Planning a trip to Montreal?
A stay-over or a stay-longer?
Here are a few things you should know before you pack your bag and book your stay!
It is allowed everywhere in Canada and the United States, except in New York and on the Island of Montreal, and with the exception of intersections where a sign prohibits it, to turn right on a red light. Why? Because it saves money on gas and time… then why not on the Island of Montreal? Because there are too many people commuting and that includes millions of pedestrians crossing intersections, and many can be dangerous.
Also, don’t stall at the light when the green light is flashing! This means that you have turning priority. So be careful when you chose your lane, some are exclusive to turning, and turn when it flashes… otherwise, it may take an eternity!
Play safe, take the public transportation. It is even cheaper and the island has a vast network of transits. The subway is open from 5:30am to 12:30am… not the sandwich place, the ‘’métro’’. The city even has its own walking underground transit filled with boutiques and shops. That’s cool! Especially when it’s cool!
If you choose to drive in anyway, watch out for the ‘’you’re-on-camera’’ ads! They actually warn you that there is a radar photo nearby and that your plate will be reported to the authorities if you are driving over the speed limit.
Things you’ll do and see
In Montreal, there a plenty of reasons to be happy… and be people get very happy between 5:00pm and 7:00pm. There is a reason for that: off-of-school, off-of work, and not yet time to be home! Pubs, restaurants and other establishments across the city open their doors to the merry early-drinkers who want to celebrate a special evening, the end of the day or simply enjoy a get-together. There are lots of deals and thematic evenings out there. I bet you won’t be able to stop your choice on only one of them! And, once in a while, you’ll be taken out and craving for Quebec’s national delicatessen: fries, gravy and cheese curds, The Poutine. Everyone claims that they prepare the best one… how many ones will you have to taste before you declare your best one?
You’re more of a quiet type should who indulges nature? Montreal offers green areas all over the territory. You’ll find that oasis that makes you comfy in nature, for sure. Just remember that alcohol is prohibited in public areas unless you drink it at a picnic table installed by the City of Montreal or during an event that has been authorized by the borough council.
Be prepared to witness one of our longer lasting tradition in Quebec: Moving Day. There is technically no legal requirement to move on July 1st (you may sign your rent any day of a given year), but you’ll quickly realize that EVERYBODY moves on July 1st. It may be because it is convenient that it is Canada Day and everyone is off work and can move and help out others who are moving… but what is certain is that people gather and rejoice after the move and pizzerias and beers are probably sold more on July 1st in Montreal and all of Quebec than any other day of the year!
Want to fit in smoothly?
A few little things to learn so that you don’t get caught by surprise. First, people swear. And, like any other places, Montreal has developed its own French language and accent… even English is a little unique. So, better be ready than sorry. Learn the slang and swear to avoid speaking any mistake or to recognize quickly who is making fun of you!
Then, there are taxes. The first thing you’ll buy will let you know, be ready. In other Canadian provinces, they have a Harmonized Tax; in Quebec, many things are different then elsewhere… and they charge TWO taxes… one on top of the other. Good news is that you won’t be taken by surprise, because it is all details on the bill: 5% GST (Canada) et 9.5% PST (Quebec). That’s our way to collectively contribute to the common goods.
Finally, you must have heard that pot is legal in Canada. You can buy it for recreational consumption, and you can smoke it without too much discomfort. But beware! There is a municipal ruling on smoking weed: if you are under 18 y.o., forget it. If you are 18 and older, you may purchase marijuana in legal shops, you may smoke weed in some public places and you should refer to your borough rules before you light up your cigar, details can be found on the City of Montreal website: http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/portal/. Possession of certain quantities are also subject to law and regulations and you should NEVER SMOKE and DRIVE, just like you are cautious about DRINK AND DRIVE.
Let City Brew Tours drive you through Montréal’s best breweries and learn cool stuff that you’ll bring back home!