The City: An Overview
Montreal is the second largest city in the Canadian province and is situated on the island of Montreal. The city has been the hub of all sorts commercial activities ranging from finance, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, design, technology, tourism, culture, sports, film and global affairs for decades. The city is predominantly French speaking one and is fondly called as the ‘cultural capital of Canada’. The city is highly influenced by the two famous rivers Saint Lawrence and Ottawa. The city lies between the hill-heads of Mount Royal, from which the very name Montreal originated. It is prominent for its old fashioned elegance coupled with contemporary world’s cultural diversity.
As per records, in 2014, the city had a population of 4.1 million in the metropolitan area alone ("Population of census metropolitan areas”). According to statistics, Montréal has the land area of 4,258.31 square kilometers; and with regards to its population density, it has the density of 898.1 persons per square kilometer (“Focus on Geography Series, 2011 Census”). Although majority of the population speaks French, there are allophones who speak English, Italian, Arabic, Spanish, Greek, Chinese etc across the region.
With regard to religion, the area is predominantly Roman Catholic, and this could be attributed to the French, German, Italian and Irish immigrations to the region. Although Christianity is predominant in the area, no active participation of religious practices is found. There are people who follow other religious beliefs like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. This clearly points to the city’s multi-cultural policy and characteristics.
Major Destinations and Events
The city has numerous tourist destinations. Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica, Bonsecours Market, and Saint Joseph's Oratory reflect the beauty of the city’s historic buildings. Montreal has international significance in several respects. For instance, it was named a UNESCO City of Design in 2006. Recently, The Lonely Planet travel guide has included Montreal in its list of 10 happiest places in the World (qtd in “Living in Montreal, Quebec”). Several cultural and social events are held in Montreal during festivals, and among those festivals, Montreal International Jazz is the most significant one. There are other festivals like Just for Laughs, Montreal World Film Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montreal, Montreal Fireworks Festival, and many more, which all collectively attract several people to the destination every year. All these factors jointly constitute the socio-cultural characteristics of the famous city.
Montreal has very severe winter. In terms of houses and life style, Montreal is an American or English-Canadian counterpart regardless of its French language. However, at the same time, it has its own unique art, music and literature forms that clearly point to the city’s cultural integrity. People mostly belong to working class and are very tolerant; and therefore, one can lead a peaceful life in the city. People usually are interested in outdoor activities and enjoy all sorts of public events. However, an outsider who decides to live in Montreal will surely confront language barrier. In other words, learning French is necessary, and this is possible within a term of two years. It will be surely difficult for one to communicate in English in the outskirts of the city.
With regard to employment rates and standard of living, Montreal has met satisfactory levels. As per records, “the average household income in Montreal is $71,000 yearly, which is 4.2 per cent below the Canadian average “. (Living in Montreal, Quebec). As described above, the city offers employments in industries including but not limited to finance, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, design, technology, tourism, culture, sports, and film. As an example, “The Port of Montreal’s activities generate $1.5 billion in economic spin-offs a year and over 18,000 jobs” (qtd in “Living in Montreal, Quebec”). Hence, it will not be difficult for one to find out employment in any of the above mentioned industries depending on one’s area of expertise.
Although everything including entertainment, language, and lifestyle is determined by French, Italian influence is also visible in the area to some extents. Restaurants offer food from all over the world. And, shopping in Montreal will also be an unforgettable experience, for Asian as well as European shopping malls are in plenty throughout the region. All the above aspects show that Montreal is one of the best places to live in the world.
“Focus on Geography Series, 2011 Census”. Statistics Canada. Web. Feb 5, 2016.
“Living in Montreal, Canada”. Living in Canada. Web. Feb 5, 2016.
"Population of census metropolitan areas". statcan.gc.ca. 30 May 2014. Web. Feb 5, 2016.