514 vs The 6ix: 15 the reason why Montreal is healthier than Toronto
Who doesn’t love a good rivalry?
Pepsi vs Coca-Cola, Tesla vs Edison, Apple vs Android, Marvel vs DC, and of course, Montreal vs Toronto.
Montreal and Toronto have both taken turns being the largest city in Canada. Montreal was initially at the top of the population game in Canada. In the 1970s and ’80s, however, the rise of the sovereignty movement and language laws caused a substantial dip in Montreal’s population.
In the ’90s, Toronto became a megacity by merging Metropolitan Toronto’s six cities into one which now results in the 6ix being the country’s most populated city.
Across Canada, Toronto and Montreal rank as the top two most populous cities, respectively, and thanks to both cities’ proximity, a friendly rivalry has emerged.
There’s the obvious strive between Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs fans that has been ongoing for decades but today, we’re going to take a firm stance.
For example, you can keep Drake, we have Celine…
Like a longtime Montreal mayor once said, “Let Toronto become Milan. Montreal will always be Rome.”
In no particular order, here are 15 reasons why Montreal is better than Toronto.
1. Our city is less expensive
Rent and housing in Montreal are considerably less expensive than in Toronto. Consider that the medium price for buying a house in Montreal is half of what it is in Toronto. Similarly, apartment rent averages are $500 cheaper here than it is in the 6ix.
Plus, think about it this way: if you live in Montreal you don’t live in Toronto.
2. Our nightlife scene is better
Ontario does last call at 1:45 am? Montreal is barely a shot at that point.
Quebec does last call at 2:45 am and it’s not uncommon for patrons to only get ushered out at 3:15, sometimes 3:30 am in Montreal…
Do you want us to warm up your bottle of milk, TO?
3. Our food scene is better
Sorry Toronto, there’s no debate here. Montreal’s food scene is even the best in the country. Period.
4. Our multilingualism is top notch
Montreal is the most bilingual city in Canada with well over half of its population speaking both French and English.
There’s also a significant percentage of Montrealers who speak four languages. The city has impressive portions of Chinese, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Haitian immigrants.
5. You can pretty much teleport to Europe
Arguably the city’s best destination for tourists and locals, the Old Port is a relic of Montreal of old. Its cobblestone streets make you feel like you’re in Europe, you’re right near the water, and there are enough charming shops and renowned restaurants to get lost in.
6. We have bike paths galore
Forget driving and the high gas prices, the Montreal metropolitan area has more than 500 kilometers of bike paths. With more added each year and sectioned off paths used exclusively for cyclists, you can get anywhere from anywhere on two wheels in the city.
Even off the island!
7. Restaurant staff drinks with customers
Apart from the late-night life (see above), wait staff and bartenders in Montreal are encouraged to drink and socialize with customers.
Buy bar and restaurant staff a shot and you might be rewarded forever.
You won’t hear too many, “Oh, not for me today, thanks,” like you do in the service industry in some places (ahem, Toronto).
8. Our architecture is more diverse
Because Montreal is so much older, it has a mix of pre-war triplexes, retro duplexes, walk-up apartments, spiral cast-iron staircases, and a mix of modern houses and condos.
Toronto’s architecture feels too conventional with all those concrete skyscrapers.
9. Our festival season is unmatched
Come springtime, festival season rolls around and it doesn’t stop. In succession, it goes Fireworks Festival, Grand Prix, Jazz Fest, Just For Laughs, Mural Fest, Osheaga, Fantasia, many of which overlap each other.
You can’t beat it.
10. Montreal is much older (in a good way)
Sure, Toronto has enjoyed what three decades of prominence?
Montreal was founded in 1642 and has kept much of its historic design since its growth. The city has an intangible type of traditional charm that you simply have to witness to feel.
Montreal ages like a fine wine.
11. We’re surrounded by water
And not just any water, Montreal is surrounded by the historic Saint Lawrence River. Once a vital geographic and economic feature of the island, Montreal has breathtaking views of the river or you can ride the rapids, fish, paddleboat, or use it as a perfect backdrop for a run.
12. Park it like it’s hot
From Mont Royal to Parc LaFontaine, Jarry, Maisonneuve, Angrignon, Jeanne-Mance, Outremont, Westmount, and NDG (to name a few), Montreal’s true heart is its green space.
You can’t get far without bumping into a perfectly relaxing park, full of benches, trees, dog parks, and happy people.
13. Our compactness is perfect
Urban planners in Montreal have made efforts over the past few decades to concentrate its population close to its public services while it seems like Toronto continues to grow uncontrollably.
You’re never too far away from anything in Montreal and its compactness is something you might only start to realize as soon as you finish this sentence…
14. Our public transit network is huge
Montreal’s public transit network is huge. Coupled with its compactness, you can get around the island quite easily and for relatively cheap.
Between the bus lines and the interconnected metro network, the STM (Société de transport de Montréal) has emerged as one of the most useful transit networks in all of North America.
15. Public markets
Forget big chain grocery stores, Montreal has two spectacular public markets where you can good products while supporting local producers.
Spend your weekend at either Atwater Market or Jean-Talon Market and you may never set foot into an IGA ever again…
The Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups in their history — the most in the history of the National Hockey League.
Do you know what a Stanley Cup is, Toronto? Sit down, we’ll explain…
Here’s how our team in Toronto thought the opposite and their own 15 reasons why they think their city is better than Montreal.
What do you think? Which popular Canadian city edges out the other?