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Montreal City Guide

By Chris Wyatt


Montreal is the trendy Canadian city that hasn’t forgotten its cultural heritage.

The second largest and most populous city in the country after Toronto, Montreal has plenty to offer families and individuals looking to relocate. Its distinct neighbourhoods and innovative gastronomy add to Montreal’s cosmopolitan charm.

Things you didn’t know about Montreal

While many people in Montreal speak English, the official language is French, though the dialect, which harks back to the 19th Century, may not sound much like French to Europeans. You can definitely get by with English and a few French words, like poutine, salut and hockey. To really communicate with the locals, just learn some of the Habs’ players names, as Montreal is the ice hockey capital of the world.

Montreal is one of 200 islands in the Hochelaga Archipelago, giving it unique geography and leisure opportunities. The city’s own answer to Central Park - Mount Royal Park - was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who was also responsible for the NYC equivalent.


Montreal’s housing stock is made up of a diverse selection of property types. From detached, attached and semi-detached houses to apartments, duplexes and condos, there are plenty of options to suit different needs.

There are opportunities to both buy and rent. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the historic district of Old Montreal is approx. £1,412. This neighbourhood is well suited to young professionals, but those with families may wish to look to areas such as Ahuntsic-Cartierville instead.

Little Italy boasts some of the lowest rents in Montreal, while bargains can still be found in Plateau-Mont-Royal and Mile End, despite a certain amount of gentrification having occurred in the latter.

Renting a flat or house in or around Montreal

When deciding where to live in Montreal, it’s worth remembering that as a general rule anglophone neighbourhoods can be found to the west of the island, while francophone boroughs are on the east.

A quirk of renting in Montreal is that apartments are advertised by the total number of rooms they have as opposed to bedrooms, and bathrooms count as a half. So, a studio apartment will be described as a one and a half-room apartment, while one with three bedrooms is a five-and-a-half.

Buying a home in or around Montreal

A single family home currently costs around £315,000, but opting for something like a condo can be more affordable with the average price at present standing at £224,000.

Visa requirements

British nationals need a Canadian work visa to be employed in the country and these come in various different forms. You will need to seek a Canada work permit or post-graduation work permit depending on your qualifications and the type of role you’ll be performing. You can find out more about visas from the UK Gov website here.

EU citizens may be able to apply for the CETA visa, which is an EU-Canada agreement that facilitates entry to Canada for certain business visitors, investors, intra-company transferees, service providers, and independent professionals. Find out more here.

Cost of living in Montreal

It’s 37.5% cheaper to live in Montreal than London, with a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant coming in at £59. A loaf of bread in London costing £2.27 is priced at £1.27 in Montreal.

Salaries in Montreal

The average salary in Montreal is around £30,000, while a software engineer can expect to bring in between £50,000 - £65,000.

Specifically, Signal Processing and Machine Learning developers and engineers can expect to earn in the region of: 

<5 years exp.                          £50-100,000

5-10 years exp.                      £80,000+

10+ years exp.                       £110,000+

15+ years exp.                       £130,000+    

Commuting and public transport around Montreal

Montreal boasts an integrated public transport network with a metro system at its heart. This subway network is based around four lines and connects to bus stops and train stations, running from 5am to 1am daily and to 1.30am on Saturdays.

The average wait time between services is eight minutes, but this is decreased to three minutes during rush hour. Most workers in Montreal have a commute of less than 30 minutes.


There are both state and private schools in Montreal, with compulsory attendance starting at six and extending until children are at least 16. Schooling is usually conducted in French, meaning some expats prefer to send their offspring to English-speaking private schools.

Kindergarten from age four is available, before elementary and secondary schooling begins.

Global companies in Montreal

There are a number of international tech companies with a large presence in Montreal. Among them are Amazon, IBM, Apple, Google Microsoft, CISCO and Dell.  Software giants such as Ubisoft, Gameloft,  GSoft, SAP, Nuance, Shopify also call Montreal home.

Out of office

There’s no shortage of ways to spend time away from the office in Montreal. This eclectic city offers a selection of tourist sites, colourful murals, exciting gastronomy and natural beauty. It’s possible to enjoy everything from high-end shopping to winter sports in the local mountains.

Some recommended sights to visit are: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Biosphere, Centaur Theatre, La Grande Roue, The Underground City and Parc Rene-Levesque

Local delicacy

Moving to Montreal means one thing for foodies - smoked meat. Decide how you prefer to have this local dish of brined and seasoned brisket, perhaps in a sandwich or with a portion of poutine on the side. Among the best places to try the delicacy are Jarry Smoked Meat, which has been serving it up since 1974, and the family-owned Lester's Deli.

I am currently looking for talented algorithm engineers to relocate to Montreal, if you (or someone you know) are interested in finding out more, please contact me Chris Wyatt at or call me on +44(0)118 988 1141.