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infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/1/20 7:07 a.m.

Yeah I know, the wife and I just moved to Florida some months ago.  It was a temporary measure, mostly because we hated Baltimore and I got laid off due to Covid.  We've been looking since then at places to live and we're giving serious thought to Montreal.  We plan on taking some vacations up there once the border opens up and things calm down, but does anyone have any experience with the place?

I know it's French first, I was a linguist in the military for 12 years so I'm good with languages and started studying French a few days ago.  In January I'll be taking French courses in college as well, and the wife will be studying with me.  I know the winters are cold as well, that's not a negative for me.  I love cold weather, and the weather for the rest of the year looks fantastic.  

Being in central Florida I'm pretty much in motorsports heaven (well, without Covid) as I can autocross/HPDE basically every weekend out of the month, and no place will really compare to that.  Is there autocrossing around the Montreal area?  I would like to keep driving.  With the snow I figure I'll probably get rid of my Mustang GT and get something all wheel drive, like a Subaru or whatever.

From what I've read and heard, rent is very cheap (for a large city) in Montreal.  I would prefer a small house with a small bit of land - just enough for a garage, a small garden, and the obligatory race car, but it seems when I search for that all I find is single wide mobile homes on a bit of land for $200K.  I guess rent is cheap but houses are expensive.

This move would be happening in probably 2 years' time, so we have plenty of time to plan, visit, and save.  I'm in school on the GI Bill right now, studying computer networking, so hopefully job prospects won't be too much of an issue.  If it's as great as we expect it to be, we plan on becoming dual citizens.

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/1/20 8:02 a.m.

There are active sports car clubs in Montreal with autocross series.  I’ve enjoyed the events they run. You are also reasonably close to Ottawa with a strong autocross scene. Mont Tremblant is an hour or so drive, and is a beautiful track.  You might investigate ice racing . . .

I love Montreal. I don’t know it well enough to suggests places to live outside of the Plateau.   But that might not meet your requirements. 

There is no better bagel in the world then an authentic, fresh from the wood fired oven, Montreal bagel. They are available 24/7 from the best places, like 

https://www.stviateurbagel.com/

Quebec is gorgeous. Quebecois cuisine is fabulous.  Good luck!

infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/1/20 8:11 a.m.

In reply to ZOO (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/1/20 8:28 a.m.

I will second the comment on the bagels :) Those who have never tried a fresh Montreal style bagel have never fully experienced life.

It's a very different culture to the US. Quebec in general has a more European feel than the rest of North America. I'd recommend a visit if a week or so to get a feel and see how you fit in. It's definitely a cool city. 

docwyte
docwyte UberDork
11/1/20 8:32 a.m.

It's F'ing freezing up there.  They're French, not canadian and that's an attitude that's hard to describe, you need to experience it.  Mt Tremblant is a great race track not far from Montreal.  Fun place to visit, not a place I'd care to live.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/1/20 8:46 a.m.

I'll take -10C over +2 any day. The winters are crisp, not damp. 

I (and anyone who lives in Quebec) would say they are Québécois, not French. They are different - and if you want to have an exciting discussion, use the term "distinct society" :)

infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/1/20 9:32 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

I'll take -10C over +2 any day. The winters are crisp, not damp. 

That was one of the things we hated about Baltimore.  The winters were cold enough but it always wound up being 35 degree rain.  We got less than 1 inch of snow last summer, even though it got super cold plenty of times.  If it's going to be cold, I want snow, not cold rain.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
11/1/20 10:08 a.m.

More college students per a capita then anywhere else in North America. Tremblant is awesome. The gentleman's clubs are legendary.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/1/20 10:15 a.m.

In reply to captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

And from what I've read the colleges are incredibly cheap as well.  That's pretty awesome - depending on our work situation my wife could possibly get a school visa which would help with going there.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
11/1/20 10:40 a.m.

College is cheap there because Albertans pay for it.

That's a patio worthy comment, eh?

Justjim75
Justjim75 Dork
11/1/20 10:41 a.m.

I'll be in northern NY for the winter, can I not visit Canada at all?

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/1/20 10:46 a.m.

In reply to Justjim75 :

IIRC the border closure has just been extended again.

Justjim75
Justjim75 Dork
11/1/20 10:55 a.m.

Lame!  My first assignment is Ogdensburg which is only separated from Canada by the St Lawrence river with an international toll bridge a couple miles from the hospital I'll be working at.  Its close to Ottawa. 

Second is Saranac Lake an hour and a half from Montreal

mtn (Forum Supporter)
mtn (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/1/20 11:05 a.m.

They have one of the best tendys in the league, which could easily negate the rest of my statement, but they won’t win as long as Bergevin is at the helm. Seriously, trading Subban for Weber? 

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
11/1/20 11:35 a.m.

I very much recommend an in-depth visit before you make a final decision.  (The border might be open by next year, and the tourism industry will thank you sincerely for coming.)  You could start following local news online, too.

English Canada is definitely not "just like the US, only colder."  (I'm not suggesting you said anything like that, I'm just making a point.)  French Canada is that times five.  You and your wife might find life there congenial, after you get used to it, or you might find that the vast numbers of unspoken social understandings about everything from convenience-store etiquette to what to expect from your government(s) just feel wrong.

Look up the word "dirigiste" in a political context and decide how you feel about it.  Let me just say this: there's a reason it's a French word.

 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
11/1/20 11:49 a.m.

My neighbor is Canadian. His kids are Canadian.  His wife is not.  They tried to go over the border to visit a sick parent.  Wife can't go full stop.  Kids and husband potentially but 14 day quarantined so no visiting anyone until that is up.  They check on you to ensure it's enforced.  You violate quantantie and you're immediately deported.  That's at least what he told me about the border situation now. He also said he got like three stories calling three people and this is what he pieces together as most likely. 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia SuperDork
11/1/20 12:11 p.m.

and I thought you were asking about this......

infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/1/20 12:48 p.m.
californiamilleghia said:

and I thought you were asking about this......

Gorgeous.  Being an Alfa, I expect that.  New goals!

 

I'm glad to hear so much good about Montreal.  I've yet to really hear anything I don't like about it; no place is perfect but it seems pretty incredible.  Just gotta get through school and save a bunch of pennies.  And wait for the border to open, of course.  That last one might take a while.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
11/1/20 1:13 p.m.

Their steak seasoning is delicious. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/1/20 2:25 p.m.
infinitenexus said:

In reply to captdownshift (Forum Supporter) :

And from what I've read the colleges are incredibly cheap as well.  That's pretty awesome - depending on our work situation my wife could possibly get a school visa which would help with going there.

Iirc it's because they're all "state" schools and publicly supported. But I remember that Quebec schools were less than Ontario ones at the time I was looking. The high school CGEP system is different as well.

Health care costs will be, umm, not the same as the US. But the HST could be a shock. 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/1/20 2:36 p.m.
docwyte said:

It's F'ing freezing up there.  They're French, not canadian and that's an attitude that's hard to describe, you need to experience it.  Mt Tremblant is a great race track not far from Montreal.  Fun place to visit, not a place I'd care to live.

Subtle distinction... They are not really French.  They are French-Canadian.  Totally different critters.  In fact, many French Canadians dislike the fact that they are associated with France much like Ireland and Scotland have had friction for centuries despite having a common ancestry.  The French settlements in Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick were the target of a French and British campaign to re-assimilate them in the early 1700s.  Rather than go back under European rule, they fought a war and ended up being scattered around after being exiled from those Provinces - primarily to Eastern Canada and Louisiana.  So it can be a bit of a faux pas to discuss the "french-ness" of a French Canadian much like making a joke about potatoes to an Irish person or a joke about Slavery to a person of color.  French Canadians have more in common ancestrally with Cajuns (Acadians around the Gulf) than they do with people from France.  The French settlers on the Atlantic coast of Canada were originally of French origin, but intermarried with Irish, German, Filipino, and Spanish lineages.  Once Le Grand Derangement (great upheaval) came about as part of the Treaty of Paris in the 1760s (1763?  I think?), the Acadians were granted free passage out to safety.  Many moved inland to what is now Quebec and others went south.  Those who found their feet in Louisiana became colloquially called Cajuns as a southern pejorative of the word Acadian.  Incidentally, Creole is a word in French, but is borrowed from Spanish and Portuguese which correlatively means "created (born) in the new world" and is a term which refers to the Acadians who intermarried with the Latin/Spanish population and practiced Catholicism.  My point in outlining all of that is that French Canadians are not simply French people living in Canada.  They are part of a proud, distinct group of people who defied France and carved out a distinctly individual niche for themselves only to be oppressed for it, and eventually forced out of their homes by the French and British governments.

Some French Canadians are not overly welcoming to outsiders, but they are far warmer than some Americans are to people who only speak Spanish.  Please do not expect to take French language classes and expect to understand anything, nor have them understand anything you say.  In fact, in rural Quebec, sometimes formal French is cause for a little bristling if your accent is good enough that they mistake you for someone from the old world. Learning French and going to Montreal is like learning English and going to Mississippi or Texas.  It's technically English, but good luck understanding it if English wasn't your first language..  I took 6 years of French.  I can go to France, Switzerland, Belgium, or for that matter Guyana or Haiti and converse easier than I can in Montreal or Hull.  I've been helping my friends' Haitian adoptee daughter with some transitioning to English, and it only took me about three weeks to figure out 6-year-old Creole (related vaguely to French and nothing to do with Louisiana Creole culture), but Canadian French is very different, and I spend three months a year in Ontario with frequent encounters with the language.  I still have trouble with it.  Others haven't had the difficulty I have, but consider French language courses a good start, not a path toward learning French-Canadian.

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
11/1/20 2:40 p.m.
Scotty Con Queso said:

Their steak seasoning is delicious. 

You should try the smoked meat!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/1/20 2:40 p.m.

Quebec French is to French as Newfoundland English is to English. It's an 18th century language that was isolated and left to evolve. It's got a serious twang, too.

Quebequers can understand Parisian French but will be unintelligible to most Europeans. My own accent is claimed by nobody, but the French usually guess I'm Swiss. 

Wayslow
Wayslow Dork
11/1/20 4:01 p.m.

Although Montreal is "French first" it's very multicultural. You can get by with English if need be. I'll second the fact that it's a beautiful city with a vibrant culture. A huge bonus is the Canadian GP and surrounding festival.

 One of my coworkers is from Montreal and is anglophone. He grew up in an English speaking neighborhood and went to an english school. He is bilingual but he has no French Canadian accent.

 I have another coworker who immigrated from France. I assumed he was French Canadian until I heard him speaking to his wife on the phone.  He admits that he struggled with the French Canadian accent when he worked in Ottawa and lived in Gatineau. Apparently his wife would look to him to translate from Québécois to French when they went out to dinner.

 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
11/1/20 4:17 p.m.

Interesting conversation and insight to a part of Canada I have never visited. 

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