Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Montreal Revisited

I went to Montreal last weekend on a spontaneous family trip, which is always fun (no sarcasm here, I really do love my family). I have been there many times before, mostly to visit friends, and once at the tender age of 18 to take advantage of Quebec's lower drinking age. I have always thought that Montreal is to Toronto what Solange is to Beyoncé: quirkier, more fashionable, and cooler but less powerful, and with less money (probably). And even though Solange is amazing and beautiful, would you dump Beyoncé for her? Probably not, right? 

Well this time I really saw Montreal with different eyes. There is no need to compare it to Toronto or Solange or Beyoncé; it is amazing in its own right and I desperately want to move there! Why I am only realizing this now? Keep reading...

1. I am over Toronto. It's the first place I lived in after I immigrated to Canada so it obviously holds a special place in my otherwise cruel heart. However, I did go to High School and University there so as I am starting my career, I am also yearning for something new.

2. I have had the chance to go to many places since the last time I was in Montreal. I had brief but significant stints in Buenos Aires, New York, and a small town in France called Périgueux. I also visited Santiago, Brussels, Milan, Berlin, Budapest, Krakow, etc. Those experiences helped me form an idea of the kind of city and lifestyle I want. For example, I would prefere a place with a strong and varied cultural scene; a mix of old and new architecture and brownstones; a rich history; good food; plenty of green public space; a large body of water nearby; mixed-used zoning; good public transit and a biking culture; an ethnically, culturally, and economically diverse population; and the very scientifically proven presence of a "chill vibe". In this trip, I found that Montreal is perfectly able to fulfill those needs, more so than Toronto, which is rapidly handing its soul over to "economic growth".

3. As a North American port city, some areas in Montreal mimic my beloved New York but unlike Toronto, it doesn't try to be New York, which is awesome. Its vague European flare also reminds of two of my favourite places, Berlin and Brussels. 

4. Finally, after going through quite a few immigration procedures, I realize that moving to Montreal is more reasonable than moving to any of the cities cited above because, you know, VISAS and shit. 

So there you have it. I love Toronto but long live Solange. 

Here are some random pictures of MTL, most of which I did not take:

Park Jean Drapeau - by me
"Chill vibe" - by me

With my brother in Park St. Louis

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