Everyone likes to complain about what a hassle it is to have a car in the city. From the gas prices, to the other drivers, to trying to find parking, it seems like quite a stressful situation. But as it so happens, not having a car in Montreal is no walk in the park either.
Here are 10 struggles of not having a car in Montreal:
1. You have to deal with the STM. All. The. Time.
The most obvious, and probably the worst, struggle is having to heavily rely on the STM, which as pretty much everyone in Montreal knows is anything but reliable.
2. Spontaneous road trips are not possible
There's really no such thing as a spontaneous road trip for you, since leaving the city on your own requires some advance planning.
3. You feel like you're constantly asking friends and/or parents for rides
Sure, they probably don't actually mind giving you rides, but you end up feeling pretty guilty about it after a while.
4. It limits where you can live
If you don't have a car you're pretty much limited to living near where you work or go to school, otherwise you better hope that there's a bus and/or metro station nearby.
5. Grocery shopping is a real b*tch
Unless you get everything delivered, which can take forever, you can't really do too much stocking up at the grocery store. Want to buy a 24 pack of beer? Good luck carrying that home.
6. You can't go to IKEA
Probably the most heartbreaking reality of not having a car in the city is the inability to make frequent trips to IKEA. Not only is getting there a struggle, but if you want to buy anything bigger than a vase, you're going to have to pay to have it delivered.
7. It's way harder to make plans
If you or your friends/family/significant other live remotely far apart, making plans can be a bit tricky. With no car you can't just swing by and pick them up - you need to compromise on how far each of you has to travel every time you hang out.
8. Anywhere off island is pretty much a no-go
Public transit to get off the island is equal parts limited and incredibly frustrating. It's better to just not try.
9. You don't get to have jam out sessions on your way to work
Maybe this is just me, but when you have a car that you take to work every morning, those brief moments of time where you can blast your tunes and pump yourself up for the day make everything so much better. People might give you some weird looks if you start to rock out too hard on the bus.
10. You have to navigate the unsalted sidewalks in the winter
Montreal does a decent job of clearing the roads, but they've yet to figure out how to properly clear and de-ice their sidewalks. Without a car you have the joy of skating your way through the city during the winter.
11. Renting a car is seriously expensive
Even with services like Car2Go, renting a car in Montreal, even for a short period of time, can get pretty pricey. Plus if you need an actual car (aka something that isn't a smart car) the prices skyrocket even more.
Boucherie Slovenia, a boulevard Saint-Laurent institution for 50 years, will soon serve its last spicy sausage.
The iconic home of enormous Eastern European-style sandwiches — Slovenian sausage and towering cold-cuts were staples — will close its doors forever on January 29, said the owners, Lourdes Rodrigues and Jean Teixeira, in a Facebook post.
"Thank you to all our loyal customers, for the wonderful years," they said.
With a menu overflowing with huge, yet affordable, meat and mustard sandwiches — sauerkraut, pickles and Cherry Cokes were also standard — Boucherie Slovenia is the latest of the Main's iconic old-school institutions to close.
The beloved Moishes steakhouse announced its closure under the strain of the pandemic in the summer of 2020.
The Boucherie Slovenia Facebook post asks readers to share their memories of the restaurant and butcher shop, with many offering childhood stories of visiting for a pepperette sandwich or their "underrated" smoked meat, which is "the best in the city," according to one commenter.
Many apparent long-time customers said they wouldn't know where to go to find dishes comparable to Boucherie Slovenia's treasured menu items.
Others remarked on how yet another classic Montreal restaurant is closing its doors. "Nothing replaces these fantastic old shops," said one person. "It's a loss. The rich character of the boulevard is disappearing."
Montreal is certainly no stranger to a traffic jam, which makes taking public transit a more viable option to not only get around faster but do more good for the environment.
As Canadian cities take the initiative to improve their transit systems and reduce their carbon footprints, Montreal has become one of the country's greenest metropolitan areas when it comes to transport, according to one ranking.
A December report from Kijiji Autos analyzed green transport options in Canada's most populated cities, evaluating their use of electric cars, bikes, scooters, and the number of electric charging stations.
With its metro and bus systems, BIXI rentals, bike lanes, and availability of electric cars, Montreal found itself in third place among Canadian cities that offer the greenest transport with a score of 5.5/10.
Although Vancouver and Ottawa/Gatineau snagged the top two spots, Montreal takes the lead as the most bicycle-friendly city in all of North America, with a total of 2,163 bicycle paths, says the Copenhagenize Index.
Montreal's third-place ranking is encouraging news, said McGill University Assistant Professor of Geography, Grant McKenzie, who specifically boasted about Montreal's metro system, "especially compared to other Canadian cities," as well as its "substantial investment towards electric buses."
While McKenzie said "we can always do better" and bemoaned the city's ban on e-scooters, he called the popularity of the BIXI and the inclusion of electric bikes in its fleet an "excellent move in the right direction."
As for electric cars, Kijiji Autos looked at new registrations of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2021, as well as total charging stations. Montreal landed second to Toronto with a total of 3,633 new registered electric cars, and 1,258 electric charging stations throughout the city.
Kijiji Autos also looked at the number of hybrids and electric vehicles for sale on their platform. Montreal led the way with 1,063 hybrid vehicles and 375 electric vehicles, states the report.
With the province of Quebec offering residents a rebate for the purchase or lease of electric cars, Quebec estimates that there will be 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030.
The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) released Quebec road accident stats for 2021, showing a 6.06% increase in fatal collisions compared to 2020, when lockdowns and travel restrictions forced many people off the roads.
According to Thursday's statement by the SQ, the Quebec police force responded to 245 deadly car accidents in 2021. In those 245 accidents, 262 people were declared dead, a 4.8% increase from 2020.
Combined, the Mauricie and Lanaudière regions had the most deadly traffic accidents (47), closely followed by Montérégie (40), Estrie and the Centre-du-Quebec (33), the Capitale-Nationale and Chaudière-Appalaches (26), the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine (26) and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and the Côte-Nord (26).
Deadly accidents also occurred in the Outaouais and Laurentides regions, as well as the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Nord-du-Québec regions.
"The figures presented are above the average of the last five years," the Sûreté said in its release. They also released information about the key factors surrounding many of these accidents.
"The Sûreté du Québec maintains its efforts to ensure the safety of road users," added the Sûreté. "We would like to remind drivers that they must adopt safe driving behaviour and exercise caution to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision."
20% of road deaths occurred in instances where victims were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision. According to police records, 24.5% of deadly road accidents were caused by reckless driving or speeding.
Impaired and distracted driving were also reported as dangerous behaviour, causing 14% and 7% of deadly accidents, respectively.
Women will lead five of Quebec's eight largest cities following the 2021 municipal elections.
The biggest headline of the night may have been Valérie Plante's triumph over old foe Denis Coderre in Montreal, but across the province, the faces of municipal politics have become more gender-balanced.
According to the latest counts and projections, France Bélisle (Gatineau), Catherine Fournier (Longueuil), Évelyne Beaudin (Sherbrooke) and Julie Dufour (Saguenay) are all also on their way to their respective (and figurative) city hall corner offices.
In Quebec City, it seemed for a while like Marie-Josée Savard would join them. Multiple outlets had even called the election for her until the vote count for her opponent surged into the evening. Bruno Marchand ultimately claimed victory.
Mayor Plante commented on the historic nature of her second mandate in her victory speech Sunday night.
"Four years ago, Montrealers elected the first woman mayor in the history of the City of Montreal," she said.
"Tonight, they told us again, 'yes, this mayor, we're going to continue to work with her, we trust her!'"
This year, for the first time, Montrealers will have two women leading the city, as Projet Montréal's Dominique Ollivier is set to take over as president of the Executive Committee.