So you’ve decided to move to Montreal — the largest, most famous, most bilingual city of Quebec and the second largest city in Canada. It’s a place packed with culture, rich history, quaint bistros and cafes and amazing food, a thriving nightlife, several vibrant universities, colourful neighbourhoods, international festivals, and beautiful parks and vistas stretched across 19 distinct boroughs (or arrondisements). If you can manage the cold and bone up on your French, it’s also a place that you’ll soon love to call home, so start using our convenient database today and cut out all the frustration and apprehension from your search!
Rent is cheaper in Montreal than in other large cities of Canada like Toronto and Vancouver, so finding a 1-bedroom apartment between $600 and $1000 should be easy. Some small bachelors go for $500, and if you’re looking to live with friends, you can often find incredible deals. Since most leases are signed over in the summer, and tenants need to provide three months’ notice when vacating, try to find a suitable dwelling early — or at least before the first of July. Landlords won’t require more than first month’s rent (deposits in all forms are illegal), but watch out for ‘creative’ wordings of apartments (that four-bedroom might actually be a 1-bedroom with a kitchen, living room, and bathroom). Always make sure you know what you’re getting into — ask about heat, appliances, security, repairs, and so forth—and you’ll have a much happier time living out your 12-month lease.
With narrow (and often cobblestone) streets, Montreal doesn’t have many backlots and garages — if you own a car, there’s a good chance you’ll be parking on the street. One bonus for those of you without vehicles is that Montreal has a relatively green, safe, and efficient public transit system, and is largely bicycle friendly (check out the many Bixi stations around town). Only one third of all Montreal households own a car, meaning almost a quarter of the city uses the STM to get to work. While this has a lot to do with the city’s GDP, it’s also a testament to the efficiency of the system, environmentally conscious thinking, and the active lifestyles of so many residents. Buying a monthly OPUS pass means major savings compared to single-ride purchases, and you can use the online STM Trip Planner to figure out how you’ll need to get across town.
When looking for a place to live, just about anywhere downtown will have access to the Metro, but the choicest places are always situated near an entrance (it saves time, and can be a lifesaver not to have to wait for a bus in the -30 winters). If you have to travel in from the suburbs, the AMT (or Agence Métropolitaine de Montréal) provides a commuter train to get you to your destination.
If you haven’t already landed a job, it’s always a good idea to start your search before you arrive. One thing to remember is that Montreal is a predominantly French-speaking city (French is the official language and is spoken at home by the majority of the population). If you aren’t bilingual — or at least competent in French — you’re going to have a hard time finding work (especially with the public). Anglophones are everywhere in the city, but if you’d prefer to live in a largely English-speaking area, we’d suggest living in the west end. Look for spots in Westmount or near Monkland Village, Snowdon or Vendrome Station, or around McGill or Concordia University. Much of downtown, Le Plateau, Ville Marie, and Mile End also have many Anglophone residents since so many of the city’s shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries cater to non-French-speaking tourists.
From the restaurants and bars of Le Plateau to the student ‘ghetto’ of McGill University, the new condominiums of the Cité Multimédia to the beautiful architecture of Vieux Montréal, the choice pads of Centre-Ville to the high- and low-rise mix of Shaughnessy Village, Montreal certainly has something for everyone. To find the rent, location, and size of apartment that’s right for you, use our handy online rental database, and enjoy the convenience of having so many options at your fingertips. If you have any questions about our listings, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help you find just what you’re looking for.