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.
Montreal is almost American, with flashes of Boston (architecture, suburbs, student population), New York (restaurants and nightlife) and San Francisco (lifestyle, proximity to nature and wine country). It’s almost European, with flashes of Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. It’s also Canadian with loads of influence from the British Empire. Its French roots give it its own movie, tv, music and book publishing industries and markets, much like France and India. Montreal has Old Montreal, the Plateau, Westmount, and Mont Royal. It has one of cleanest, most efficient subway system, bonified by the largest underground city in the world. Montreal is home to the Bixi, a revolutionary green and healthy city transportation system. It has the most vibrant comedy scene per capita in the world with its Just For Laughs festival which has now expanded beyond Montreal. You can’t find a bad restaurant in Montreal even if you tried. The music scene is solid, anchored by the best Jazz festival in the world. The Cirque du Soleil, the greatest circus on earth, was founded and is still headquartered in Montreal. Montreal is home to world class universities such as McGill University, University of Montreal, Concordia and UQAM, with their renowned engineering programs and business schools. It’s a great place to live, do business in, or move to with the most lenient immigration laws in North America. Montreal International can help you with that.
Montrealers work hard but like to have fun. There is always a good reason to party and have a good time. We invented the “5 a 7″ which often end at 3AM. Montrealers love sports. The Montreal Canadiens, the most storied franchise in hockey is here. Montreal also has the Montreal Grand Prix, the only F1 Race in North America. The city is also home to the Montreal Impact, soon to be members of Major League Soccer and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Footbal League.
Montreal is a great place to raise a family. Compared to any other metropolitan city in the world, housing remains affordable. The private and public school systems are solid compared to anywhere else in North America. The value system of the population is strong with a healthy mix of capitalism and social conscience. The province of Quebec has a universal healthcare system which has flaws but remains the best in North America. Montreal has dozens of museums, parks and family activities. Check out I Spy Montreal for the latest.
Montreal is a great place for nature lovers. There are more than half a dozen sky slopes (Saint-Sauveur, Mont Tremblant, Bromont, Sutton, Orford, Owl’s Head) in a 90 minute radius. Dozens of beautiful lakes, and great spots for kiteboarding in the summer and kite skiing in the winter, when you can also find a rink on every other corner. You can also bike to work from anywhere around the city.
Montreal is a cool city, but we’re missing an anthem.
Thanks to Jay-Z, New York has a new one.
Let’s start a movement to find ours.