Montreal or Vancouver?????

Apr 19th, 2005, 06:41 PM
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Montreal or Vancouver?????

Im wanting to take a trip this sumemr to the great white north and want to know which city was cooler for a first time. I currently live in LA and vancouver would be a few hundred cheaper in terms of flight, so that is a big selling point.

Im poor, so Ill be staying in hostels. I like exploring cities, doing picnics, going to bars and all that. Please only reply if you have experienced both. Thanks
Davidko19 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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It totally depends what you'd find as cooler. Vancouver and Montreal are about as two totally different cities as you can get. Think of Vancouver like Canada's San Francisco, and then think of Montreal like Canada's New York... except, French. What do you think would appeal to you more?
Carmanah is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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Hard to say since I have never been to SF. I like NY cause there is a lot to do there, but san fran has that natural beauty Im guessing.

i know its like comparing apples and oranges, but what are like the major likenesses and differences between the two besides weather and french influence? I just want something cheap, fun, educational and excititng.
Davidko19 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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Go to Montreeal. It's a whole different world from LA, and vastly different from Vancouver, too. Vancouver is sort of LA-ish,so if budget matters, get the most from the difference.

BAK is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 12:30 PM
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Montreal as Canada's New York?? I'd say Canada's Boston, perhaps.
laverendrye is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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I have been to both cities, but never to hostels in either.

IF you have never been to Canada at all, then don't hesitate to make Vancouver your choice. It is still "foreign" in an American sort of way, the hostel situation will be much more familiar to you being english, and west-coast-ern, and Vancouver is fairly compact and reasonably flat despite a booming population that is threatening to make it burst at the seams.

Save yourself the money and still get the experience of a (quote) foreign (end quote) country while heading to Vancouver.

Montreal is largely flat, but it sprawls out much more, requiring a good deal more transportation from place to place.

The Vancouver bar scene, in Gastown, is significantly compact and you'll have plenty of fun exploring that neighborhood after dark.

Oh, depending upon what time you go, you may be stunned at how long it stays light out in Vancouver. Sun can still be out near 10:00pm.

Last year I was in San Diego when it was pitch dark at 8:15 near the end of July, then I went to Vancouver a week or two later and saw it light out at 9:30pm.

Vancouver has mountains and water in significant amounts very close by, and while Montreal sits on an island, it doesn't have the mountainous backdrop which Vancouver offers.

I've been to both and it sounds like Vancouver is a better option for you, for many reasons.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Apr 20th, 2005, 06:43 PM
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Both cities are extremely cosmopolitan but while Vancouver has a definate Asian flavour Montreal is very, very French Moderne.

Vancouver is much more scenic with hundreds of outdoors things to do - sandy beaches, dense urban forests, mile high mountains and tranquile islands all within a few minutes of a hectic city of well over two million. As I said - our cultural patina is Asian in an overwhelminly European/North American urban setting. There are rich Italian, Greek, Persian, East Indian, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Japanese, and dozens of overwhelmingly Chinese neighbourhoods where you can browze the shops and cultures of those groups. Chinese and other Asian restaurants are everywhere and amazingly reasonable in most cases. There is also excellant West Coast Cuisine as well as lots of great ethnic and continental restaurants but mostly they are more expensive if they're any good. As I said - Chinese is almost everywhere but even with the ubiquitous Chinese signage there is no doubt that the lingua franca is English so no matter where you go in the city you will have no trouble communicating.

Other than both cities being cosmopolitan Montreal is very different from Vancouver. Almost 70% of the city is French while the Jewish, Italian, North African, Haitian, Latino and Anglo communities are mostly congregated in the centre and west side of the city. The night life of Montreal is definately more highly developed and frenetic than Vancouver's, (not that Vancouver is dead at night - far from it), The French and Jewish cuisine, (Montreal smoked meat is the world's best), is unbeatable outside France or New york. But the city's setting totally pales compared to Vancouver. Mind you almost every city in the world suffers when compared to Vancovuer's Natural beauty. Montreal's east end is overwhelmingly French and unless you speak the language you could find it difficult to communicate. Most of Montreal's French population can speak fair to excellant English however.

I would agree with some of the posters above that considering that you're on a budget Vancouver would be the better choice from LA but Montreal would certainly not be a bad choice.

GaryA is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 04:15 AM
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I grew up in Vancouver, then moved to Montreal (now in Quebec City). One of the things I love about Montreal is the character of its many distinct neighbourhoods. If you like urban exploration on foot then there is no comparison between the two cities. As BAK said, Montreal will offer you sights and sounds that you will not have seen or heard in LA, or anywhere else in N.A. for that matter. If you get tired of walking there is a great, cheap Metro system. Montreal has a real energy and "soul" and a truly spectacular bar and nightlife scene, and people are more concious of style and fashion (without being snobs about it at all). Another Montreal plus are the remarkable festivals that take place all summer - especially the Jazz Festival in early July - lots of free shows. It's one of the greatest in the world. It may cost you more to get to Montreal, but once there you will find life much less expensive. Plus you get to try to speak french! Last cool thing about Montreal - it's okay to be a starving artist - there is a much wider acceptance of different types of people and ideas, in my experience. I agree with all the above opinions on Vancouver - natural beauty, fantastic restaurants, asian influence - it's a much, much prettier city.
My conclusion - if you want a nature/beach/close to home/ vacation in a clean (mostly!)beautiful city close to home - choose Van. If you want an urban adventure in a new setting that will be different from what you know, choose Mtl.
Have a great trip!
gdm is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 08:04 AM
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My opinions - Vancouver is very scenic, nature-oriented, great picnicking (Stanley Park on the edge of downtown is world-famous, also beaches along the town shoreline), compact downtown for easy exploration by foot. Nearby: lots of nature, spectacular mountains, temperate rain forests and even wilderness within day-tripping distance (e.g. Vancouver Island or Provincial Parks in the interior). Great seafood. Lots of good restaurants. Climate is very moderate - pleasant summers, relatively mild winters. Vancouver does get lots of rain. Summer less so than other seasons. I haven't much explored the bar scene in this city.

Montreal is somewhat bigger (but nowhere near NY size!), older, known for good shopping, great French dining and night-life (bars, jazz clubs). Picnicking "may" be possible in City Parks (and maybe along the St. Lawrence River on outskirts of town, but it's not nearly as scenic and nature oriented as Vancouver. Montreal has cold snowy winters, mid summer can be quite hot and humid. Downtown area is a mix of French and English - lots of tourists speak English only and this presents no problems (although traffic signs are in French throughout the province).
Apr 21st, 2005, 11:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Wow, lots of great information. Thanks to everyone and keep it coming.

So what would be the best time to go to either city? I just graduated college and entered the working world, therefore I only have a few days off I can take(namely holidays) I checked for the 4th of July and Memorial Day weekends but the rates out of LA are pretty pricey, even flights to seattle are pricey. So what is the down season, but still has a lot going on? Late August or September is what I was thinking.
Davidko19 is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 12:11 PM
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Late August or September is fine in both cities. Vancouver is at it's best weather wise from mid-July to mid-August when there is only a one in 20 chance of rain but up to the end of September the odds of rainy weather are still pretty slim. Montreal tends to have a lot of Thunderstorms with torrential one or two hour rain storms throughout the summer but less so in September when the nights become decidedly cooler while the days are still quite warm.
GaryA is offline  

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