make it easy for visitors to get access in and out of the city. The Trudeau airport is only a few minutes away from the center of the city, and whether you are driving or travelling by public transport, there are plenty of links available to ensure a smooth journey. While many people worry about the costs of travelling to Montreal and allow this to put them off making the trip, it is important to know that flights can be very affordable if you know where to look.
You can get flights much cheaper when you look at flights to Montreal that are provided by local airlines, such as Porter Airlines. You can book your flights online with them here: https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/book-flights/where-we-fly/canada/montreal. Porter is known for providing some of the best deals for internal flights both in Canada and the United States, so no matter where you are travelling from, you should check out the flights and the deals that they have available.
What is a Dep?
While you are visiting Montreal, there will likely be some terms and slang words that you won’t recognise, and while this won’t disrupt your trip entirely, knowing some of the terminology will make your trip more enjoyable. Therefore, it is important that you know that the local convenience stores are called ‘deps’. So, if you ever overhear someone say that they are going to get some beers from the dep then you know they are heading off to one of the many stores that are available in Montreal. You will find many of these deps on most street corners, so you can get the items you need when you need them.
Whereas in some other provinces, such as Ontario where the laws are slightly stricter, in Montreal, small stores can sell beers and some spirits under a certain alcohol limit. In Montreal’s deps you can also buy cigarettes, food, and even bus tickets in some of them. However, be sure to only buy tickets from a store that has the STM logo on the door to ensure they are genuine.
You Can’t Turn Right on a Red
While this will likely only affect you if you will be driving around the streets of Montreal, it is important to know that even though anywhere in else in the country you can turn right on red lights, you CANNOT in Montreal. Therefore, if you are travelling from somewhere else in Canada, this may take you a bit of time to get used to. Montreal is very accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and authorities want this to take priority, hence they kept this law in place when other Canadian cities revoked it. You may find the odd signposted red right turn that is allowed, but generally you should remember that you can’t turn right on a red!
A ‘5-à-7’ is a Good Thing!
If you are strolling around the streets of Montreal and wonder what the bar and restaurant signs are referring to when you see ‘5-à-7’ then you should know that it means happy hour! This comes from the French influence that is present across the city and means that between 5pm and 7pm you can get extra deals on your drinks. Happy hours are quite a big deal in Montreal, and they are very popular even amongst the locals from business professionals to thirsty students! So, if you enjoy a drink and want to save yourself some cash, then watch out for the 5-à-7’s dotted around the city.
There are Loads of Festivals
Montreal has become well known for its long list of festivals that take part every year, including the popular Jazz festival that a lot of the locals get involved in and attend. However, the city has a lot more to offer than the Jazz festival and no matter what time of year it is, there are festivals that you can enjoy. If electronic music is more your thing, then the beautiful Old Port holds a two-week festival in January. However, you should be aware that this festival is held in the outdoors so you should wrap up warm to enjoy a unique outdoor Canadian music event!
Montreal is Bilingual
While this isn’t 100 percent true, there are two main languages that the locals speak in Montreal. While most of the city speak English, due to the considerable French influence, you will also find large portions of the population that also speak French. However, you shouldn’t assume that everyone does. Depending on where in Montreal you are, you will likely hear more French than in other areas of the city. For example, if you are on the West side of the town, then you hear more of the English language being spoken, but in the Eastern side of Montreal you will hear more French.
Metro Means Subway
If you are in Montreal and are looking for the subway, then follow the signs for the metro! This can be somewhat confusing for people who are used to the subway, but most people travel around Montreal by bus or metro. The transport company that runs the metro link is called the STM, but you will rarely hear it being referred to as this by the locals.
While across Canada the legal drinking age is usually 19 years old, in Montreal it is slightly lower at 18 years old. This is one of the reasons why Montreal has been given it’s ‘party city’ label and was even unfairly given the title the ‘Sin City’ of Canada in recent years. However, while the province is known for its vibrant nighttime and bar scene, this means that there is plenty for you to do in the evening.
You will not regret a trip to Montreal, and by taking on some of our tips and advice you can experience something unique and diverse in this popular Canadian city!