Photo cred- @fred514
With close to 2 million people living just on the island and about 4 million living in the general metropolitan area, Montreal is the province's first and the nation's second most populated city. It's no New York, but it still makes for some pretty unique living conditions compared to its rural counterparts.
There’s a long list of reasons why living in Montreal is fantastic, and this article features none of them. Instead, let’s talk about some of the hazards of living au centre-ville.
From bed bugs to turnt up froshies, here are just a few of the risks you take moving to the downtown circuit.
Photo cred - tkaravou
1. Constant Poverty
From Jazzfest to Osheaga, Igloofest to Just for Laughs, it seems like there's a festival every weekend, and a new must eat restaurant opening every day. Living downtown means you’re probably next door to a decent pub, and around the corner from a quaint brunch café. The problem’s that because the city is relatively small and accessible you’re always within reasonable distance to whatever event or celebration is taking place. There’s just no excuse not to go out. Until you run out of money. But that’s fine, being poor is basically the latest art trend anyways.
2. Shopping at PA
Get those knee pads out and take off any jagged rings, it’s time to do groceries. With their vast selection of produce, meats and cheeses, possibly the most affordable prices in North America, and their fast and efficient delivery system, it makes sense that the PA is as busy as an Irish pub on St Patty’s Day. Shopping at the PA is like training for an MMA match, except the cage is on wheels and there’s no referees to save you from the toothless grandma who tries to steal your pound of $1 Brie cheese. Get off grandma, you can have the Roquefort!
Photo cred - Roland Tanglao
3. Being Hit by a BIXI
I was taught to bike on a residential street and to be wary of cars and potholes. No one warned me of the perils of city bikers. I don’t know if they’re brave or just insane, because the fortitude and fearlessness with which they pedal down the streets is simply overwhelming. I’m pretty sure the BIXI logo is “step into the fire and you will get burned.” The crux of it is stay out of their way or they'll mow you the fvck down.
4. Half Naked Froshies
You’re walking home from work along Sherbrooke enjoying the quiet sound of cars flowing past you and the glow of street lights coming to life. It’s late August, the sun is setting and you feel the barest hint of fall’s chill rustle through the air. All is well with the world. But then something catches your attention in the distance. A streak of color flashes ahead. The calm of the night is interrupted with what sounds like an ambulance or an out of tune choir band. And that’s when your stomach sinks and you realize what’s coming towards you. You feel a cold sweat break out across your neck and your heart palpitates ever so slightly. You ready yourself as the swarm races closer, and their screams infect the air. A horde of them rush past you, and you thank Nicholas Cage, our one true God, that they didn’t sense your fear. That’s when you look up and notice they were just the beginning. For here comes behind them a pack of a hundred, no wait a thousand. Half naked froshies. And they just keep charging closer...
5. Terrasses in Your Walkway
Terrasse season is the best season. It signals playoffs, sangria and the early signs of summer. But it also means the sidewalks are hijacked by terrasses and tourists, and poses a dark side for us locals: the awkward dance you have to do as you walk through the waiters section and almost crash into his tray of drinks; seeing all the retched people enjoying their sunshine and afternoon cocktails while you’re just trying to get to work; the infuriating subtle push of the crowds forcing you onto the street and into the treacherous bike paths; and finally, the knowledge that you can never complain about any of this because Montrealers love their terrasses and you will be ostracized quicker than Piggy in Lord of the Flies. Did I say ostracized? I meant murdered.
6. Trying to Find Parking
Good. Fkn. Luck.
7. Playoff Maniacs
Habs fans are a peculiar breed. The Habs are our point of pride, they represent our spirit and joie de vivre, and for Montrealers playoff season can be even more magical than Christmas. Like a lightning storm in the summer you can just feel the energy crackling in the air when the Habs are winning. This is all well and dandy for local Montrealers, however there is a very loud and extreme sub-group of playoff maniacs who take it all to whole other level. These are the mobs who feed off the vibe and use it as an excuse to riot and trash our city. Way to ruin it for everyone guys.
Photo cred - Brad Clinesmith
8. Rats, Roaches, and Bed Bugs oh my!
Just like that bout of the clap you had last summer, no one wants to talk about pest infestations in Montreal. But they’re a reality. Whether it’s Ratatouille trying to Shawshank Redemption his way into your barely maintained apartment, or the flutter of roaches you hear when you turn on your bathroom light, Montreal has some serious bug problems. Bed bugs may be the more taboo and frightening of the bunch once you realize they’re the insect version of vampires, sustaining themselves solely on your unwilling human blood. The best thing you can do if you have a pest infestation is just admit defeat and jump off the roof.