Montreal vs. Toronto

Old Jul 30th, 2002, 01:34 PM
Tom Baker
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Montreal vs. Toronto

My wife has expressed an interest in Montreal, but a few people have suggested Toronto instead. What would be the relative merits of one over the other?

Old Jul 30th, 2002, 02:03 PM
Brian Kilgore
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The merits depend in many ways on where you are coming from, and what you like in a vaction destination.

Assuming you are coming from some USA city other than New York or Chicago ...

Montreal is, in many ways, like going to a foreign. Old European-like buildings, a differennt language, more historical sites / sights to see.

It's more fashionable; the peole are better dressed, the restaurnts are a bit fancier, the food is a bit better, dollar for dollar, and there's a mountain in themiddle of town.

Toronto is more like NY or Chicago, easier to navigate because it is mostly in English. While Montreal has several cultures in addition to English and French, Toronto has even more well-defined multicultural areas.

Toronto restaurants are great too, although children are banned from most sidewalk cafes and patios.

Toronto has more understandable attractions, unless you know French. In Montreal, you look, sort of, and in Toronto, you discuss, sort of.

I live in Toronto, used to commute to Montreal.

I'd recommend Montreal as the more interesting destination for a sophiosticated traveller who wanted to experience different ways of living and working and looking at things.

Driving? Go to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

Toronto won't disappoint if you decide against Montreal, though.

I'm about to leave my office and go to a $5 outdoor opera performance headlined by a top singer. Not bad.

Old Jul 31st, 2002, 07:19 AM
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Tom, I agree with Brian re difference between Montreal & Toronto.

You don't mention where you're from. If you're from a big city like NY or Chicago, you'll find Toronto kind of similar.

Montreal has more of a cosmopolitan European vibe to it and Old Montreal is fun. It's nice hearing French spoken there but I also never had a problem with people understanding my English.

If you provide more details on what you're looking for, you'll probably get more responses.
Old Jul 31st, 2002, 06:06 PM
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Well, if your wife has suggested she wants to go to Montreal, you should take her. Montreal has reputation as being a very romantic lovely city because of the French style products and the parks. She probably wants to experience that and window shop which is a real treat. You could go to Quebec City instead which is more romantic, and not as busy and then you could spend time in Toronto after that. I believe there is a train between the two cities.
Old Aug 1st, 2002, 12:19 PM
Anna Lemaire
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We've been to both cities and if you are traveling as a couple you may like Montreal better. After two days in Montreal I mentioned to my husband that I didn't see any children. So if you are looking for a more adult atmosphere, Montreal is for you. Do not miss the Basillica. It is gorgeous. However, if you are looking for a more fun atmosphere Toronto is for you. The zoo is absolutely "wicked awesome" as my children say, watching a Blue Jays game is a must and Canada's Wonderland is a blast. They speak english more in Toronto than in Montreal, so if you want to make sure you understand everything maybe you should try that first and then Montreal to see which city fits your needs. Good luck!
Old Aug 1st, 2002, 12:30 PM
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I've visited family in both cities and it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. You might not see too many kids, but when I was there with my son when he was a baby, every store clerk gushed over him and treated us like royalty. I also found at that time, that Montreal is not very accessible; although you really can't compare a stroller with a wheelchair, the metro and storefronts all had stairs to climb. The part that surprised me most, however, is how people volunteered to help me carry the stroller -- and I didn't even have to ask!

For kids, there's always La Ronde Amusement Park. In the winter, skating at the Old Port.

Beyond that, if you like to shop, Quebec has no provincial sales tax on clothing -- at least it didn't when I use to visit. That saves you 7 or 8%. And you gotta love the BYOB restaurants!

And language was never a problem. I wish I could switch back and forth between two languages so easily!
Old Aug 1st, 2002, 12:34 PM
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Laura: Unfortunately, the sales tax on clothing returned quite a while ago.
Old Aug 2nd, 2002, 07:02 AM
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Thanks for the update; it's been about 7 years since I've been to Montreal, although I was there every year for 12 years previous. I'm sure I'm a bit out of touch...
Old Aug 2nd, 2002, 07:50 AM
juan ulloa
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I'm in a limb here, trying to decide whether to go Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver... Which city would be the most interesting for a four day trip?
Old Aug 2nd, 2002, 01:47 PM
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Children banned from outdoor patios in Toronto?

Grab yourself adose of real life matey.
Old Aug 2nd, 2002, 02:03 PM
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Both cities are great and are different. On balance, Toronto has more things to do and is more varied. Montreal has a European view - so it is better for strolling, shopping and eating European. Toronto has more ethnic neighbourhoods and more varied restaurants.

On the issue of explanation is warranted...Toronto has implemented a no-smoking bylaw on all restaurants unless the restuarnt has an enclosed smoking section with its own ventilation system, which very few have done. As part of a transition plan, "bars" are allowed to have smoking and non-smoking sections for, I think, another 2 years after which they will all go non-smoking. Resturants can declare themselves to be "bars" which allows them to have a smoking section BUT children are not allowed in "bars". Rules extend to patios. So, depending on your point of view, this is good or bad. My own view - all establishments s/b non-smoking; scrap the transition; most smokers are now used to stepping outside for a smoke; its creating silling contrasts. As a parent and a frequent patron of resturants, I am evolving to the view of not going to "bars" which are really restaurants.
Old Aug 2nd, 2002, 02:12 PM
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I find Vancouver fairly boring. I go there because I have family there. However, it is kind of like a big suburb.

Toronto and Montreal are both fun to visit, and have some great night life and walking districts, great ethnic areas, and special attractions. The previous posters are somewhat correct about Montreal feeling a bit more European, but there is so much English spoken there. For real Quebec flavour, try Quebec City.
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