My love affair with Montreal began at a very young age. My parents were two Italian immigrants who left their homeland to build better lives for themselves. I was lucky enough to be raised in a city where cultural diversity is welcomed and where we do have the opportunity to live a good life. Montreal has so much to offer and I will give you ten reasons why I love this city so much, leading me to become a tourist guide in 2017. Here are the first five:
- Joie de vivre – “The joy of living” so commonly found in Montreal is what has its citizens want to stay in the city regardless of the harsh winters that they are faced with. Whether it’s dancing outdoors in the dead of winter during Igloofest, having a picnic at Parc Lafontaine, or taking in the weekly Tams Tams Sunday gathering at Mount Royal park, Montrealers sure know how to enjoy life! Personally, I simply love to stroll on Mont-Royal avenue to take in the fun Plateau vibe and check out the eclectic shops.
Traditional bagel sandwich at St. Viateur Bagel Café on Mont-Royal Avenue
- The Food, the Food! – Montreal boasts having more than 5170 restaurants in the city. Sink your teeth into a smoked meat sandwich or bite into a bagel fresh out of the oven and you will see for yourself why we love to eat in this city. The public markets such as the famed Jean-Talon market in Little Italy and the Atwater market are also worth bragging about with such a wide array of fresh food and local delicacies… You can always check out my favourite restaurants by reading my first blog entry here.
The vibrant Chinatown
The Cultural Diversity – I grew up in Saint-Leonard, a Montreal borough which happens to have one of the largest Italian communities in Montreal. There are over 120 cultural communities in the greater Montreal area so we do not lack in terms of ethnic variety. Montreal also happens to be the largest French-speaking metropolis in North America. It’s the big European-flavoured city in North America.
Rose-Aimée Bélanger’s Les Chuchoteuses in Old Montreal
Public Art – Monuments and street art are gloriously displayed throughout the city. The city has much to enjoy including Nelson’s Column at Place Jacques Cartier which happens to be Canada’s oldest war monument. There are also the many murals that can be found in the city – including two murals of the late great Montreal singer Leonard Cohen – that make the city shine. One of my favourite things to do in the city is to walk along Saint-Laurent boulevard to admire the wonderful murals along the strip.
Osheaga music festival goers gather around Calder’s Trois Disques
- The Festivals – Montreal is a festival city. It’s here where you can find the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs festival where many comedians have become superstars, or the Mural festival where you get to see murals come to life in front of your eyes, And yes, we also have festivals in the winter, notably the great Montréal en Lumière festival and its Nuit Blanche where many activities are presented throughout the night!
There you have it for the first five reasons! Check out the next five reasons that will follow in a subsequent blog entry. In the meantime, you can always contact me if you are looking for a licensed Montreal tourist guide for a private tour of the city.