Montreal Dopers please advise: thinking of moving there

Mes chers amis, je déménage chez vous!

At least I think so. The other day we were talking about Christmas carols and I confessed, I just don’t know them in English. So I was listening to some of my old tapes and a huge, aching homesickness set in. French has not really been in my world since I left home to go to university! I can honestly say that I no longer speak well enough to sound like a grown-up much less a native speaker. And I feel like I’ve really lost a chunk of my identity.

As I’m also disenfranchised with both Toronto and my present job (the Bad Dog and the Popper finally broke me). I wanna move to Montreal. But I have questions:

  1. What is the local economy like presently? Would I have difficulty finding work in graphics (pre-press) or PR (English, as I said after speaking English-only for so long my French has become dreadful, too dreadful to write a press release in French).

  2. Is it still sort of a renters’ market with rent significantly lower than Toronto?

  3. How’s the health care? (I have to figure out the process of switching from OHIP)

  4. How’s the village? :wink:

  5. How is the live music scene? And how is the film industry?

  6. Would I really truly hate the winters? Are they long and grey like Toronto?

  7. Are there direct flights to New York City from Montreal’s airport?

  8. Is it horrible to own a car? It is in Toronto. (I rarely need to drive anyway)

  9. Is there anything I would significantly miss in Toronto that you know of, that I could not find there?

(Note: My hobbies include arthouse cinema, and the arts, but I like the galleries there better anyway. I’m not into clubbing. Like going to the gym.)

I expect my French will come flooding back, it usually does within days of being in a francophone environment (and I do read and watch films in French still), but right now, I’m too embarassed to hold a conversation in French only.

So what say you?

I’m sick of Toronto also. May I accompany you?

(Note: I still need to learn French.)

Well, at least I can handle this question. :slight_smile:

Yes, you can. I went to there on business a few months ago, and few direct between Montreal and Newark Airport.

Sorry, I should have been more precise. I mean really direct flights to either La Guardia or Kennedy. Newark is far too out of the way (it’s in New Jersey) and has added hassles that I’m specficially hoping to avoid. I normally take a 5 minute bus right to my GF’s from La Guardia. I should have been more specific and said “direct flights to LaGuardia or Kennedy”.

My GF took a direct flight to Montreal last year (from Kennedy, I think), but I haven’t seen any flights listed in Travelocity that don’t go either to Newark or through Toronto.

Montreal cuts the drive in half anyway.

Sunspace: Feel free to come along, although I think there’s already an underground railroad for Toronto refugees. One direction takes you to Montreal, the other tunnel goes direclty to Vancouver.

BTW - How long did it take you to get into Manhatten from Newark? Coming from Philly I took the Jersey turnpike a bit and eventually went through the Lincoln Tunnel (wow, a lot longer than taking the GW Bridge to my destination), and it took quite awhile to get across to Queens.

Ahh…sorry. I forget that other airports even exist. :slight_smile: No clue if anyone goes direct between Montreal and La Guardia, but I can’t imagine they wouldn’t. Might just take some more searching.

And I didn’t go into Manhatten from Newark. I live down the Jersey shore, and take a train anytime I’m travelling into the city or to the airport.

Oo! Next time I go to the GF’s maybe it’ll coincide with a JerseyDope! (Her dad lives somehwere in NJ, dunno where though. I should ask.)

I can’t answer all your questions, being a student who doesn’t get out much, but I’ll do what I can.

Health care is all right. Long waits in the emergency room, but there are lots of emergency clinics you can go to for minor things, and also the local CLSC. I know there’s a shortage of specialists and of family doctors right now, though, so if you have a chronic condition that needs looking after, maybe you should have your Toronto doctors set something up with their Montreal colleagues so you don’t end up stranded.

Rents are quite a bit lower than Toronto, I think, but there’s been an apartment shortage the past few years, with a big last-second rush to find a place in June. The Montreal Gazette has classifieds online, and you can always scan for a place on there if you want to have an idea of what’s available.

You wouldn’t hate the winters. We get more snow than Toronto, generally, and that’s pretty. It’s cold, and downtown can become a wind tunnel and freeze your ears right off if you’re not wearing a toque, but the fun thing about Montreal is that with the Metro and underground shopping, you barely even have to step outside if you don’t want to. If you do enjoy wintery things, there are many ski hills within a few hours’ drive, and some cross-country ski trails in the parks.

If you’ll be working anywhere near downtown and living anywhere near a Metro station or bus route, a car isn’t all that necessary. It’s horrendous trying to get a car into the downtown core during rush hour, and parking is pricey. But Montreal is a very big city, and if you live in one of the outlying suburbs, or work there, you’d need a car. For example, doing the West-Island-to-Downtown run twice a day is pretty bad.

And your French will come back. First swearing, then ordering in a restaurant, then the rest. :slight_smile:

Oh the swearing I’ve still got down pat! :smiley:

Actually I still can carry on on a conversation. Unless I sotp to think about it. Kinda like if someone asks “what side of your mouth do you chew on?” you suddenly can’t chew right. If I think about speaking in French I get a little too self-conscious. I’m tired and not paying attention I’ll sometimes get fully fluent as when I was younger. Though I may get brain cramps and forget words. Like, last time I was in Quebec, I blanked on the word “tirelire” and had to say “Cochon. On met la monnaie dedans.” :smack:

I still dream in French sometimes too.

That’s perfectly OK, it only made you sound more like a native :slight_smile:

Try Expedia. I just ran a quick search, and it seems that United, AA, Air Canada, and others offer direct flights from Montreal to JFK and LGA. ~$250 roundtrip for the cheapest in mid-December.

From 1993 to 1999, I moved five times and at the time that was pretty normal for University students. In '95, I remember the landlord almost begging me to take the place, and it was a nice place, too. From there, I moved to a huge appartment right next to Outremont. Three bedrooms, huge living room, dining room, kitchen. The sun came up in the kitchen and came down in the living room in truly spectacular sunsets. We had a clear, unobstructed view all the way to the Laurentians. The rent? 700$. Heated. In January we had to open windows during the day because it was so hot.

This was the image I had of renting in Montreal prior to coming to Japan. I was only planning on spending a year here, and when I came back to Montreal in 2000 I found the situation completely changed. I had to take appointments to even visit crappy flats, and even then, there was a line-up to get in. I looked for a place for a couple of months before giving up and coming back here.

I’m not sure how things are nowadays, but I can’t even imagine things changing more drastically than they did between 1999 and 2000.

  1. Rent is definitely on the upswing and it’s harder to find an apartment than it used to be, but Montreal stil has cheaper rents than almost anywhere else in N America, as far as I know.

  2. A-Ok.

  3. I’ve never spent any significant time in Toronto, sO I can’t compare, but from what I’ve gathered it’s colder here, but grey isn’t something I’ve especially associated with winter.

  4. Depends where you live and where you work. It’s certainly not horrible not to own a car. If you find a place that has parking and you don’t work downtown driving is okay. If either of those conditions are not met, it sucks.

I wish I could help you more on the job front, but I have no idea about any of those things.

There are definitely direct flights from Trudeau to La Guardia; I’ve taken one. So yes. There’s also a direct Amtrak service from Gare Centrale to Penn Station.

I hope we can give you a Dopereal Welcome before too long!