Montreal is Canada's second-largest city. It is also the second-largest French-speaking city in the world (after, of course, Paris
Its most famous structure, the Olympic Stadium, was home to the Expos baseball team until they
got a timeshare in Puerto Rico
became the Washington Nationals. The Bell Centre (formerly the Molson Centre) is the home of the Montreal Canadiens (who previously called the storied Montreal Forum home), the oldest hockey team in the NHL and the team that has won the most Stanley Cups (24 in all, one of which predates the NHL — though they haven't been doing so well in the last two decades). While not as big a filming centre as Vancouver
, quite a few movies are still filmed in Montreal. Its wide range of architecture allows the city to act as a cheap stand-in for many European cities. Montreal is also the home of a few Video Game
design studios: Ubisoft
Montreal (Prince of Persia
series and Assassin's Creed
); Electronic Arts
Montreal (Army Of Two
); Eidos Montreal
(Deus Ex: Human Revolution
) and the late THQ
Montreal. The annual Just for Laughs Comedy Festival is the largest comedy festival in the world.
Montreal is not an unequivocally French city despite the province's strong laws protecting its French heritage (which most obviously manifests itself in the rules regarding public signage in which the French words must be printed in bigger letters and more prominently than the English translation—sometimes people like to give an extra twist of the knife by printing the English in harder to read grayscale italics). Especially in the downtown area around Ste. Catherine Street even more so when approaching the largely English suburb of Westmount, quite a few of its inhabitants are native English-speakers (often Jewish
), who often adopt a culture closer to American/English Canadian culture than their French compatriots. The city also plays host to two predominantly English universities (McGill and Concordia). On top of all this, the city attracts quite a few immigrants; overall, it's a cultural mosaic similar to other major Canadian cities.
Tourists are advised to stay in the downtown area, cars and all; not only is English widely accepted downtown but there's bars and restaurants everywhere and a strip club every other block on St. Catherine's (we're quite serious: St. Catherine's goes bar, restaurant, bar, strip club, interesting shops (that
kind and not), museum, bar, strip club, etc.). Also, the Montreal Gayborhood
is centered on St. Catherine's just east of Downtown. Generally a good deal.
One unique aspect of the local media market is that, while most other large Canadian cities receive the major US broadcast networks
through affiliates based in cities at least as large as they are (much of southern Ontario gets the Buffalo
stations, Vancouver gets the Seattle
ones, etc.), the closest American cities to Montreal are Burlington, Vermont
and Plattsburgh, New York
, whose combined metropolitan areas (city and suburbs together) are less than one-twelfth
the population of the Montreal area. Consequently, stations in this media market both have the largest city in their broadcast areas in another country. It leads to the strange situation where American TV stations carry large amounts of advertising for foreign businesses — a good percentage of English-language advertising for Montreal businesses aimed at Montrealers is carried on Burlington and Plattsburgh stations, and ads in French are not unheard of (although satellite services' carrying the main East Coast feeds out of New York City
has put a dent in this in recent years).
Close proximity to Quebec has another interesting effect on Vermont and far northern New York. As they sit right next to a French-speaking area that has far more people than they do (and which sends a lot of tourists their way), it is one of the few regions of the country where French, not Spanish, is the default second language. Road signage on parts of the Adirondack Northway is in English and French while I-89 in Vermont has signs with distances in kilometers, the tourist guides at Fort Ticonderoga (or Fort Carillon, the French name for it) are printed in both languages, and it's not uncommon to hear people on the street speaking in French.
Montreal is known for its epic music scene. Having been hailed as the most creative city in North America in the early 2000s, it has produced such bands as Arcade Fire
, Malajube, Young Galaxy (recent Polaris prize shortlisters), Stars, Coeur de Pirate, Wolf Parade, The Stills, and The Dears. As well it is home to music royalty Leonard Cohen
and Rufus Wainwright
, among others.
Did, we, MENtion, that it's ..... ALso
, William Shatner
Films and TV Series set in Montreal
Movies and TV Series filmed in Montreal