As a seasoned traveler who’s journeyed across continents and immersed myself in countless cultures, I’ve come to appreciate the unique charm each city holds. Every corner of the world has its own rhythm, its own heartbeat. In my travels, I’ve found that the essence of a place often ties deeply to the pride of its inhabitants. It’s this pride that makes us feel connected, that gives us a sense of belonging.
Yet, sometimes, the winds of change beckon, urging us to seek new horizons. I’ve met many who’ve left the comfort of their childhood towns, drawn to the allure of bustling metropolises. In Canada, two cities often beckon these wandering souls: Vancouver and Montreal.
Vancouver and Montreal – two jewels of Canada. Each offers a distinct flavor of life. Montreal, with its rich history and more affordable living, contrasts with Vancouver’s proximity to the wild embrace of nature. Both are breathtaking in their own right, and choosing between them?
Well, that’s a matter of what your heart desires. But if you’re considering other provinces, it’s worth exploring which Canadian province might be the best fit for you, as each has its own unique charm and offerings
In the passages that follow, some insights from my own experiences in these cities, hoping to guide you on your own journey of discovery. So, fellow traveler, let’s embark on this exploration together.
Public transit in Vancouver vs. Montreal
Public transit fares in Vancouver
Here’s a snapshot of Vancouver’s transportation costs in table format:
|Mode of Transport||Single Ride||Day Fares||Evening Pass||Weekend Evening||Weekly Pass||Monthly Pass|
|SkyTrain||$2.95 – $5.70||$10.5||$5.75||$15.25||$28.5||$98|
|SeaBus||$2.95 – $5.70||$10.5||$5.75||$15.25||$28.5||$98|
|Mobi Bike||$2.5/30min||–||–||–||–||$20 (unlimited 30min rides)|
Public transport in Montreal
Montreal’s public transit is primarily orchestrated by the STM metro system. This subway network, with its 4 expansive lines, effortlessly bridges the gap between the city’s core and its myriad attractions, train stations, and bus terminals.
For early risers and night owls alike, the metro runs from 5:30 am to 12:30 am on weekdays, extending its service until 1:30 am during weekends.
But the STM isn’t Montreal’s sole transit champion. The city also offers the 747 Shuttle Airport system, a direct route from the airport to the heart of downtown.
For those who prefer pedal power, the BIXI bike-share service boasts over 6000 bikes, available for rent at a nominal fee. And for those looking to venture beyond the city limits, the Exotrain serves as a reliable conduit to Montreal’s suburbs.
Transit fares in Montreal
To give you a clearer picture, here’s a breakdown of Montreal’s transportation costs:
|Mode of Transport||Single Ride||Day Fares||Evening Pass||Weekend Evening||Weekly Pass||Monthly Pass|
|747 Shuttle Airport System||$10||Free for children under 11||–||–||–||–|
|BIXI||$1 unlock fee||Regular: $0.1/min, Electric: $0.3/min||–||–||$5.25 (for unlimited 45 mins and under rides)||$18|
Cost of groceries
The table below compares the cost of groceries for one person living in Montreal vs. Vancouver.
|Average cost of groceries (Items X kg)||Montreal||Vancouver|
|Milk (1 litre)||$2.93||$2.73|
|Loaf of fresh white bread (500g)||$3.79||$3.25|
|Rice (white), (1 kg)||$3.73||$4.65|
|Local cheese (1 kg)||$16.32||$15.92|
|Chicken fillets (1 kg)||$14.67||$16.31|
|Beef round (1 kg)||$17.20||$20.43|
|Apples (1 kg)||$4.35||$4.12|
|Bananas (1 kg)||$1.84||$1.82|
|Oranges (1 kg)||$4.22||$4.29|
|Tomato (1 kg)||$4.69||$4.67|
|Potato (1 kg)||$2.61||$3.22|
|Onion (1 kg)||$2.60||$2.47|
|Lettuce (1 head)||$2.42||$3.12|
|Water (1.5-liter bottle)||$2.25||$2.70|
|Bottle of wine (Mid-range)||$15.00||$20.00|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter)||$3.35||$4.57|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter)||$3.63||$4.05|
|The total cost of groceries for one person||$109.39||$118.41|
What To Do In This Cities
Having traversed the globe and experienced the unique allure of countless cities, I’ve come to realize that each city has its own heartbeat, its own rhythm. Montreal and Vancouver, two of Canada’s most vibrant cities, are no exception. Let’s embark on a journey through the entertainment landscapes of these two metropolises:
Entertainment in Montreal
Ah, Montreal! A city that pulsates with culture, tantalizing cuisine, and a rich tapestry of historic architecture. Its nightlife is legendary, with jazz notes wafting through the air and a populace that truly knows how to savor every moment.
While many Canadian cities boast of their art scenes, none quite match the artistic fervor of Montreal. The city’s dedication to the arts is evident in its iconic Place-des-Arts neighborhood, a haven for festival-goers, museum enthusiasts, and art aficionados.
One of the highlights of Montreal’s entertainment calendar is the “Just for Laughs” comedy festival in June. The city comes alive with laughter, hosting a plethora of free live events and comedy shows, particularly in the bustling downtown area.
Summer in Montreal is a symphony of musical and cultural events, and while its winters might be biting, they’re never dull. With over 40 museums and the historic charm of the Old Port, Montreal ensures there’s never a dull moment.
Entertainment in Vancouver
Vancouver, on the other hand, is nature’s masterpiece. With a backdrop of majestic mountains, pristine beaches reminiscent of San Francisco and Los Angeles, and the vast expanse of the ocean, it’s a paradise for nature lovers.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, Vancouver’s biking trails, skiing slopes, and sailing routes are sure to enthrall. The journey to Whistler along the sea-to-sky corridor is nothing short of poetic.
And for those who prefer a more laid-back experience, the gondola ride up Grouse Mountain or a leisurely stroll along the seafront promenade offers serenity.
Comparing the Cost of Entertainment
Both Montreal and Vancouver are vibrant cities teeming with leisure activities, from sports clubs to cinemas. However, when it comes to the cost of entertainment, there are some notable differences between the two.
- Montreal: A monthly membership at a fitness club for one person averages at $46.37.
- Vancouver: The same membership is approximately 20% more expensive than in Montreal.
- Montreal: Renting a tennis court for an hour on weekends will set you back $21.50.
- Vancouver: A more affordable option at $14.23 for the same duration.
- Montreal & Vancouver: The cost of a seat for an international film release is nearly identical in both cities, indicating a similar cinematic experience price point.
- Montreal: A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant averages at $90.
- Vancouver: The same dining experience is slightly pricier, coming in at around $100.
While both cities offer a plethora of entertainment options, Montreal emerges as the more budget-friendly choice, especially for fitness enthusiasts and diners. However, it’s essential to note that the quality and variety of experiences in both cities are top-notch, making either city a fantastic choice for entertainment seekers.
The housing landscape in both Montreal and Vancouver has seen significant shifts in recent years. Montreal’s housing prices have been on an upward trajectory, with the average price surpassing the $600,000 mark for the first time in April 2022. On the other hand, Vancouver’s real estate sector has been booming, with record-breaking numbers in both agent activity and transactions. The city’s housing market has witnessed an unprecedented 13 consecutive months of peak home prices.
Cost of Rent in Montreal
To provide a clearer picture of Montreal’s housing costs, here’s a detailed breakdown of average rents across various apartment types and key neighborhoods:
|Neighborhood||Studio||1 Bedroom||2 Bedroom||3 Bedroom|
|Quarter Ville Marie||$1190/month||$1600/month||$2100/month||$2950/month|
You can find rental costs of different types of apartments in multiple neighborhoods of Vancouver in the following table:
|Neighborhood||Studio||1 bedroom||2 bedroom||3 bedroom|
|University Endowment Lands||$1800/month||$2175/month||$3500/month||$5500/month|
|Kesington Cedar Cottage||$1700/month||$1950/month||$2300/month||$3600/month|
|West Point Grey||$1650/month||$2400/month||$2500/month||$4000/month|
Both Montreal and Vancouver are dynamic cities with thriving job markets, but they cater to different industries and have unique challenges and opportunities.
Montreal’s Job Landscape
Montreal is grappling with a significant labor shortage, which has impacted its manufacturing sector to the tune of a $1.8 billion loss over the past two years.
This shortage is attributed to a lack of skilled workers. The upcoming decade is projected to see around 1.2 million job vacancies, leading to a surge of workers migrating to Montreal.
The city’s job market is particularly favorable for computer network technicians, engineers, teachers, health workers, and programmers.
Vancouver’s Job Landscape
Post-pandemic, Canada has seen a surge in the professional, technical, and scientific services sectors. Vancouver, located on the West Coast, boasts one of the country’s lowest unemployment rates. The city’s job market is ripe for professionals in healthcare, education, culinary arts, development, and sales.
Here’s a breakdown of the average salaries for some of the most sought-after professions in both cities:
If you’re someone who thrives in vibrant atmospheres, Montreal is a festival haven. The city is bustling with celebrations throughout the year, with a particular emphasis during the warmer months.
From food-centric events to cultural showcases and adventure-filled weekends, there’s always a reason to immerse yourself in the festivities. Every weekend feels like a new adventure, ensuring you’re never short of entertainment options.
While Vancouver also hosts a plethora of festivals and events, it doesn’t quite match the sheer volume and variety that Montreal boasts. However, each festival in Vancouver is unique and offers its own charm, ensuring a rich experience for attendees.
Montreal’s food scene is a testament to its rich cultural tapestry, ensuring that there’s something for every palate. The city’s passion for food is evident in its numerous food festivals and the impressive weekly gathering of food trucks during the summer and fall months, making it a food lover’s dream destination.
Vancouver, on the other hand, is a hotspot for Asian cuisine. With nearly half the city’s population having Asian roots, it’s no surprise that Vancouver offers some of the best Asian culinary experiences in Canada.
Whether you’re craving sushi, dim sum, or spicy curries, Vancouver’s dining scene promises authenticity and flavor. The city’s rich Asian heritage ensures that diners get a genuine taste of the East.
Montreal is in the Quebec Province, which is an area in Canada that uses French as the predominant language.
While most Canadians take French in school, Montreal natives are fluent. In fact, the city is a major producer of French-language television for the country.
Even so, almost everyone also speaks English, so it is not necessary to speak French to live there.
However, you might be more likely to feel left out of certain festivities and events that are given in French as well as conversations among Montreal natives.
Cost of Living
Montreal and Vancouver, two of Canada’s major cities, offer distinct lifestyles and living costs. Here’s a comprehensive comparison of the cost of living between the two:
- Montreal: Ranked 2347th among the most expensive cities in the world.
- Vancouver: Holds the 263rd position.
- Vancouver: Consumer prices (excluding rent) are 6.28% higher than in Montreal. When rent is included, the difference rises to 19.55%.
- Montreal: Renting in Montreal is about 41% cheaper than in Vancouver. Restaurant prices are 13.67% lower, and groceries are 9.48% cheaper than in Vancouver.
To maintain the same standard of living in Montreal that you’d have with 7,300.00C$ in Vancouver, you’d need approximately 5,790.57C$ (assuming you rent in both cities).
Cost of Living Index:
- Vancouver: 76.4
- Montreal: 70.30
Average Monthly Costs
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the average monthly costs for an individual in both cities:
|Average House Price||$608,265||$1,374,500|
|Average Monthly Rent (1 bedroom in City Centre)||$1,376.25||$2,254.98|
|Public Transit (One-way ticket)||$3.50||$3.05|
|Utilities (electricity + internet)||$172.87||$185.10|
|Cell Phone Plan (unlimited talk, text, data)||$80||$80|
|Gym Membership (monthly)||$44.39||$56.44|
|Clothing and Shoes (1 pair each)||$264.17||$244.93|
Childcare and Recreation
Childcare in Montreal is relatively more affordable compared to Vancouver. This can be a significant relief for working parents. Montreal, being in the Quebec Province, offers a unique educational system.
After completing the eleventh grade, students typically attend a pre-university technical school for two years before proceeding to University.
This system provides a blend of academic and vocational training, preparing students for both higher education and the workforce.
While the cost of childcare, especially for preschoolers, is notably higher in Vancouver, the city compensates with its abundance of parks, natural attractions, and recreational activities.
These spaces not only offer children a chance to connect with nature but also provide ample opportunities for physical activity and social interaction.
Education and Bilingual Opportunities
Montreal’s education system stands out due to its bilingual nature. The city has both English and French-speaking elementary schools.
This offers a unique opportunity for children to become proficient in both languages, setting them up for a myriad of opportunities in the future. Being bilingual can be a significant advantage in various fields, from business to arts.
Vancouver follows the more traditional North American educational system. While it doesn’t have the same bilingual emphasis as Montreal, Vancouver schools are known for their quality education, diverse student populations, and a wide range of extracurricular activities.
1. What sets Montreal apart from Vancouver?
Montreal, despite being Canada’s second-largest city, is relatively more affordable. The most pronounced difference between the two cities lies in their cultural vibes. Montreal, with its significant French-Canadian population, exudes a European charm. On the other hand, Vancouver’s milder climate contrasts sharply with Montreal’s more varied seasonal changes.
2. Considering lifestyle, where should one reside in Montreal?
- Young Professionals and Singles: Ville-Marie, Old Montreal, Outremont, and Rosemont are ideal.
- Families: Griffintown, Villeray, and NDG are family-friendly neighborhoods.
- Students: Plateau Mont-Royal and Milton Park cater well to the student community.
3. What are the best neighborhoods in Vancouver based on lifestyle?
- Young Professionals: Gastown and Yaletown are trendy and vibrant.
- Families: Main Street and Olympic Village offer a wholesome environment for families.
- Students: Kitsilano is a popular choice among the student population.
4. How do taxes in Montreal compare to Vancouver?
In Quebec, where Montreal is located, there’s a 5% GST and a provincial tax (TVQ) of 9.975%.
Income Tax Rates in Quebec:
- Up to $45,105: 15%
- $45,105 to $90,200: 20%
- $90,200 to $109,755: 24%
- Over $109,755: 25.75%
Vancouver, in British Columbia, has a standard 5% GST and a 7% PST as its provincial sales tax.
Income Tax Rates in Vancouver:
- Up to $43,070: 5.06%
- $43,070 to $86,141: 7.70%
- $86,141 to $98,901: 10.50%
- $98,901 to $120,094: 12.29%
- $120,094 to $162,832: 14.70%
- $162,832 to $227,091: 16.80%
- Over $227,091: 20.5%
Federal Tax Rates (Same for both cities):
- Up to $50,197: 15%
- $50,197 to $100,392: 20.5%
- $100,392 to $155,625: 26%
- $155,625 to $221,708: 29%
- Over $221,708: 33%
Canada is a vast and diverse country, and its cities are a testament to this diversity. Montreal and Vancouver, two of its most iconic cities, offer distinct experiences, cultures, and lifestyles. Whether you’re drawn to the European charm of Montreal or the natural beauty of Vancouver, both cities promise a life filled with adventure, opportunities, and memories. As a seasoned traveler, I can attest that the journey of discovering a new city is as enriching as the destination itself. So, whether you’re considering a move or just looking for your next travel destination, I hope this guide offers you a glimpse into the heartbeats of these two Canadian gems.