Canada North America Quebec

​Moving to Montreal, Quebec: The Resources Locals Use

10 April, 2017

If you visited Montreal and loved it so much that you’ve decided to move here, you may be looking for some advice on how to get set up….

 

Saint Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal. © thetravellingsociologist

 

The most popular time to fall in love with Montreal is during the summertime––the city just explodes into a frenzy of festivals, concerts, fireworks competitions, and tourists, as though racing to catch up with missed opportunities over the long, cold winter––it’s very difficult not to fall in love with all of that going on.

But the City of Montreal also makes a concerted effort to keep things lively and chase away the winter blues when cold weather discourages outings and social activities––from early October to late June (or sometimes until late March, depending on the year). There are winter light shows, open-air exhibitions, winter festivals, Nuit Blanche, winter kids’ playgrounds, and much more. So, it may in fact have been your wintertime visit that lit the flame for Montreal in your heart.

And here you are now, figuring out how exactly this move will work, and thinking through all the logistics. Well, to help you plan your move, and most importantly, to help you discover which resources Montreal locals rely on to manage their lives, here are some insider need-to-knows to make your transition a whole lot smoother:

 

View of southeastern Montreal from Saint Joseph’s Oratory. Shown: the Olympic Village (far left); the St. Lawrence River and the South Shore/Longueuil (horizon); the tower of the Université de Montréal (far right). Photo credit: © thetravellingsociologist

 

HOW CAN I APPLY FOR A CANADIAN VISA, WORK PERMIT, OR RESIDENCY PAPERS?

For any type of information you require regarding visas, permits, or residency applications––whether to visit, study in, work in, or immigrate to Montreal or elsewhere in Canada––you must go here:

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada –– The CIC website is extremely well organized, and provides comprehensive and helpful information. Plus, their customer service is fabulously efficient.

HOW DO I FIND A PLACE TO STAY MONTREAL?

The resources that locals use to find an apartment or house for rent, in order of popularity, are the following:

  • Kijiji –– Overwhelmingly used by both the francophone and anglophone communities. Search in French for more options––anglophones post in both languages anyway.
  • Craigslist –– Used mainly by the anglophone population, and not as widely used as Kijiji.
  • Padmapper –– One thing I like about Padmapper is that it lets you search for housing in exactly the area you wish to live, using an interactive map tool.
  • Louer.ca –– Another resource for apartment rentals.
  • RentQuebecApartments –– less popular, but still a good option.
  • McGill Summer Accommodations –– McGill University rents out student residences to the public from May 15 to August 15 each year. There is a variety of dorm rooms and apartment-style properties to choose from at very affordable rates.

HOW DO I FIND A JOB IN MONTREAL?

There are always dozens of ways to find a job, no matter which city or country you live in. And where to look usually depends on which industry you work in. That being said, a couple of city-specific resources include:

Montrealers also exploit regular channels such as LinkedIn, Indeed.ca, Eluta.ca, networking, etc., in their job hunt.

Note that you will be more successful finding a job in Montreal, or elsewhere in Quebec, if you speak French.

WHERE CAN I LEARN FRENCH?

The province of Quebec offers immigrants a phenomenal French-language program (francisation). You can take all levels of the full French program, completely free of charge, if you are a permanent resident. The program is offered in partnership with various local community organizations (search engine available in French only).

However, if you don’t have permanent residency status, you can still pay a small fee to take classes at one the official community partners that offer the service on behalf of the government (search engine available in French only) or at private institutions such as the YMCA

WHAT CAN I DO IN MONTREAL?

There is SO MUCH to do in Montreal!

Montreal Travel Guide
View the recommendations on my page, of course!

Ville de Montreal
A fantastic resource for discovering community resources (libraries, swimming pools, parks, skating rinks, etc). Search for your neighborhood, then go to “Activités et Loisirs” (Activities and Recreation) to browse by resource category. Choose your language preference by toggling between French and English in the top right corner of the page, next to the Search box.

Cinemamontreal
Your one-stop shop for all things movie theatre-related.

Quoi Faire à Montreal (What to do in Montreal)
Suggestions on how to entertain yourself in Montreal. Provides listings for current events, organized by music, shows, family activities, exhibitions, and sports.

Tourisme Montreal (Tourism Montreal)
Geared more towards tourists, as the name suggests, but packed with all sorts of promotions and discounts on touristic activities in Montreal.

Musées Montréal (Museums Montreal)
Everything you need to know about the museums in Montreal.

Montreal Blog
A renown event blog. Written by local college students, but does a decent job keeping tabs on the local scene.

Festivals
Montreal has a vibrant festival scene all year round, with a maniacal frenzy of back-to-back and overlapping outdoor festivals in the summertime. Most of the outdoor festivals are free.

WHERE CAN I FIND A PLACE TO EAT IN MONTREAL?

Montreal has the most restaurants per capita of any other city in North America! That’s a whole lot of restaurants, and there is a lot of competition for good eats here. If you’re looking for a good restaurant, look no further than:

HOW CAN I BUY OR SELL FURNITURE/EQUIPMENT/OTHER?

The 2 most popular websites for buying or selling things are:

  • Kijiji –– Overwhelmingly used by both the francophone and anglophone populations. Search in French for more options––anglophones typically post in both official languages, you’ll get 100% of both French and English ads.
  • Craigslist –– Used mainly by the anglophone population, and not as widely used as Kijiji.

HOW DO I GET AROUND MONTREAL?

You can get around Montreal, as well as in and out of town, through the following modes of transportation:

  • STM –– The municipal metro and bus system. They have a fantastic trip planning tool, as well as up-to-date bus schedules. Download the app for on-the-go use.
  • Bixi –– The local bicycle-sharing service.
  • Communauto –– A car-share company.
  • Car2Go –– Another popular car-share company, but featuring smart cars only.
  • AmigoExpress –– A popular ride-share company for destinations in, and limited destinations just outside of, Quebec.
  • Station Centrale/Gare d’Autocars de Montréal –– The local bus station.
  • Gare Centrale –– The local train station.

HOW CAN I MAKE NEW FRIENDS IN MONTREAL?

In this day and age of the Internet, there are several online resources to help you easily meet people and make new friends in a foreign city. The most popular websites used by newcomers to Montreal are the following:

WAIT! I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS!

If you still have logistical questions and need more help––such as information on things like shipping your belongings to Canadabanking, formatting your CV, picking a mobile phone plan, etc.––I recommend the Moving2Canada website. It’s a nongovernmental organization set up to help immigrants just like you.

 

That should cover most of your bases. I hope you find this information useful, and I wish you a very successful move, as well as a very enjoyable stay in Montreal. Bienvenu et profitez-en bien!

 

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