So I’ve been living in Montreal for two months now and I think this makes me qualified to do an official comparison between the two biggest cities in Canada.
Full disclosure: I’ve been living in Toronto for three years and I go to school there, so I have a lot more chance to party, so this list is probably biased.
I will be comparing Toronto and Montreal on categories that I feel are requirements to qualify as a good city.
1) Subway/Métro – I have to give this one to Toronto. I know people complain about the Toronto Transit Commission a lot. But the TTC comes much more often than the Societé de Transport de Montréal, every five minutes versus every 10-12 and there are also more seats on the TTC. For some reason the STM métro has little pods of two and one seats. Plus side is you rarely sit with a creeper, down side is you rarely get a seat! Finally, I think the TTC subway is better at getting you to all the major landmarks in the city.
2) Biking – Montreal definitely takes this one. You can pretty much get anywhere you want in the city core on a bike path (most of them are separated by cement too). Montreal also created Bixi, the bike-share program, which has since been exported to London, England, Minneapolis, Minnesota and Melbourne, Australia. It’s also hopefully going to start up in Toronto next summer… if it can meet all the necessary requirements.
3) Bagels – Again Montreal takes this one. Montreal bagels really are the best I’ve ever tasted. I mean St. Urbaine bagels in the market is good… but Fairmount or St. Viateur is better.
4) Sports teams – I’m going to have to give this one to Toronto. While the Montreal Canadiens are far superior to the Toronto Maple Leafs. (As an Ottawa Senators fan, my two favourite teams are the Sens and anyone who beats the Leafs.) But, Blue Jays games are fun on a Saturday afternoon and Toronto FC is actually in the Major League Sports association. I haven’t been to a Raptors game yet, but at least I have the option. The Toronto Argonauts football team also seems to always beat the Montreal Alouettes.
5) Shopping – This one is tough. While the Eaton Centre in Toronto is way better than the Eaton Centre in Montreal. Montreal does have Simon’s, which I love. However, store hours in Quebec are regulated by the Province and they close far too early for my liking. Also Montreal has a very trendy/hipster way of dressing and it’s really just not my style. So I’m going to go with Toronto.
6) Take out – I don’t really cook much, so this one is very important. While poutine is great, I haven’t been able to find any good Thai, Indian or sushi in Montreal. There is also no Chipotle. The Shawarma in Montreal, though, is much better. I do like being able to choose between a variety of food though, so I’m going to have to go with Toronto, again.
7) Nightlife – As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t really been out in Montreal much, so this one might now be fair. I like the music better in Toronto and the bars are more exciting. But Montreal has a casino and you can by liquor at the corner store. I have a lot of people visiting this weekend and I’m going out tomorrow. I think I’ll wait to decide this one until I’ve spent a little more time in Montreal.
8) Expenses – Montreal is definitely a lot cheaper to live in than Toronto. If I lived here for a while, I could save a lot of money.
9) Weather – Toronto definitely takes this one. Montreal has the same thing as Ottawa – too hot and humid in the summer and way to cold in the winter. I like the temperate climate.
10) Tourist sites – Once again I think Toronto takes this one. The stade olympique is falling apart. The musée d’art contemporain is tiny and I really don’t care about Churches. Now Mont Royale park is awesome. I’m really going to miss that. The festivals are also amazing… and there are plenty of a free shows, something that Toronto needs to do more of! Still, I miss seeing Broadway shows and seeing what is going on in Dundas Square. Toronto has been cultural infrastructure I think. Place des Arts is nice, but it’s not being used to it’s full potential.