Friends, have you been feeling restless in Montreal lately? It's okay if you have, because spring is a time of change. The snow is melting, finals are popping up, it's too hot to do fun winter things but still somehow too chilly to start doing fun summer things... it's only natural to feel a little out of sorts.
But in Montreal, being truly bored is just not possible. There are so many fun, awesome things to do in the city that you can't help but find at least some fun, no matter what. So if you're having a bit of trouble warding off those icky boredom vibes, don't worry, I've got your back.
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.
Montrealers clearly love BIXI bikes, as illustrated by the company's record-breaking statistics for the 2021 season, which has just come to an end. If you have any doubts about that love, just take a look at the 5.8 million trips taken over the year.
Alexandre Taillefer, chairman of the board of directors of BIXI Montreal, called the company's historic figures "a testament to the ever-growing importance of the bike-sharing service, particularly the popularity of the growing number of stations and electrically-assisted bicycles."
BIXI says it had a record number of new riders in 2021, as well as a record number of people who signed up for memberships for the first time, "with a 70% increase over last year."
"As for the total number of trips, it has increased by 74% since last year, to 5.8 million, which is one of the best years since the birth of BIXI," a release from the company says.
Thanks to promotions and an early start date, BIXI was able to eclipse its previous records by a large margin. BIXI, in fact, says the 2021 season was the "longest season ever."
With the end of the season and bike stations coming down throughout Montreal over the next few days, BIXI is poised for even more success after the winter. The mayor, for instance, has promised to promote the service by adding thousands of new electric bikes to its fleet and will add even more stations around the city.
"While the majority of customers used to frequently use the service to commute to work or downtown, more and more people are now discovering the benefits of riding a standard or electric BIXI to shop, rediscover their neighbourhood or simply for fun," added Christian Vermette, director general of BIXI Montreal, in the release.
"This is just the beginning as we promise to continue to innovate in order to maintain our status as a leader in the bike-sharing industry."
Downtown Montreal's Christmas market, the Grand Marché de Noël, is making its long-awaited return — and it's bringing part of Alsace with it.
This holiday season, the market in the Quartier des spectacles will include a makeshift neighbourhood inspired by the French region known for its German roots and charming medieval architecture.
The centrepiece of the market will, of course, be a giant illuminated Christmas tree.
The Grand Marché de Noël will be just one of three large Christmas events in the city this year. The Atwater and Jean-Talon markets are also set to host a collection of local vendors in holiday-themed huts.
In total, according to organizing company La Lutinerie, over 100 artisans and producers will be selling their goods.
La Lutinerie promises mulled wine and churros to keep you warm and filled with holiday cheer.