I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, one of best cities in the world. As of 2005, more than 3.6 million people lived in the MontreaI metropolitan area. I love Montreal for many reasons. It is diverse and international with close to 1 million people members of 80 vibrant ethnic communities: Haitian, northern Africans, Italian, Greek, Arab, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Berbers, Russian, Jewish, Brazilian, Portuguese, Germans, Scottish, Spanish, Lebanese, Polish, etc. It’s bilingual (French and English), the second largest French city in the world (after Paris) and hundreds of thousands of people have a different native language.
Montreal is also pro entrepreneurship, pro enterprise and pro startups with low corporate taxes, the best research and development tax credits in the world (free money for tech companies, up to 80% of R&D spending) and government support for the venture capital industry. Real Ventures just closed a $50M seed fund that will invest in 50-60 startups over the next 3-4 years. Montreal has a 60 member strong angel network that meets every month. There are 2-5 startup events every week, from product camps, to demo camps to UIX events. The city also counts half a dozen incubators/accelerators. Montreal is close to major North American cities including Toronto, New York and Boston (1-hour flight) and between a 4-5 hour flight away from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Montreal is very well positioned for the new convergence of Mobile, Gaming and Web. Some of the largest gaming studios are in MTL, including Ubisoft, EA and Warner. Nokia and Ericsson have hundreds of employees in Montreal. Montreal is world renowned for its machine learning, natural language processing and operations research talent, and the local web development community is thriving.
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When the weather and my schedule permits, I like to bike to work. I work in Montreal, one of the best cities in the world. The city gets it name from the old French words Mont and Réal which translate to Mount Royal, the name of the small mountain at the center of the city-Island. I live on the south shore of Montreal and our wonderful bike paths give me a few options. I have two favorites. The first one (19KM) sees me heading east right on the south shore of the St-Lawrence River, under the Champlain Bridge and through the lock in St-Lambert where I cross. I then get on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, home of the Montreal F1 Grand Prix. The circuit is opened from spring through fall for bikers and roller-bladers to enjoy. I then ride by the Montreal Casino, cross the Concorde bridge, ride by the funky looking apartments built for expo ‘67 and soon arrive in the heart of the city. The second one (35KM) sees me heading west and then north, again on the south shore of the river and through La Prairie and Ste-Catherine, two charming little towns. I cross a small bridge to get on a beautiful strip of land, right in the middle of the St-Lawrence River where I’m surrounded by trees and water on each side. This path takes me to Verdun and then Pointe-St-Charles through Iles-des-Soeurs, following the beautiful Canal Lachine, or to the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Here’s a map of the bike paths in and around the city. It’s a beautiful ride and a great way to start and end the part of my days I spend in the office. Get’s me to break a sweat and oxygenate my brain and body. I can shower at the YMCA next to my office. The short way takes me a bit more than 45 minutes (5-10 minutes more than if I take my car during rush hour) while the long way takes me about 75 minutes. I usually try to take my bike 1-3 times per week. The bike days are my favorite. Continue reading →