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View of the Ferris wheel in the Old Port of Montréal View of the Ferris wheel in the Old Port of Montréal

Montréal, an inviting metropolis with countless attractions

Published on May 16, 2024

Montréal is Quebec’s metropolis and America’s largest French-speaking city. With its vibrant neighbourhoods, dynamic culinary scene, and internationally renowned festivals, it offers a rich experience to anyone who comes to visit, live, or move here. Is this the place for you? Portrait of a cosmopolitan environment boasting many assets, as part of the new series Choosing your city 

A central location with endless possibilities

Panoramic view of Montréal and its skyscrapers
Photo: Shutterstock/EQ Roy

Montréal is a strategically located island on the St. Lawrence River, making it a remarkable economic and cultural centre. Its public transit network and bicycle paths encourage eco-mobility and a healthy lifestyle.  

From the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal to the downtown skyscrapers along René-Lévesque Boulevard, the setting never ceases to amaze. Looking up, you can see the buildings silhouetted against the sky, as each façade tells its own unique architectural story. In the distance, the majestic Mount Royal offers a panoramic view of the city. An absolutely unforgettable place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors! 

Fascinating museums, lush green parks, and a variety of restaurants offer a wide range of activities. You can explore the interactive exhibits at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, enjoy delicious food in the lively bistros of the Plateau-Mont-Royal, or admire urban art along the “main” (Saint-Laurent Boulevard). 

No wonder residents feel “awake”, “energized”, and “active”, according to the second edition of EspaceProprio’s Well-being at home survey (2024).1 After all, urbanism and nature blend harmoniously in this bustling city. 

Montréal alley filled with flowers
Photo: Adobe Stock/Torval Mork

For Charlie Rondeau, who chose to remain in Montréal following her college and university studies, living in the metropolis has become a source of pride. 

“I love showing people around the city whenever I get the chance,” says the 36-year-old youth worker. I never tire of trying out new restaurants and walking the pedestrian streets (like rue Saint-Denis and Plaza Saint-Hubert), enjoying the summer terraces and bargain sales. In winter, I go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in Maisonneuve, Jarry, and Frédérick-Back parks. I also love the Île-de-la-Visitation and Bois-de-Liesse nature parks. Everything is nearby, so I can get there without the use of a car.” 

Diversity at the heart of history 

Cobblestone street in Old Montréal
Photo: Shutterstock/ProDesign studio

Over the centuries, Montréal has witnessed defining moments that have weaved its history into a rich tapestry. It all began with the discovery of Hochelaga (1535) by explorer Jacques Cartier, who observed the presence of aboriginal peoples on the island. It was not until four centuries later that Montréal was propelled onto the world stage at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition.  

In the meantime, the Lachine Canal’s inauguration in 1824 played a key role in the city’s industrialization, while the founding of the Botanical Garden in 1931 provided it with a flourishing sanctuary. Since then, the metropolis has metamorphosed into an ethnic kaleidoscope where a multitude of communities coexist.  

Emblematic homes and streets 

Colourful townhouses in Montréal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal district
Photo: Shutterstock/Catherine Zibo

Typical architecture 

The city features a variety of properties and apartment buildings. Townhouses and plexes are ubiquitous in residential neighbourhoods. There are also a wide range of apartment buildings and condominiums, as well as old warehouses converted into lofts.  

Montréal’s architecture is a blend of styles that evoke both its European past and its North American identity. Its narrow streets are dotted with frescoes and graffiti, not to mention the historic district of Old Montréal, a reminder of French colonial times and British presence. 

Colourful houses, apartments, and staircases in Montréal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal district
Photo: Shutterstock/Catherine Zibo

The Plateau-Mont-Royal district is famous for its colourful townhouses that bear witness to the Victorian influence, while the Brutalist movement has left its mark on some of the city’s buildings, with its imposing concrete structures. And of course, you will find the contemporary style in the business district and downtown.  

Downtown Montréal and modern buildings
Photo: Adobe Stock/mario beauregard

“The specific features of the various sectors each reveal a part of Montréal’s history,” says Charlie Rondeau. Spiral staircases, shoebox houses, cobblestone streets, and emblematic murals are all part of the city’s personality. It’s our urban heritage.”  

Montréal staircases in the Plateau-Mont-Royal district
Photo: Shutterstock/Catherine Zibo

Images of some of Montréal’s architectural gems

Photos: Shutterstock/Awana JF, Shutterstock/Richard Cavalleri, Shutterstock/Vlad G, Shutterstock/BlueSkiesBrownEyes12 and Shutterstock/EQRoy

Olympic Stadium, Plateau-Mont-Royal houses, St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, Montréal’s Convention Centre, Habitat 67 

Regional planning

Winter scene of the sidewalk and shop windows on Crescent Street in Montréal
Photo: Shutterstock/quiggyt4

Montréal’s main arteries include Crescent Street, crowded with restaurants and bars, and St. Laurent Boulevard, known for its art galleries, niche boutiques, and nightlife. As for St. Catherine Street, it’s packed with fashion boutiques and theatres. Looking for hidden gems and trendy cafés? Then Mont-Royal Avenue is the place to be.  

“Neighbourhood life is really great,” remarks Charlie Rondeau, who chose to buy a house in Saint-Michel. Although she loved Plateau Mont Royal and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, she wanted to be closer to her workplace.  

“I’m still getting to know the area. Every corner of the city has its own identity. If you take the time to look around, you’ll find some real treasures. As an added bonus, I’m lucky enough to have a nice yard to garden in and play with my dog! ” she adds.

Local demographics

Montréalers walking on St. Catherine Street near Place des Arts
Photo: Shutterstock/Marc Bruxelle

Montréal’s demographics can best be described as a constantly evolving canvas. Several fundamental characteristics define its social fabric. Here are some examples. 


Ranked as Canada’s second most populated city, Montréal is just behind Toronto in terms of population. At the time of the last census in 2022, it had a population of 2,038,845, counting more women than men.2

Visible minorities 

Montréalers come from many different backgrounds. The French influence remains, to which was added a wide variety of communities, including Italians, Greek, Chinese, Haitian, and many others.  


In Montréal, linguistic diversity is a truly distinguishing feature. In 2021, 486,845 people spoke only French, while 262,290 spoke English, 1,185,020 were bilingual, and 45,860 spoke neither French nor English3—Canada’s two official languages. These statistics reflect the presence of diverse linguistic groups within the metropolis.  

Household income 

According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec,4 Montréal residents earned an average hourly wage of $32.86 in 2023. That same year, the unemployment rate was 7.7%, posing a challenge to the local economy—although the employment rate had reached 61.3% in 2023. As for disposable income per inhabitant, it was estimated at $31,311 in 2021.  

Real estate in Montréal: figures that speak for themselves 

Brightly coloured Montréal townhouses
Photo: Shutterstock/Jane Rix

Many challenges define Montréal’s real estate sector. While affordability remains an issue, a few key trends are shaping the Montréal market this year. For example, we can see that the diversity of Montréal neighbourhoods plays a vital role in price variations, and that population growth can trigger increased demand for housing.  

Occupancy (renter or owner)  

Montréal continues to attract people. The city’s charm lies in its culture and dynamism. Yet this is the place where the fewest respondents to the EspaceProprio survey have bought, sold, or renovated a property in the past two years5. People are more likely to stay in their current homes. This is due to several factors, including real estate prices, influenced by the Bank of Canada’s prime lending rate, and the local economy.  

Some 63.6% of Montréal residents who took part in the population census conducted by Statistics Canada (2021) are renters, while 36.4% are homeowners. 

Originally from the Saguenay region, David Ostigny has a rich real estate history. Nine years ago, he acquired his fourth property since moving to Montréal. “I lived in Angrignon, had two condominiums in Rosemont-Petite-Patrie, then finally settled in Pointe-Saint-Charles,” he explains. “I've seen my neighbourhood transform, attracting young families and reflecting the revitalization that's underway everywhere in the city.” 


Montréalers report a satisfaction rate of 7.3 out of 10 with their homes.6 But what are their aspirations and the factors that could contribute to improving their quality of life? 

Montréalers are looking for peace and quiet in their homes, access to a larger area, and an affordable price for their next investment.   

Overall, 30% want more peace and quiet in their daily lives. Nearly a quarter of Montréalers (28%) surveyed by EspaceProprio7 share the need for a more spacious living space, a result that highlights the importance of comfort in their choice of living environment. It just goes to show how the design of our cocoon can have a real impact on our level of happiness! 

What’s more, 25% of Montréalers feel that affordability is an essential consideration for their future home.8 This underscores the need to find financially accessible solutions for acquiring a home in a city where the cost of living can be an issue. With this in mind, below are the median sales prices of residences in Montréal in 2022: 

Choosing your city and your future home 

Moving to a new city is an important decision in anyone’s life. It has a huge impact on your daily life, professional career, and general well-being. Could Montréal be right for you? And above all, will you find the right home for your needs? 

Why settle in Montréal? 

Entrance to the Square Victoria metro station in Montréal
Photo: Shutterstock/Marc Bruxelle

Let’s take a closer look at five good reasons to choose Montréal as your place of residence: 

Life balance 

Montréal offers a great work-life balance. The public transportation network makes it easy to get around. The wide variety of activities and leisure facilities can help improve residents’ well-being. 

“At 42, I see my adopted city as a dynamic place to bring up my son,” says David Ostigny. “Montréal is incredibly diverse in all respects. My son meets a wide range of people and has varied experiences, which provides him with rich development opportunities. He has access to a multitude of activities, such as park outings or bike rides on the nearby cycle paths. As a young sports enthusiast, he's spoiled,” he continues. 

Educational institutions 

Montréal offers a rich and stimulating education system. Many universities and colleges offer quality programs in various fields of study. Consider for example the McGill and Concordia campuses, or HEC Montréal. This is one of the reasons why so many young people are attracted to the city, looking to pursue their education in an environment conducive to learning.  

Professional opportunities 

A wide range of career opportunities are available in sectors such as technology, science, engineering, the arts, finance, aerospace, and many more. Talent from all over the world converges on Montréal, where there are tremendous opportunities for advancement. 

Economic vitality 

Attention creative minds! Montréal fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Thanks to the many cutting-edge research centres, incubators and accelerators, many start-ups emerge from within the city, contributing to its economic growth. 

Cultural diversity 

Montréal’s diverse communities are reflected in its neighbourhoods, daily life, cuisine, and festivals. The result is a nurturing environment where residents learn and grow through contact with others.  

Aline Pinxteren, Director of Marketing, Communications and Visitor Experience at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, talks about her attachment to the city. For the European-born Pinxteren, the metropolis is more than just a French-speaking city with a reassuring sense of security - it's also a place where the quality of life is tangible. 

“I find harmony in this typically North American vitality,” explains Aline Pinxteren, who has lived in Montréal for over 15 years. “The free festivals, how easy it is to get around without a car, and the cultural richness are all elements that influenced my decision to return to Montréal after moving back to Belgium for a few years,” she confides with conviction. 

5 Montréal neighbourhoods to consider 

Each of Montréal’s neighbourhoods has its own identity and distinctive vibe. Here are five for you to think about. It’s quite possible that one of them has everything you’re looking for! 


Houses with old bricks and gables in Montréal’s Outremont District
Photo: Shutterstock/Spiroview Inc

Renowned for its streets lined with century-old trees, its historic homes and its peaceful atmosphere, Outremont is well worth a visit. Its elegantly detailed homes mainly attract a wealthy population. 

It’s the perfect neighbourhood if you’re looking for peace and quiet, but still want to stay close to the amenities. Laurier Ouest and Bernard avenues are teeming with shops and restaurants. Here you’ll find cafés, fabulous local boutiques, and cultural venues such as the Théâtre Outremont. Saint-Viateur, Outremont, and Beaubien parks offer green spaces to relax in, as does nearby Mount Royal Park. 


Inside Montréal’s Jean Talon market
Photo: Shutterstock/Songquan Deng

If you’re looking for more action, head for Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie. This neighbourhood is home to the Jean-Talon public market, one of the largest in North America, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, and parks. 

Rosemont and Beaubien metro stations are nearby, and several bus lines serve the area. When it comes to real estate, it’s mainly rental apartments that take precedence. 

In choosing to settle in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Aline Pinxteren opted for an authentic Montréal lifestyle. Owner of a duplex in this dynamic neighborhood, she finds happiness in the heart of her favourite local shops (bakery, butcher's and microbreweries). She even points out that access to outdoor pools is free here! 


Université de Montréal in the Côte-des-Neiges district of Quebec’s largest metropolis
Photo: Shutterstock/Kiev.Victor

If you plan to move to Montréal to pursue your studies, consider the following: Côte-des-Neiges, located near the Université de Montréal and the Collège Notre-Dame among others. Multiculturalism and gourmet discoveries are the order of the day! Access to public transit is also an advantage, with several metro stations (blue line and orange line) and some twenty bus lines in the neighbourhood. 


Mural of jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson in Montréal’s Saint-Henri district
Photo: Ville de Montréal/Gene Pendon

As a former industrial district, you could say that Saint-Henri is one of the hippest! The Lachine Canal and Atwater Market are its major assets. It’s also home to some amazing art galleries, including The Letter Bet. And did you know that it’s the birthplace of famed Canadian jazz pianist and composer Oscar Peterson? You can catch a glimpse of him on the mural at 1847 Elgin Terrace.  

On the residential side, you’ll find a mix of renovated industrial lofts, modern condo complexes, and traditional triplexes. Essentially, the architecture reflects a working-class past and a recent revival, which may suit several types of owners. 


Wellington Street in Verdun, Montréal
Photo: Réseau Art Actuel

Located along the St. Lawrence River, this area is famous for its quality of life, with a pedestrian-friendly street in the summer, bike paths and riverside parks—the Honourable-George-O’Reilly and Quai-de-la-Tortue, for example. 

Verdun’s real estate market is quite varied and includes condominiums, single-family homes, and plexes. All of which are great options if you’re planning to become a homeowner. The neighbourhood also abounds in public art and murals.  

Charlie Rondeau is eager to point out all the advantages of neighbourhood life. “In Montréal, back alleys are action-packed! Whether it’s neighbour parties, community gardening or special event initiatives, it’s great to be able to get involved. The cultural and sports facilities (skating rinks, libraries, and pools) appeal to just about everyone.” 

Discover properties for sale in Montréal 

The real estate market in Montréal is thriving, with a considerable number of houses, condominiums, and plexes available for purchase. The DuProprio website lists countless of these homes, with filters to facilitate the search process for current and future homeowners. Discover these rare gems on sale now!  

Properties for sale in Montréal 

Where to have fun in Montréal?  

The big city has no shortage of unique and lively places to go. In fact, Montréalers tend to go out more often than Quebecers from any other region.9 It’s easy to see why when you explore the following locations. Mandatory stops! 

Culture and arts 

Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica in summer
Photo: Adobe Stock/TOimages
  • A veritable neo-Gothic gem, the Basilica charms with its imposing architecture and stained-glass windows: the Notre-Dame de Montréal Basilica. This iconic site offers a variety of classical music concerts, from string quartets to sound and light shows.  
  • With a rich collection ranging from ancient art to contemporary works, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is a showcase for artistic creativity in all its forms.  
  • Founded in 1964, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal houses a magnificent collection of works. It also offers temporary exhibitions highlighting emerging and established artists, as well as educational activities. With its modern architecture and luminous spaces, the place is sure to inspire! A genuine showcase of artistic know-how that encourages dialogue and the sharing of ideas, according to Aline Pinxteren. 
  • In the heart of Montréal (more specifically, on St. Catherine Street West) lies the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM), where a captivating program awaits you. 
  • If you want to visit a place dedicated to Montréal’s history and archaeological heritage, the Pointe-à-Callière Museum is the place to go. On-site the Bistro L’Arrivage offers a breathtaking view of the river and, of course, great food. 

Gourmet destinations

Vintage car and large orange sphere from Gibeau Orange Julep
Photo: Shutterstock/Anne Richard
  • A wide selection of fresh produce (local and international), a lively atmosphere, gathering places to consider when visiting the city… We are referring, of course, to the Jean-Talon and Atwater markets. A must-see for immersive gastronomic experiences. 
  • When it comes to fine dining, the restaurant Au pied de cochon is the place to be. Renowned for its hearty dishes, it brilliantly showcases Quebec cuisine. 
  • The huge orange sphere-shaped structure near the Décarie highway is the Gibeau Orange Julep. Besides fast-food classics, it’s been serving the famous refreshing beverage (made from orange juice) since 1947! 
  • Schwartz’s Deli is a cult diner for which Montréal is famous. Established in 1928, it is famous for its smoked meat sandwiches.  
  • Another symbol of Montréal’s culinary culture is the St. Viateur Bagel. Its authentic bagels have been baked in a wood-fired oven for over 65 years, attracting thousands of tourists and loyal regulars every year. The restaurant now has several locations across the city   

Recreation and outdoor activities 

Montréal Botanical Garden
Photo: Adobe Stock/pierrick
  • The Mount Royal Park, described as the lungs of the city, is an urban oasis. It was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, also renowned for his work on Central Park! The panoramic view from the summit is breathtaking. The trails running through the park are perfect for a variety of sports, summer and winter alike. 
  • With its five distinctive museums, the Space for Life museum complex showcases biodiversity and the natural sciences. It includes the Biosphère, the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Jardin botanique, and the Planétarium. 
  • The amusement park La Ronde on Île Sainte-Hélène is a popular destination for families. Shows, roller coasters, and the International des feux Loto-Québec fireworks provide thrills and memorable moments. 

Events and festivals 

Crowds in Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles near Place des Arts
Photo: Shutterstock/Marc Bruxelle
  • Best known as the main site for the international de jazz de Montréal, the Quartier des spectacles hosts many musical, artistic, and cultural events. At the heart of it is the Esplanade Tranquille, which comes alive with shows but also offers moments of relaxation. Take a break (and a coffee), have a snack or go skating… there’s no shortage of options! 
  • Last but not least: Parc Jean-Drapeau. It includes attractions such as the Biosphère, Jean-Doré beach, and the Gilles-Villeneuve racetrack. It’s a great place to take a stroll and, above all, to enjoy the many events taking place. These include Osheaga a summer music festival that hosts internationally renowned artists and thousands of fans. Montréal’s Fête des Neiges transforms the park into a family destination where skating and tubing are all the rage. 

The love of the city remains

According to EspaceProprio’s Well-being at home survey (2024), 78% of Montréalers are connected to their city of residence.  

“What I love most about Montréal is its soul,” enthuses Charlie Rondeau, who adopted this city 20 years ago. “It’s easy to feel at home here. It’s a welcoming, open, and accessible metropolis. Plus, the cultural diversity is impressive and ever-growing—from museums to festivals, special events, concerts, comedy shows, ballets, and so much more!” she exclaims. 


1 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74. 
2 GOVERNMENT OF QUEBEC, INSTITUT DE LA STATISTIQUE DU QUÉBEC. "Main indicators on Quebec and its regions", [Online], [https://statistique.quebec.ca/en/vitrine/region/06] (Accessed on May 16th 2024). 
3 STATISTICS CANADA, 2021 CENSUS. "Montréal en statistiques [Online], [https://ville.Montréal.qc.ca/portal/page?_pageid=6897,67887637&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL] (Accessed on May 16th 2024). 
4 GOVERNMENT OF QUÉBEC, INSTITUT DE LA STATISTIQUE DU QUÉBEC. "Main indicators on Quebec and its regions", [Online], [https://statistique.quebec.ca/en/vitrine/region/06] (Accessed on May 16th 2024).
5 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74. 
6 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74. 
7 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74. 
8 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74. 
9 Based on a web panel survey conducted by Ad hoc Recherche from December 4 to 13, 2023 on behalf of EspaceProprio, among 2,014 Quebecers aged 18 to 74.