Moving to Montreal – Neighbourhoods

February 9, 2016 , In: Montreal , With: No Comments
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One of the most frequent questions I am asked is where to live.  Personally, I’ve lived in Outremont, NDG and Westmount and I am pretty familiar with the other areas too.  But, I don’t know everywhere and I figured it was best to have people who actually lived in the different neighbourhoods to tell potential residents what it was like.

In some cases, more than one person responded for the same neighbourhood which is why there may be a few different responses.

Don’t see your neighbourhood or have something to add?  Let me know.

17046053028_baa27e08b6_z(Photo by Maëlick on Flickr)

Plateau

Is it urban or suburban? Is it centrally located?

The Plateau neighbourhood is centrally located in Montreal. It’s a great family-friendly neighbourhood with lots of green spaces and kids playgrounds with cafes-culture-shops right around the corner. We specifically chose Plateau for its history and architecture as well as the artistic vibe. It’s a nice place to be.

What are transport links like?

There are great transport links and a lot of Bixi stations in the summer.

What type of housing is found there?

The majority of housing is condos and small apartment buildings, but you can find little cottages more and more often. These are former duplexes that have been turned into one-family units.

 Do you have to drive everywhere or can you walk? If you have to drive, what is parking like?

a) Many people use Communauto (or something similar) if they want to go away for the weekend or do a big shop at Costco/Wal-mart. I don’t have too much experience with parking as we have a garage (a serious luxury), but people do complain about it. On our street, there are frequently spaces, but you have to have a vignette (parking permit), which is linked to your car’s number plate. If you don’t mind paying for parking when shopping locally, there are usually spots.

b)Walk, walk and walk. Everything is in close proximity. Parking can be a bit of a problem, but I personally always find something.

 Are there good schools in the area?

a) Our son isn’t school-aged, but I’ve heard that the primary schools are good. For secondary, I think a lot of kids go outside the neighbourhood

b) Yes, public schools are considered good here, my daughter is very happy with hers.

Are you happy you moved there or is there another area you wish you had moved to?

a) I would only choose to live a bit further north (Mile-End, Jean-Talon market) if I weren’t living here.

Why did you originally choose this area?

We chose it because it is centrally located, has good transport links, good food and shops.

Our priority was to live close to my husband’s job for a short commute without sacrificing a “city-living” experience.  We greatly benefited from a dedicated relocation consultant who steered us towards the Plateau.  I like everything about our neighbourhood; the beauty, the convenience and being only blocks away from Parc La Fontaine.

Old Montreal 1

Old Port

Is it urban or suburban? Is it centrally located?

The Old Port is definitely in an urban part of the City

What are transport links like?

There are multiple subway lines and the orange and green lines meet at Berri-UQAM with additional stops around the neighborhood. Many buses run along the river that will take you up north or drop you at the nearest metro station.

What type of housing is found there?

We live in an apartment and from what I’ve seen, the majority of housing are apartments with underground parking. We currently rent and hope to buy this apartment in the future. But we are still mulling over the possibility of a home or duplex in a different neighborhood.

Do you have to drive everywhere or can you walk? If you have to drive, what is parking like?

The Old Port has what I need walking distance away. I do have a car that helps with long distances and laziness. Parking in Montreal is possible but a definite pain. After my fifth parking ticket, which was given dropping my daughter off at day care, I now tend to choose walking and public transportation.

Are you happy you moved there or is there another area you wish you had moved to?

I love living in the Old Port. We’re about eight blocks east of Saint Laurent. My husband signed the lease on a business trip before we moved to Montreal. I had never seen it nor ever been to Montreal, but I knew it was exactly where I wanted to live and I wasn’t wrong. Our grocery store and pharmacy are a hop, skip and a jump away. We have a beautiful playground two blocks from us. Children love the Montreal Science Centre and IMAX. There are plenty of restaurants and streets to explore. It is very touristy during the summer but we walked to all the festivals and enjoyed ourselves. And there is such peacefulness during the winter. I love it. I finally get my real city living, which I’ve so craved. Maybe one day we’ll look elsewhere but for now, the Old Port is our home.

3668478234_c2a4ef445a_z(Photo credit Gilles Douaire on Flickr)

Verdun

I am so happy we decided to move to Montreal, and not only Montreal but Verdun.  We almost moved to the Plateau.  It’s also awesome, but a bit crowded and there is no river to run and bike along.  I love being near the water.  We chose this area because it seemed like a good investment.

5185700147_9d8ea88200_z(Photo credit Philippe Du Berger on Flickr)

Sainte Marie/Ville Marie Neighbourhood

Is it urban or suburban?

Urban

Is it centrally located?

Yes, it is southeast of the Plateau, and near to downtown, the village, the highway, and the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

What are transport links like?

I don’t use the bus, and we have a car, but we use the Metro (Frontenac – on the green line – 8 minutes walk away). Also, there is a bixi stand across the way during the summer.

What type of housing is found there?

There are a lot of apartments, some townhouses/cottages.

Do you have to drive everywhere or can you walk? If you have to drive, what is parking like?

Walking or the metro is easy. We have a car and own a parking space with our townhouse. Parking is OK around here though, as it isn’t vignette parking (yet), but it’s difficult sometimes for our neighbours to get spaces when there is street cleaning or snow clearing.

Are there good schools in the area?

I’m not sure if they are good, but there is an elementary school on my street that seems nice. There are lots of daycares, and other schools nearby.

What do you like about it? Are there any challenges?

The area is an up and coming, old working-class, very French area, with a            lot of artist studios and affordable rental properties.

We lived in the Plateau for the first year, and really liked it, but when we decided to start a family, we wanted somewhere bigger, with our own parking space, and didn’t want to have upstairs neighbours. Cottages are difficult to find near the Plateau, so we discovered the house before the area, but are very happy we moved here. There is also an off-leash dog park 3 minutes walk from our place, which is great.

It’s also a quiet neighbourhood.

The only issue is that lack of restaurant/café options. There are some great local places, but for variety you have to go a little further. As we have a car, grocery shopping isn’t a problem, and of course there are two deps on our street!

A new condo building has gone up on our street this year, and there is another one going up behind us. It looks like this area will be the next Plateau in a few years. If you walk one way, you get to the Ontario village area, which is very cool, and you walk the other way you are in the Gay Village and downtown. The area we are in, is the quiet in-between area, with a few crappy bars, and stores. It used to be super rough apparently, but we haven’t had one issue since we moved here 2 years ago.

Why did you originally choose this area?

Near the Plateau, my husband’s work, value for money (we bought), and a quiet neighbourhood, but not remote.

 

Rosemont/La Petite Patrie

This is a good, clean family neighbourhood and we will most likely stay here until we leave Montreal.

There are a few reasons we chose this area. It’s only 3 km from my husband’s work place. It has plenty of restaurants, cafés, parks etc and feels spacious yet not suburban. We are close to the Botanical Gardens, which is one of my favourite spots in the city. The rent is cheaper here compared to the Plateau for example, and you get more living space for your dollar. It’s easy to park here and the snow clearance seems to be far more efficient than other more expensive neighbourhood. We kept our car when we moved to this area because of the ease of parking and the convenience of, well having a car.  I understand that in other neighborhoods, people prefer to rely on public transport due to the parking restrictions and slow snow clearance.  It’s more “french speaking” here which we like because it forces us to improve our French.

2447166343_e1402a69e3_z(Photo Credit Alanah Heffez via Flickr)

NDG

Is it urban or suburban? Is it centrally located?

It is a quiet urban neighbourhood. I’d say it’s fairly centrally located – it’s certainly not the suburbs.

What are transport links like?

Pretty good. There’s a metro and plenty of buses.

What type of housing is found there?

There are mostly duplexes, apartments and cottages. You may find the odd detached house.

Do you have to drive everywhere or can you walk? If you have to drive, what is parking like?

You can pretty much walk everywhere. Because most people have driveways, parking is not much of an issue (unless it snows!)

Are there good schools in the area?

Yes

Why did you originally choose this area?

It was fairly centrally located with good transport links and it was possible to buy a fairly large property at prices that were much more affordable than the Mile End, Plateau, Westmount and Outremont which were other areas we considered.

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(Photo Credit Gilles Douaire via Flickr)

Westmount

Is it urban or suburban? Is it centrally located?

It’s pretty urban – I can walk downtown in about ten minutes!

What are transport links like?

Pretty good – there’s a metro and plenty of buses.

What type of housing is found there?

There are duplexes, apartments, row houses and detached houses. If you have the money, the sky is the limit. The flat area of Westmount is generally much more affordable than once you start climbing up the hill. 

Do you have to drive everywhere or can you walk? If you have to drive, what is parking like?

We walk everywhere – to the park, library, daycare, pool, skating, groceries, etc. Parking isn’t so bad depending on where you are going. The Metro grocery store parking lot is a nightmare. If you are trying to park on Sherbrooke (the main commercial street) it could be difficult. It’s much more difficult parking here than in NDG I found.

Are there good schools in the area?

Yes. There’s a good mix of private and public.

Are you happy you moved there or is there another area you wish you had moved to?

Yes, we are very happy here. We love taking advantage of the parks, library, outdoor pool, skating, sledding and everything else in the area. There is a massive amount of programs and activities on offer from the city.

Why did you originally choose this area?

We wanted to be close to all of the fun stuff I have already mentioned like parks, pool, etc.   We also wanted to be closer to downtown.

To our surprise, we found it easy to meet people here. You tend to see the same people over and over at the park, pool, activities, etc. Because of this, there is a great community. Westmount really isn’t that big and you can really feel that.

There are also a lot of expats, I think mostly because it is close to the universities, hospitals, etc.

The only thing is that NDG has a much cozier and quieter feel than Westmount. Westmount definitely feels closer to downtown and busier.

 

Cote St-Luc

Is it urban or suburban? Is it centrally located?

It looks like suburban area but in a good way. It is quite part of the city with a lot of seniors.

What are transport links like?

There is no problem with public transport. You can always rely on it and there are a lot of apps available to know a schedule, buses come mostly on time.

What type of housing is found there?

There are more apartment buildings, so it is a reason why new immigrants chose this area to start living in Montreal.

Do you have to drive everywhere or can you walk? If you have to drive, what is parking like?

In our area there are all the major stores (Dollorama, IGA, Pharmaprix, as well as a Cineplex) around a 2 minute walk from home.

Are there good schools in the area?

There are a lot of daycares are available in this area, I have no idea about schools so far.

 

Do you have anything to add?  

 

Thanks to these wonderful ladies yet again!  You may just see some new faces in your neighbourhood!

 

Don’t forget to read Moving to Montreal Best Advice Part 1 and Part 2

 

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I also do Family & Newborn Lifestyle Photography in a relaxed natural-light setting.

(Featured Photo Credit OUMMAPix.com on Flickr)

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Michelle Little

Writer & Photographer

Originally from the prairies and now in Montreal, I love exploring new places, eating great food and modern design. I'm mom of two wild things and paper and cake make me happy. Photographing your cutie family would make me very happy.

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