Life in Montreal
Ranked the second happiest city in the world
Montreal is a truly unique city – safe and clean, vibrant and diverse, with new things to discover around every corner. It’s easy to see why Lonely Planet chose Montreal as the second happiest place in the world. With four major universities and 12 smaller colleges located on the island – Montreal is an exciting place to live.
Language & culture
Montreal is the second-largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris. While the city’s official language is French, Montreal is easy to navigate for both English and French speakers. Meeting new people is a great way to expand your knowledge of a second (or third!) language.
Bilingualism is a part of Montreal’s strong cultural tradition and adds to the inspiring atmosphere of art, music, literature and innovative technology. From a history of cutting-edge architecture to icons like Leonard Cohen and Mordechai Richler, to storied Old Montreal and the legendary Schwartz’s Deli, the city thrives on art, culture and history.
Montreal is known for its festivals which run one after another all summer long, but festival season never really ends, in this city there is always something to celebrate!
Visit Tourism Montreal to find out what’s going on.
Cost of living
One of the reasons so many students flock to Montreal is because it's an affordable city. Compare the cost of living in Montreal with other major cities in the world to see for yourself.
Montreal has an extensive and accessible public transportation system. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the Agence métropolitaine de transport cover the entire island with a network of busses, Canada's longest subway system and trains, respectively.
Montreal has a reputation as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. A large network of bike paths, including a direct link between Sir George Williams and Loyola Campuses, makes cycling a fast and safe option. For valuable cycling tips visit Sustainable Transportation and its do-it-yourself bike workshop, Right to Move.
Need some wheels? The BIXI public bike sharing system operates between May and November – providing access to bikes for a small user fee, or monthly, and season-long subscriptions.
Arts, culture & architecture
Montreal is a premiere international destination for the arts and home to many art galleries and museums. The city is a cultural Mecca, and well-known spots include the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. The city also boasts many smaller established artist-run centres and galleries. There are three highly visible galleries on Concordia’s downtown Sir George Williams campus: the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery showcases important work by established artists, while the FOFA and VAV galleries introduce the public to the exceptional works by the Concordia community.
In the world of dance and the performing arts, Montreal is home to many internationally renowned companies, such as La La La Human Steps and the Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, the National Film Board of Canada’s CineRobotheque and the headquarters for the Cirque du Soleil.
The Canadian Centre for Architecture provides insights into the diversity and influence of the city’s architectural heritage. From sites such as Old Montreal to the new developments around Concordia, Montreal has been on the cutting-edge of architecture since the city’s founding.
Montreal is beautiful throughout all four distinct seasons. With average highs of 26° Celsius in the summer and lows of -5° Celsius in the winter, Montrealers fashionably adapt to the weather.
Even in the middle of winter the city is incredibly active. Cross-country skiing and tobogganing in Mont-Royal Park and ice skating in one of the many outdoor rinks quickly fade the winter blues. With the underground city and extensive Metro system, it’s easy to keep warm while getting around.
In the spring when the heavy jackets are back in the closet Montreal transforms. Outdoor patios open and parks fill with people relaxing, playing games, having picnics and enjoying the sun. The change of season is especially felt by students just finishing their winter term.