Montreal Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Montreal, Quebec - QC, Canada)
Montreal lies in the heart of Quebec and is one of Canada's largest French-speaking cities, with more than half of the residents in Montreal speaking French. Also, English is often spoken or understood in Montreal and many locals are fluent in both languages.
City life in Montreal is fast and exciting, with many of the city's main companies being concentrated in Montreal's modern downtown district, where skyscrapers and high-rise living is commonplace. Montreal is affected greatly by the seasonal weather and many locals look forward to the winter months and the skiing season. The 'Underground City' network of shops, hotels and restaurants is one of the most unusual aspects of life in Montreal, with more than 18 miles / 30 km of pedestrianized subways and tunnels protected from weather extremes.
Tourism and Tourist Information
The Old Montreal Tourist Center
Address: 174 Notre Dame East, Montreal, Quebec (QC), H3C 2W3, Canada
Tel: +1 514 873 2015
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00, summer - 09:00 to 19:00
Address: 1001 Rue Square Dorchester, Quebec (QC), H3B 1G2, Canada
Tel: +1 514 873 2015
Open hours: Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday - 09:00 to 19:00, Wednesday - 10:00 to 19:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00
Address: 205, Mont Royal East Street, Laval, Montreal, Quebec (QC), H2T 1P4, Canada
Tel: +1 514 844 0287
Open hours: Monday to Wednesday - 10:00 to 18:00, Thursday and Friday - 10:00 to 21:00, Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00
With in excess of 300 languages spoken in America and Canada, English and French are the main languages in Montreal, and the majority of highway signposts and tourist leaflets display both. Canadian English is widely spoken in Montreal with a large English-speaking community, and is heavily based upon British English. However, Canadian French is the main language in Montreal and the city is home to the largest French-speaking community in the whole of North America.
Currency in Montreal, Quebec and throughout Canada is structured in a similar way to the USA, with Canadian dollars. Noteworthy denominations include:
- 1c - penny
- 2c - quarter
- 5c - nickel
- 10c - dime
- $1 dollar - loonie
- $2 dollars - twoonie / toonie
Paper notes in Montreal consist of $5, $10 and $20 dollar notes, which are daily currency in the city, with higher notes such as $50 and $100 dollar bills being less frequently used. Tourists staying in the city of Montreal can use their credit and debit cards at ATMs, which are sited almost everywhere, providing a handy way to exchange currency. Also, many large travel agent companies in Montreal, such as American Express and Thomas Cook, offer reasonable rates of exchange, together with local banks. Most banks in Montreal are open from Monday through Friday, with opening hours being shorter than regular shops in central Montreal. A number of banking branches in Montreal city center also open their doors during weekday evenings and on Saturday mornings.
Visas and Documents
Visitors to Montreal and other cities in Canada require photo ID and also at least two or three further types of formal identification. Passports are always needed when visiting Montreal, except for those arriving from the US and Greenland. A driver's license is no longer sufficient identification for US citizens arriving in Montreal and must be used together with an official birth certificate or similar document, such as a citizenship certificate. People visiting Montreal from the Commonwealth and Western countries do not require visas, although travelers from most other countries do, except for Mexican citizens. Visa applications for those traveling to Montreal and Canada must be made at least four weeks in advance. All inquiries should be directed to Canadian Immigration Centers.
Motorists intending to drive a car in the city of Montreal must obtain a 'Canadian Non-resident Interprovince Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card' or 'Visitor to Canada Insurance', issued by most US insurance companies. Car rental companies in Montreal require you to be at least 21 years of age when renting a car, although for some centers this is 26 years. In Montreal, Quebec and all over Canada, cars always drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Tipping in Montreal is fairly standard and most of the city's restaurants expect around 10 to 15 per cent of the bill as a tip, although a number of large restaurants now automatically add service charges to the bill. Taxi drivers, barbers, hairstylists and hotel staff in Montreal also expect to be tipped and are always grateful.
Smoking and Alcohol
All over Canada you are only able to buy alcohol at local government-run shops, although in the provinces of Alberta and Quebec, many privately owned stores are allowed to sell a range of alcohol. The current legal drinking age in Montreal and throughout Canada is 19 years old, with the exception of Alberta and Manitoba, where the legal drinking age is only 18. Smoking is no longer permitted at many locations in Montreal, including public transport and dining venues.