Photo cred - @tinybumblebee
A new school year is here, meaning a boatload of new students have entered the city, many of which may know next to nothing about Montreal.
Montreal is, in many ways, designed for students, and during your time here, you'll learn many of the fantastic features the city offers which makes academic life even easier. Lets trim the fat and bypass the weeks it would normally take to learn some of the better city-features for students and get straight to the good stuff with the pointers we've compiled.
If you're student that's new to Montreal and still trying to figure out which neighbourhood or apartment building is best to live at, you need to check out evo student residency. We're sure you've seen that huge bubble filled with a fully stocked bedroom on Sherbrooke, corner du Parc. The reaction you have when seeing that bubble is the same reaction you'll have when visiting the place. Evo is a residency that's made for students which includes all amenities, an indoor pool, a gym and a whole lot more with it's Midtown location and one in Vieux- Montreal. This is only one of the things every student in Montreal needs to know about, but it is one of the most pertinent.
Photo credit- Moving 2 Canada
Grocery Stores & Discounts
Eating out all the time isn't exactly budget-friendly, and sometimes you want a home-cooked meal instead of what you're dining hall is serving, so taking a trip to the grocery store is pretty necessary for students. If you do make the trip, you should almost always go on Mondays, when Métro, Provigo, and most other grocery stores offer a 10% student discount. Many will offer the discount on Tuesdays and Wednesday too, just be sure to have your student ID on you, otherwise you won't be saving any money.
It's also good to know which grocery stores have certain special features. Nearly all major spots will have delivery for a $1 charge (not including tip) but specifically: 4-Frères on St. Laurent is open 24hrs, Supermarché PA in Mile End is notoriously the cheapest, and Atwater and Jean-Talon are the city's premiere farmers markets with fresh produce and specialty items.
Photo credit- Wikipedia
The OPUS Card Discount
Most students, especially those living in a rez close to campus, will not even pay a second thought to public transit, which is their loss. Though they may not need to use the STM network every day to get to school, there will be instances when a bus or metro ride will get you to the bar/party/destination faster than walking and cheaper than a cab. That's where the monthly OPUS card comes in.
Buying a monthly pass may seem like overkill, and it would be, if not for the gigantic discount students get in Montreal on their OPUS card. For little over $45 dollars, you can no stress ride the bus and metro as many times as you like. Essential for those living off-campus, and a great way to explore the city for those who don't. Get more info on the STM website.
Photo cred- Montreal In Pictures
Downtown Isn't Everything
Montreal's nightlife scene isn't limited to Crescent and St. Laurent street. Beyond the downtown core and the trendy Plateau area, there are still tons of cool bars and clubs to check out. A little bit research will go a long way, as most other 'hoods don't have the wall-to-wall bar action of St. Lo or Crescent, you'll want to have a specific spot chosen out. Mile End is great for trendy pubs and bar, with Chez Serge being a less hip venue (with a mechanical bull!) and Rosemont is now becoming a legit go-to area, with Nacho Libre and the newly opened Brutus Bar.
To give you some inpsiration, here are a a few lists to help you choose some bars outside of your city-comfort zone:
- Best Montreal Dive Bars
- 10 Montreal Sangria Spots
- 15 Montreal Bars With The Cheapest Beer
- Best Montreal Gay Bars & Events Outside Of The Village
Photo cred- Electron
Cheap Eats & Munchies
Food is so essential to Montreal living we just had to include two posts on dining in the city. Obviously, as students, you're not going to be dropping mad cheddar on where you eat out, because you need money for books, or beer, or whatever you're spending your dough on. Its a good thing Montreal is such a student-friendly city, because there are tons of places where you can get a meal for $10, $5, or even less. No, we're not talking about a campus samosa sale (which are great for on-the-go snacking, but beware living on a solely samosa diet) as there truly are a lot of cheap and delicious offerings all around the city. Use these two resources to eat well for less
Sundays & The Picnic Law
For those reading who aren't Montreal natives, we're not sure how Sundays were spent in your home city, but in Montreal, it is definitely not a day of rest. Sundays are all about picnics and chilling in a variety of ways. For those looking for a very relaxing, while altogether interesting Sunday, head to Tams at Mount Royal Park, where Montreal's weird population gather to bang on drums, do circus tricks, duke it out with medieval gear, or just chill in the sun.
On the other hand you have Piknic Electronik at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Piknic'ers are just as varied and eclectic, though the event has much more of a party vibe, being a weekly electronic musical festival.
Worth noting, especially if you're going to Tams, is Montreal's Picnic Law. Basically, the rule states that you can bring alcohol to the park and drink it worry-free so long as you have some food on you that counts as a "meal." Meal is in quotations because the classification can be very vague, and the rule is rarely enforced anyway.
Not All Deps Are Equal
Okay, if you're a super MTL-noob, "dep" is the short form of "depanneur" which is just another word for corner/convenience store. Now, being kinda crafty, many deps near campuses or student residences will jack up their prices a bit, knowing full well that students are willing to pay more for the convenience of being two steps from their home. Don't get caught in the scheme, because a block further down there may be another dep, with all the same stuff, just for cheaper prices. Always on our recommend list is Super Depanneur on Parc/Prince Arthur, but be sure to check out these quality deps too.
Another key point of information to know about deps is that all of them, no matter what, will stop selling alcohol at 11pm. Deps are only allowed to sell beer and wine, so if you want a few brews or a bottle with dinner, head there before the 11pm mark.
Buying & Selling Books
It isn't much of a secret that universities charge a lot for course packs, required readings, and text books. Add that to the fact that unversity bookstores who you bought the books from buy them back at a fraction of the original cost, and you've got a serious dent in your budget.
Don't let your campus bookstore bleed you dry and look at other alternatives for buying/selling books. One Montreal-made website, SwapMyBooks.com, is designed to facilitate student to student transactions, a solid resource for buyers and sellers. Also be sure to check out your school's community and program boards for similar listings.
Places To Study
Now, once you actually have your books and are ready to study (so by midterms) you're gonna need a comfy spot where you can get some work done. The library is fine during off-season, but once cram time kicks in, the place becomes a hub of stress and students running on nothing but energy drinks.
Not exactly the most healthy environment to focus in, so head out to one of Montreal's many cafe-libraries, or for the night owls and people in serious need of study time, check out a 24hr study spot.
Or, if all else fails, just go to one of these free wi-fi spots in the city.
A kind of random expense most students don't really think of when moving to a new city all by their lonesome is laundry. No more at-home washer and dryer you can use all you like, as all rez's (and apartments) will have pay-per-load machines that are rarely top of the line. Plus, many can cost dollars on dollars per load, meaning a laundry sesh can get pretty pricey.
Be sure to take a look online at laundromats in your vicinity (here's Yelp's and another list to get you started) but if you really want a laundry-treat, head to Blanc De Blanc, a combo laundromat and cafe which is perfect for getting work done while you wait for your duds to soak.
Tip: Evo Montreal's student residency is fully loaded with washers and dryers at your service.
Automatic Lease Renewals
Now, here's one every student needs to learn at some point, unless you somehow plan to live in rez your entire university career. Most leases last 12 months, from when you sign to the following year, but a lot of students get ripped into staying in a place longer due to Quebec's strange automatic lease renewal rule. Basically, you'll be ensnared for another year at your place unless you say otherwise.
Most landlords will give you ample heads up, letting you know by what time you need to tell them you'll be staying or leaving. Generally, though, just in case, let your landlord know two months ahead of time, in writing, so you aren't screwed over. You could always transfer your lease if all else fails, but let them handle finding new tenants rather than you. Read more on leases in Montreal here.
Tip: If you're looking for stress free, all inclusive lease, check out evo Montreal.
Like any big city, Montreal's got lots going on and we want to make sure that you know all about it.