Toronto or Montreal

May 10th, 2002, 07:15 AM
  #1  
Westy
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Toronto or Montreal


I am looking at taking a four night solo vacation in one of these two cities. I'm from Edmonton and want to get back to a vibrant city again and I've decided that Vancouver, as beautiful and close as it is, just isn't what I need right now. I was in both Toronto and Montreal in the middle '80's as a young twenty one year old who was blown away by Montreal but I've heard that Toronto has come a long way. Here's what i'm looking for:

-unique feel to a city/architecture
-vibrant/streetlife, ambience
-welcoming to a solo traveller
-artsy (I'm a serious photographer)
-great food
-good bars for a solo traveller (I'm not a clubber) with good live music: jazz, world music

Which of these two cities do I choose? Right now I admit to edging toward Montreal but will I have better memories in Toronto?
Thanks!
 
May 10th, 2002, 07:22 AM
  #2  
Westy
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Oh yeah,
very important! It's extremely brown in Edmonton right now so a green, flowery place is important. I am loking at leaving in the next week or two if flights are cheap enough.
Thanks again!
 
May 10th, 2002, 08:44 AM
  #3  
garyt
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Westy - Take a web search of both cities to see what's going on during your trip... both cities have massive street festivals, jazz festivals, culture weeks, art in the streets and much more... if your schedule is open, plan your trip around the festival that really excites you... the regular city activities will be your bonus...
 
May 10th, 2002, 08:46 AM
  #4  
Shmoe
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Westy, Toronto has come a long way, it has everything you want in a destination and more. College Street in Little Italy is quite vibrant as is Baldwin, which is lined with little restaurants. http://www.eye.net will tell you all about listings for music and events. It's getting warmer here so the patios are open and the trees are blooming. We've got tulips and other flowers everywhere! Queen Street is a great place to people watch and catch a live band. Harbourfront will have lots of world music performances in the summer and jazz bars are open nightly, especially the Reservoir Lounge on Wellington which is a favourite haunt of the city's lindy hop swing dancers and home to Toronto's very best swing bands. The Royal Ontario Museum also has free admin.(or pay what you can) theme nights every Friday which is cool to check out, you've got the run of the place from 4-9pm! Rent a bike and enjoy the city! (wear a helmet!)
 
May 10th, 2002, 08:47 AM
  #5  
Daniel Williams
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Given all your criteria, let me begin by staying that I think you would have a great time in either Toronto or Montreal. I lived in Montreal for 5 years until 1999, have visited on a number of occasions in the interim; I went to Toronto on 3 occasions in 1998 and 1999.

Then again, while I do appreciate Toronto and think the city has a lot to offer for what you want, I must say I do prefer Montreal and think you might too based on your travel objectives (in particular with regards to these words: unique, architecture, artsy, ambience, vibrant, streetlife, food). Montreal is a city I find I crave to go back to, almost magical; while I have always enjoyed myself in Toronto, I don't have that same craving or find it almost magical.
 
May 10th, 2002, 10:03 AM
  #6  
Louis
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No matter how long a way Toronto might have gone, Montreal has gone even further. No question about it.
You want hip? artsy? good food? beautiful and tastely dressed women? Come on. Really...
 
May 10th, 2002, 10:46 AM
  #7  
Shmoe
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I find it amusing that people refer to Montreal with such reverence. I found the streets dirty, the people rude, the green spaces limited and the architecture unexceptional. It's nice that there's an old town and Notre Dame Cathedral IS beautiful, but the rest of the city is like any other city. Cultrally speaking, if you like miming and quaint charcoal drawings Montreal is the place to go, but for everything else, coming from a Resident, Toronto is the place to be. I might add that if you're going to give a recommendation, you may want to give some examples of some places to visit, not just a vague testimony of the magicalness of the city..
 
May 10th, 2002, 11:09 AM
  #8  
Louis
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Of course, if one stays confined to the downtown core, he could wonder what all the Montreal fuss is about.

As you said, the Old City is undergoing a lot of restoration and is absolutely charming. Nothing like that in Toronto.

Then, yes, the Plateau Mont-Royal! Ah! the Plateau! rue Marie-Anne, rue Chambord, rue de L'Esplanade, le parc Jeanne-Mance, rue Saint-Denis, le carré Saint-Louis, rue Laval, rue Laurier, boulevard Saint-Laurent. All have inspired so many artists, yet always indescribable. The sights, the sounds, the cafés, the odor of fresh bagels roasting in the wood stove.

No, nothing like that in Toronto.
 
May 10th, 2002, 11:37 AM
  #9  
Daniel Williams
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All right Shmoe, here goes. Green space: Parc Lafontaine, Parc Jeanne Mance (the Tam Tams!), Mont Royal, Ile Ste Helene and Notre Dame, Westmount Park: lovely. Toronto outrank Montreal for green space? I like TO and admit there are greener cities than MTL, but no way; you only need to go to the Mountain to the chalet view to see how close greenery is to the city; the equivalent view from the CN tower, for the most part what you'll see is city, lake and sprawl. Not to say that TO doesn't have some great parks. The places I love to go hang out in Montreal: Saint Denis St., le Village Gai, ave. Laurier, Mont-Royal Ave., boul. Saint Laurent, Mont Royal Ave.; for the terrasses, cafes and restaurants and for the live entertainment venues. There's an energy that I find exciting. Do a search on Montreal on this site and you'll see tons of recommendations I make to visitors from restaurants to festivals to shopping to nightlife.

If your view of "cultural" Montreal is that of mimes and charcoal drawings, you have made almost no effort to get to know the city, Shmoe. (Opera de Montreal, OSM, La La La Human Steps, Grands Ballets Canadiens and I'm just scraping the surface here.) Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying Montreal's better than Toronto just that I prefer Montreal; in fact I defended Toronto passionately when some people (including one Torontonian!) were trashing it as a characterless, undistinctive city with boring architecture and devoid of any reason to visit it on the US forum.

Peace. DAN
 
May 10th, 2002, 11:44 AM
  #10  
John K
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Hi Westy,
I'm from New York but I have spent many weekends in Toronto and Montreal over the last year. Based on your criteria I would go with Montreal (although, let me be clear, I am not saying anything negative about Toronto.) Have fun whatever you decide.
 
May 10th, 2002, 11:45 AM
  #11  
Daniel Williams
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The name of the post on the US forum where I defended T.O. is "Most Underrated and Overrated Cities in the U.S."; it's near the bottom of that post. Search "Toronto" there and you'll find it.
 
May 10th, 2002, 12:03 PM
  #12  
Shmoe
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I don't dispute the vibrancy of Montreal or the quality of their bagels. I'm just saying Toronto has a lot to offer. Actually many neighbourhoods are undergoing restoration, especially on King, Front (Old Toronto)and College Street as new stores, restaurants and a younger population move in. In Toronto as well you have the Beaches neighbourhood which is very laidback and pleasant place to visit with the boardwalk nearby and then the Danforth which is a bastion of Greek cuisine. What does this mean? Variety and limitless opportunities to experience new things. And yes, fully accessible by public transit.
 
May 10th, 2002, 12:45 PM
  #13  
Shmoe
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Actually the view from the CN Tower does nothing if not highlight how much green space we have. Queen's Park, University Avenue, High Park, Don Valley, Rouge Valley, every neighbourhood is lined with big old trees. It's easy for a traveller to bypass Toronto life if they don't seek out where it is people live and only experience the tourist traps like the SkyDome and so forth. I can then see how they might think the city is devoid of originality or worth. It's easy to sample the life in Montreal because there are no tourist traps to distract you. The following webpage can tell you about parks, gardens, give you maps, whatever else you need to know.. good luck and take care whereever it is you choose to go Westy! Rawk out! http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/
 
May 10th, 2002, 01:49 PM
  #14  
Dee
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I am from the US. I love both Toronto and Montreal for different reasons. However, living only about a 3 hour drive from Toronto, I go there more often. I suggest, see which city you can get the best airfare to and then research all there is to see and the restaurants.

I might be more tempted to go to Montreal, since I haven't been there as often and have a list of things I want to see and do. My must do list for Toronto is shorter now.
 
May 10th, 2002, 01:50 PM
  #15  
Jack
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Daniel Williams:
Look it up, Toronto is filed under overated!!!

 
May 10th, 2002, 01:57 PM
  #16  
Westy
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I didn't mean to get the good ol' rivalry of heated up here but I see this as healthy as both places are obviously highly recommended. Thanks so much for the information (and keep it coming if you can.
I have decided to look into Montreal as I just have the desire to get back there but I have noticed that it's extremely difficault to get a decent mid-priced hotel on the weekend of May 23-27. Daniel or Louis - is there anything special happening that weekend that you know about?
Thanks again!
 
May 10th, 2002, 05:35 PM
  #17  
Louis
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I don't think that there is anything special during that weekend. I hear that hotels already have alot of reservations for the entire summer.
 
May 11th, 2002, 08:52 AM
  #18  
Karen
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Funny, I've been wanting the same! In process of deciding where to stay in Toronto. Been to Montreal a few times, enjoyed it. Reading great things about Toronto. Traveling solo too. Planning to head out Friday 5/17, return Sunday night 5/19. I'm from the Boston area. Would you be interested in meeting up to explore Toronto, at least part of the time? I love jazz/blues, photography and art, great food, unique venues, spring time! Reply to both email addresses: [email protected], and [email protected] Look forward to hearing back, would love some company in Toronto. -- Karen
 
May 11th, 2002, 02:16 PM
  #19  
Westy
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A friend just suggested that I owe it to myself to check out the Montreal Jazz Festival in late June rather than go in the next couple of weeks. Is this a good time to visit or will tourists overrun the city (too hectic)? I love music and festivals but don't want to visit in the height of tourist season as it can be a pain to enjoy wandering around sometimes due to crowds.
Tango can fly me there (from Edmonton) for $680 w/taxes which is what it would cost me in two weeks so, in light of the pathetic airline monopoly in this dictatorship, it's not a bad price.
I've just checked hotel prices on Orbitz and got these prices for a single for June 27-July 2 (prices are in CDN $ and do not include tax):
-Qaulity Inn downtown $120
-Le Montfort $102
-Clarion Hotel and Stes. $122
-Comfort inn Stes. $120
-Du Fort Hotel $135
-Days Inn Downtown $130

These seem too good to be true as I would assume that the Jazz Festival would bring in loads of tourists and raise prices considerably (as they do in New Orleans). Which one would be recommended?
Thanks!
 
May 12th, 2002, 12:08 AM
  #20  
Rel
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Hi - adding my two cents worth - I'm from Australia; visited both places in 2000 - Montreal for me by a mile. However, to add a spanner in the works, I think Quebec City beats them both for a short break.
 

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