Montreal Guide

The new Desautels Montreal Guide is designed to help people new to the city get settled in and feel at home. Learn about some quick facts and must-do’s, landmarks and museums, and much more. Explore the city with us and learn what makes Montreal so unique.

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A unique experience

Offering a true joie de vivre, living in Montreal is a unique experience halfway between North America and Europe.

Photo: Downtown Montréal from parc du mont Royal, Copyright Tourisme Montréal

Most reputable city

Montreal is Canada's most reputable city, #10 in the World - Reputation Institute 2018

Photo: McGill College Avenue, Copyright MTOQ, Cécile Benoit


QS Best Student Cities 2017-18 ranks Montreal as the Best Student City in North America.

Photo: Old Port of Montréal, Copyright Old Port of Montréal Corporation Inc., A.P.E.S.


Montreal is made for walking... and cycling! It is #1 in North America for Bicycle Friendly City (Copenhagenize 2017).

Photo: Family scenes in Montréal, Copyright Tourisme Montréal, Shanti Loiselle

Living in Montreal

With its sociable joie de vivre and high quality of life, Montreal is a top pick for students, researchers and businesses. The low cost of living and doing business here, along with a multilingual, dynamic culture make it one of the most enjoyable and well-connected urban centres in North America.

Montreal is the most bilingual and trilingual metropolitan area in Canada. A UNESCO City of Design since 2006, Montreal is still twice as affordable as other international cities in North America and Europe, with the most competitive housing costs of all the major Canadian cities and the best domestic purchasing power in the country (and third best in North America). Government-funded health care and free public primary and secondary education contribute to making the cost of living here 40% lower than other metropolitan cities.

Businesses are drawn to Montreal as opportunities in high-tech continue to grow. Of the 20 largest metropolitan areas in Canada and the US, Montreal has the highest rate of growth.

Montreal attracts innovators. Its strategic location on the east coast (Boston and New York City are just a 60-minute flight from Montreal), low annual operation costs, tax incentives and an ever-growing talent pool draw industry leaders here. Montreal is an international leader in AI and new media (in particular video games, immersive environments, and virtual and augmented reality). In fact, Montréal’s startup ecosystem has grown considerably in the past few years in different areas of the city with the creation of four new hubs: Fintech, Creative, AI, and Life Sciences.

Hip. Innovative. Creative. Dynamic. Montreal’s dynamism shines through its diverse, accessible neighbourhoods and popular festivals and events. Long standing annual events such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the International Fireworks Competition, the Rogers Cup and Formula 1 races have been joined by events such as the Montreal Startupfest and Montreal C2, which invite business communities to network and collaborate in new and entertaining ways. More on >

Montreal enjoys worldwide recognition

6th Best Student City in the World, #1 in North America

QS Best Student Cities 2019

Data Centre location of the Year

2019 Datacloud Global Awards

Top Host City in North America for International Association Events

Union of International Associations (UIA), 2018 & 2017

4th best city in North America for quality of life

2018 Mercer Survey

Canada's most reputable city, #10 in the World

Reputation Institute, 2018

4th Best Student City in the World, #1 in North America

QS Best Student Cities 2018

2nd Best City in the World for Millennials

Nestpick, 2018

2nd Global Artificial Intelligence Hub and hosts the largest, most prestigious group of deep learning researchers in the world with many working at McGill University.

Becoming Human: AI Artificial Intelligence Magazine, 2017

#1 in the Americas for affordable tuition rates and #1 in the world for international students

QS Top Universities 2017 Ranking

#1 in North America for Bicycle Friendly City

Copenhagenize Bicycle Friendly Cities Index 2017

One of the top 20 High-Tech Cities in the World

World Economic Forum, 2017

Smart Cities Award

Fédération internationale de l’automobile (FIA), 2017

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated: 2020/03/26

In accordance with the Quebec government’s latest directive, McGill University will remain closed until further notice, except for necessary activities. Your program office is still available to support you during this time. Should you have any questions or concerns, you may email your program office directly.

Please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page for the latest information.

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