Living in Montreal

Montreal is a popular city amongst students and was voted the best city in the world for students. Canada has been identified as the 2nd best country in the world, and Montreal ranked 4th best place to live in North America! Montreal has also been described as a mix between Paris and Brooklyn, making it the perfect city.

Founded in 1535 by Jacques Cartier, Montreal is a port city with European flair. The primary language spoken here is French, but don’t fret; most people speak English and are generally happy to help a traveler. There are many different areas to explore such as the Plateau, Mile-End (one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world), the Old Port, NDG and Downtown. All are easily accessible by public transportation.

Students explore the murals on Saint-Laurent street with their Emerging Media class.

Here are some useful resources for exploring the city:

 


GETTING AROUND

The EVO residence and Academic Centre are located downtown – about 30 minutes walking distance from each other or 15 minutes on the metro (both on the orange line). The residences are conveniently located on the edge of Old Port and Downtown, with plenty of coffee shops, clothing stores, bars, banks, and restaurants nearby, and is a short walking distance from Chinatown.

A few blocks from the Academic Centre is Saint-Denis Street where you will find even more shops and restaurants. Saint-Laurent street (also known as The Main) is a 10-minute walk from the Academic Centre, and is host to a variety of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, boutiques, and thrift stores.

You can also get around the city through the Underground City, RÉSO. A large network of interconnected office towers, hotels, shopping centers, residential and commercial complexes, convention halls, universities and performing arts venues, it is the biggest in the world and connects much of Downtown Montreal. This map gives you a good overview of the downtown core.

STM: Transit PASSES

For fares and schedules please go to the STM official website.

Using public transport is fairly easy in Montreal. The STM offers many types of passes, including return tickets, three-day pass options, unlimited 24-hour passes and unlimited evening. STM passes are valid for both bus and metro and can be bought at any metro station or from authorized retailers. Your ticket can also be used to transfer between bus and metro, see here for more information. Check out the website for all the available passes and exact fares.  

There are four metro lines: orange, green, blue and yellow. The most useful are the orange and green lines as they will get you to all the great attractions as well as to and from campus. The Academic Centre is located at Sherbrooke metro, and the residence is at Square Victoria-OACI.

There are many bus routes in the city, but the most useful for students are the 80, the 55, and the 24. Both the 80 and 55 buses run north and south. You can catch the 80 bus at Place Des Arts metro station and get off at Mont Royal or continue up to visit the Mile-end and other neighborhoods. The 55 bus runs along Saint-Laurent Blvd on it’s way north all the way to the Jean-Talon Farmers Market. On its way south, it runs along Saint-Urbain street, stops at Place d’Armes metro station (one stop from the residences) and continues down to the Old Port. The 24 bus runs along the longest street of Montreal, Sherbrooke street, and will take students from downtown to campus. The buses run later than the metro and are useful for students commuting back to the residences from the Academic Centre.

We strongly suggest downloading the Transit app for accessing schedules and determining the best routes. Also, it’s free!

 

 

 

BIXI

The Montreal bike sharing system known as the Bixi (combination of bike-taxi) is available from April to November and is a great way to experience Montreal or to get from one place to another in a pinch. You will need a credit card to access the bikes and a deposit is frozen on your card to ensure the bike is returned. To find out more about how Bixis work, take a look at the website.

There is a great app for your phone that will tell you where the nearest Bixi station is located and how many bikes and drop-off spaces are available.

Hotels

The Champlain Community is entitled to a corporate discounted rate at Hotel Bonaventure, located right across from Evo. Reservations can be made by calling toll-free at 1-800-267-2575 or by email at and mentioning the “Evo Discount.”

Additionally, the Champlain Community is entitled to a corporate discounted rate at Hotel10. More details can be found below.

GETTING BACK TO THE USA

AIRPORT

Need to get to the airport but don’t want to pay for a taxi or Uber? The 747 bus takes you from downtown directly to the airport 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Find out schedules and more here (NB: monthly passes and some other passes include the 747 at no extra cost).

BUS

The Berri-UQAM bus station (signs will say: Gare d’Autocars) is located at 1717 Berri street, only 5 minutes from the Academic Center or three metro stops from the residence. Multiple Greyhound buses leave every day to the United States.

 

TRAIN

Montreal’s train station, or Gare de Montreal, is located at 895 de la Gauchetière West.

It is just under the Queen Elisabeth Hotel and you can get there by the McGill (green line) or Bonaventure (orange line) metro stops and following the signs to the Gare de Montreal.

For more information follow this Amtrak link.

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EATING OUT

Looking for places to eat, drink, hang out or visit? Check out this map with recommendations from staff and students.

RESTAURANTS

There are many cheap eats around the Academic Centre along Saint-Denis and Saint-Laurent street.

There are also many other great places to try:

VEGETARIAN, VEGAN AND GLUTEN-FREE FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS

There are many vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friendly restaurants in Montreal. Check out the list of places to eat below:

You can also look at the Montreal Vegetarian Association – “Our mission is to educate the public about the many benefits of a vegetarian diet for the environment, the health, and the animals.” Find out what you need to know about being a vegetarian in Montreal. You can become a member, volunteer or just use the site to check things out.

FARMERS’ MARKETS

Montreal takes pride in its farmers and locally grown foods. Here is where you can pick some up:

Jean-Talon Market: 7070 avenue Henri-Julien(Corner of Henri-Julien and Jean-Talon).

Getting there: Take the 55 bus north, get off at Jean-Talon street, turn right and after a couple of blocks you can’t miss it. Or the metro, get off at Jean-Talon (orange line) and follow the signs to Jean-Talon street and the Jean-Talon Market.

**Note: The area around the Jean-Talon Market is also occupied by a bevy of global markets in case you are looking for more exotic or specific ingredient selections. Take a minute to look around and explore!

Atwater Market: 138 Atwater (Corner of Notre-Dame and Atwater).

Getting there: Take the metro to Lionel-Groulx metro (orange and green lines) and walk south on Atwater till you hit the market (a couple of blocks).

Maisonneuve Market: 4445 Ontario East at the corner of William David and Ontario (just a couple of blocks walk east of the academic center.)

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THINGS TO SEE AND DO

Montreal is famous for being a new, North American city that comfortably integrates the sophistication of an old, European city into its atmosphere. With such a rich culture, the city births a plethora of things to do, no matter the season—from film festivals, live musical performances, bars, dancing, and a snow-covered mountain to world-class restaurants, museums, and galleries. There’s something for everyone and endless possibilities to choose from when friends and family visit for the weekend.

To find out what is happening at the moment, take a look at these websites:

Here are some places you might want to visit:

  • Saint-Joseph Oratory, 3800 Queen Mary Rd. To get there take the metro to Snowdon or Cote-des-Neiges stops (both on the blue line), or hop on one of these buses – #51, #166, #165. There is also paid parking for those with cars.
  • Old Port of Montreal, The Old Port extends along the bottom edge of Montreal island. To get there take the #55 south till the end of the line and you will be in front of the Notre Dame Basilica. Or take the metro to either Place-d’Armes or Champs de Mars metro stops (orange line) and explore city hall, the science museum, the skating rink, and all the little shops and restaurants in between.
  • Or head up to Mont-Royal and take in the fabulous Montreal skyline or walk on the many trails to Beaver Lake, up to the cross or through the cemetery. In the winter there is a skating rink, tubing and many trails for cross-country skiing or adventurous snowboarding.
  • Head on over to Chinatown. There are a lot of great shops to explore and restaurants to eat at or just to pick up some cheap very fresh produce.

Movies

Check out Cinema Montreal for showtimes and cinemas. The two closest English-language cinemas to the residence are Cinema Scotia Banque 977 Saint-Catherine (corner Peel street) and the Cineplex Forum 2313 Saint-Catherine at Atwater metro (green line). For less commercial films you can try Cinema du Parc 3575 Parc ave (corner Prince Arthur).

Theatre 

Montreal has a lot going on in the theatre and comedy scene, including the well-known Just For Laughs festival in July.

Here is a guide to the English-language theatre in Montreal, which includes regular shows at the Centaur Theatre and Segal Centre. There are also two main English-language improv theatres; Montreal Improv and Theatre Sainte-Catherine. If you’d like to see some stand-up, head on over to Comedy Nest. Check out their websites to see when they have shows!

Museums

Montreal has a great many museums and galleries to visit, for a full list visit this website. There is also an app you can download. Take note that some museums are free to the public on certain evenings or weekends!

Here is a list of some of the most popular museums for students. Make sure to check the individual websites for admission prices and the exhibits that are on right now:

  • McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 1E9, near McGill metro. The museum celebrates Montreal History and is home to collections of costumes, decorative art, aboriginal objects, paintings and prints
  • Space for Life is an amalgamation of the Biodome, the Planetarium, the Botanical Gardens, and the Olympic Park. The easiest way to get there is to take the metro and get off at Pi IX or Viau metro stop (green line).
  • Grevin Wax Museum, This museum is located on the 5th floor of the Eaton center at 705 Saint-Catherine West. A 15-minute walk from the residence.
  • Montreal Science Center, This museum is located in the Old Port and has an Imax theater.
  • Canadian Center for Architecture, 1920 Baile street. This one is a little trickier to find but you can take the metro to Guy-Concordia (Saint-Mathieu exit, green line)and walk south on Saint-Marc street till you hit Baile street on your left.
  • Pointe-A-Calliere, Montreal’s Museum of Archeology and history, 350 Place Royale (Corner of de la Commune), in the Old Port.

Art

Montreal has over 2000 art galleries so here are a few you might want to check out:

  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1380 Sherbrooke Street West (cross street Bishop). To get there take the #24 bus that runs along Sherbrooke street or take the metro to Guy-Concordia metro (green line) and walk up to Sherbrooke street.
  • Montreal Contemporary Art Museum, located at 185 Saint-Catherine (corner of Jeanne-Mance street) you can actually access the museum underground from the Place-des-Arts metro. Admission is free on Wednesday nights from 6-9pm and it’s worth it.
  • Phi Centre, 407, Saint-Pierre Street
  • Belgo Building (has many galleries inside the building), 372 Saint-Catherine Street West.
  • Station 16 Gallery, 3523 Boulevard Saint-Laurent.
  • Fresh Paint Gallery As an exhibition, education and events hub, the project aims to balance cultural and formative elements with the primary objective of promoting and encouraging the practices of Graffiti and Street Art.
  • Street art in the Plateau area

Interactive media

Montreal is one of the world’s leading multimedia cities and is a centre of emerging media. Here are some places and exhibits you can visit:

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FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

There are many festivals all year round in Montreal, from film to video gaming, to music to comedy. Here you can find some of the upcoming festivals.

Fall semester

Spring semester

Summer

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VOLUNTEERING

Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in the city, meet new people and lend a helping hand. Students have the opportunity to volunteer in some of our classes, however, if you would like to do some on your own, here are some useful resources:

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Student Resources

Here are some resources you may find useful during your time here in Montreal:

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MOVING HERE AFTER GRADUATION

If you decide to move here after graduation, let the Montreal staff know! We can tell you about the work permit application. We also have a private Alumni Facebook Group you can join to connect with other alumni living in the city and ask for advice on many things, such as housing. We also organise regular meetups with our alumni and current students, so it’s a great way to stay in touch!

There are a couple of websites that you can use to look for summer housing; Concordia University’s off-campus housing and McGill University’s off-campus housing, as well as other public websites. These websites are not run by Champlain, so make sure to do your due diligence when looking for housing.

Here are some resources you may find useful when you arrive in Montreal:

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