Photo cred - Simon Petry
People are often quick to dismiss the West Island but let's face it, life’s good out there. Really good. One might even say they’ve got it better than the rest of the city... Ok fine, I'm saying it. And although that may sound crazy to some of you, here are 10 reasons why living in Montreal's West Island is the best.
1. It’s Quiet
Sure, living downtown puts you right in the middle of the action, but it puts you in the middle of the action all day and night. Although it might seem great to live only a few blocks from your favorite pub, you may feel otherwise when you’re trying to sleep before a final or have a splitting migraine. Although it can be loud during rush hour on the West Island, it’s not nearly as noisy as living in the city.
2. The Rent Is Cheap
If you enjoy paying $1,000 a month for a two room apartment, then downtown is definitely the place for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to pay less than $900 for a 4½, then you should consider finding a place in Dorval or even Pierrefonds. Not only are you close to public transit (making it quick and easy to get downtown), but you’ll be able to save more money each month, and who doesn’t love that?
3. It's Cleaner
We’re not saying downtown is dirty, we’re just saying it’s not as clean as the West Island. Because the population isn’t as dense, and there aren’t as many people working in the West Island as there are in the heart of Montreal, it tends to stay a lot cleaner. Sure, there’s still litter and grimy buildings, but thanks to gentrification there aren’t as many.
Photo cred - Iliyan Yankov
4. It's Good For Anglophones
If you happen to be an Anglophone living in Quebec, then you might consider the West Island to be Montreal’s Mecca. Most of the residents on the West Island identify themselves as Anglophones, and nearly everyone else considers themselves to be bilingual. It’s the perfect place to live if you don’t speak English, or haven’t mastered French quite yet.
5. It’s Green
Arguably, the West Island has the most greenspace out of all of Montreal. With the Morgan Arboretum, Cap-Saint-Jacques, Terra Cotta Park… there’s so much nature for people to enjoy. Not only do they have parks and huge fields for people to explore, but they’re easily accessible for most residents. There’s really nothing better than a hike with some friends after a long day cooped up inside.
6. Community Oriented
It’s not that individuals living downtown are self-centered, it’s just that there isn’t as great of an emphasis on community as there is in the West Island. Boroughs celebrate their inauguration with huge parties, like Kirkland Day, and whole communities rally behind local sports’ teams during games (inter-city soccer, for example, unites and divides them). It’s the perfect place for people looking to start a family, or for people who are new to the city and want to make friends.
7. Outdoor Activities
Speaking of soccer, there are so many outdoor activities and clubs out on the West Island. Do you like skiing? Morgan Arboretum has you covered. Want to go swimming? Check out one of the many pools, like Cedar Park. Horseback riding? Ok, they don’t have that yet, but they’re only ten minutes away from St. Lazare Ranch, which isn’t too shabby if you ask us.
8. Low Stress
Things just don’t seem as stressful on the West Island as they do downtown. Maybe it’s because there isn’t as much noise, they save more money on rent, or because they can go outside and smell the roses, but the days feel more laidback and less scheduled out there. If you’re an anxiety riddled person, then you may want to consider moving asap.
Photo cred - Miguel M. Almeida
9. Amazing High Schools
The West Island has some of the best high schools in Montreal. From St. Thomas High School with their International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, John Rennie’s Sport-Études Program, to Beaconsfield High School’s Embarkation Program for students who take an alternative approach to learning, the West Island boasts an impressive academic record. Sorry downtown.
10. It’s Quaint
Don’t get us wrong, the West Island isn’t a small place, and it’s definitely not outdated. But the villages, like the Pointe-Claire or Beaurepaire Village for instance can make you feel like you’re in a small town with small town comforts. Mom-and-pop restaurants, independent coffee houses, and unique stores can make the backdrop to an awesome and relaxing weekend. Even the suburbs are cute and welcoming if you’re looking to get away from big-city living.