I had the pleasure of spending this great weekend in Montreal and after some sightseeing, going out, day drinking, and walking around I wanted to share with you guys my Montreal experience as well as the verdict on the city. My Canadian friends long told me to avoid Toronto and after reading so many bad reviews of the city’s culture, I decided to take the short flight over to Montreal. My experiences and observations are from the lens of an American and while I have traveled abroad, it was my first time in Canada. Montreal in many ways amazed me but in some ways it left me underwhelmed.
The city is beautiful.
Criticize the French all you want but if there is one thing they do better than just about anyone, it is designing beautiful things. The structure of Montreal makes you feel like you are in a European city and you will likely use up a lot of space on your phone taking photo after photo. I hear Vancouver is another top contender for Canada’s most beautiful city but Montreal has to be in the conversation for the most beautiful city in North America. Go for a short hike to get to the top and you will be amazed at the way the city was designed. Parks and gardens that as a New Yorker I was in awe by, Central Park cannot even come close to competing.
People here are very nice.
My friends who visited Toronto years back complained about how rude and cold the people there were so I did not come into Montreal with high expectations. I was surprised at the amount of people who would be receptive to a conversation, bartenders that would make friendly small talk which you do not get enough of in the US, and even instances where store owners would give me something for free when I needed it but was short a couple Canadian dollars. I have not seen such a friendly vibe during the daytime in any city, not even in the south.
Yet a lot does depend on where in the city you are, the French influence in the local population is overstated.
Crescent St is not going to be so hospitable as that is where a lot of Anglo-Canadians and Americans from the Northeast come to party. Needless to say I found that Crescent St. was where I found a lot of the rude attitudes. The bars are going to be loaded with your typical frat bros and sorority sister types, you will also get a lot of that bro-type of college town attitude at a lot of the bars as well.
On the other hand, St.Laurent street has a nicer population that is more welcoming. Despite hearing that St. Laurent street is home to more of the French Canadian population, I found a large amount of Anglo Canadians and quite a few bartenders at the local bars who were from Ontario or Vancouver.
I was informed by the locals that in order to really get a taste of the French influence, as a guy with a weakness for French women, you have to go to St. Denis where you get a lot of ethnically French people. I did not get a chance to go as much, it is not much of a party destination as the vibe you will find are more lounge-type of bars.
The women were very beautiful and approachable.
Just like the French design beautiful buildings and structures, they also give the world a lot of beautiful women. I found French-Canadian girls to be surprisingly approachable and on average better-looking than their Anglo-Canadian counterparts. For the most part it was rare for me to get a rude blowout like I would in NYC or any other American city. Even if women were not interested, they still talked to you and let you know they had a boyfriend. Go to any park and out in public to find that a large number of the women walking the streets are very approachable. Day game is definitely the go to here and speaking of that….
Nightlife in Montreal is overrated.
Now I did go during a time when there are a lot of college students coming back from summer break and the summer to early fall might not be ideal, but nightlife in Montreal sucked. Lines of guys outside of nightclubs would make any normal guy disheartened to even bother going in, sausage fest in most nightclubs. As someone from NYC where you see the lines behind the nicest nightclubs or even decent ones in Manhattan packed with hot girls, in Montreal it was largely guys and girls with mixed group of guys. Get ready to deal with rude bouncers and hosts who will pull the “we require guest list” card on a whim. You are better off walking St. Laurent street and doing street approaches to meet girls than going into a packed bar or club where guys largely outnumber girls. I have not even started to get into the worst part of it….
I am now grateful the drinking age in the US is twenty-one.
In Europe, the drinking age being below 21 can work because binge drinking is not as much of a thing, it is in North America. Combine binge-drinking with the drinking age being below 21, you get a shit-show at bars and nightclubs. Be extra careful as you will find girls who are below legal age prowl bars with their friends. The amount of high school kids you see out at these bars and nightclubs will make you second guess talking to girls and women there, it truly does not mix well.
A great deal of interracial dating of all sorts of variety.
In the US we have interracial dating but it is largely white guys with Asian and ethnic girls and black guys with white girls, while both were also common in Montreal, you had more variety. Never in my life have I been to a city where I saw so many Asian and Indian men with white women, something that is still rare in most US cities outside of NYC. A guy of a minority group, especially Asian and Indian, can get some serious attention from the local women of Montreal. You saw so much variety in the interracial relationships of Montreal that you typically won’t see in most major US cities.
The city is cheap compared to most major US cities.
I was amazed at how far 20 Canadian Dollars can get you at a bar in Montreal compared to a bar in any major US city, you do get a nice deal. The food and drinks in the city are surprisingly cheap for a city of this quality. I highly recommend trying out local French restaurants and getting the Duck Confit. Traveling to Montreal is not going to drain your wallet nearly as much as traveling to a European city will.
As for the verdict!
Montreal offers great value for a city of its size and I would argue it is probably the best big city in Canada. The nightlife is largely a waste of time and you are better off not going to most of the nightclubs in the city. I will say that for daygame and building long-term value, the city is prime. You get a lot of beautiful women who are approachable and nicer than their Anglo counterparts to the west of the country. I think Montreal can be fruitful for guys who are looking for more than just a one night stand.
The night game in Montreal was not very promising, it could be because I went during an off time of the year. Nightclubs and bars were packed with men and the fact that there were so many under-aged girls made it a scare approaching. I found more opportunities walking St. Laurent Street than actually going inside of the clubs. What saves Montreal is the fact that it has a lot of beautiful women, easily a top five on my list for that.