Photo cred - Vi
CNN has started to do a cool series showcasing what makes countries and cities from around the world better than anywhere. The news corp already did Canada, but as Montrealers know, our city has a lot to offer that you can't get elsewhere in the nation, or the world. So we took it upon ourselves to make our own list of things Montreal does better than anywhere else. Read on and find out what makes Montreal uniquely awesome.
No one can argue the intense fervor Montrealers have for their hockey team the Montreal Canadiens. Fans flock to the Bell Center, filling up the entire arena, nearly every game. Montreal ranks second in the highest average attendance in all of North America (just behind Chicago, because they have standing room seats), with an average game attendance of 21,273 fans. The Canadiens haven't won in a while, but that doesn't stop Montreal from taking Hockey more seriously than any other city. Riots have been started because of it.
Look around Montreal and you'll see the beauty of the city, not just in its architecture, people, or nature, but on the many murals gracing the walls of the city's buildings. Montreal hosts some of the best graffiti festivals in the nation (Under Pressure, Mural fest) and the city is incredibly relaxed about unsanctioned street art as well, letting it remain on walls and beautify the city rather than take it down. Home to many awesome street artists, the MTL graffiti scene is one of the best the world has to offer.
Montreal is new to the food truck scene, and the city does it like nowhere else. Some have argued that Montreal's food trucks are a bit too pricey or fancy for what a food truck is supposed to be, but no one can argue against the pure deliciousness of the dishes MTL food trucks served this summer. Where else can you get duck confit poutine on the side of the road? Nowhere, thought so. Read more on the awesomeness of MTL food trucks compared to other cities here.
Fashion is central to Montreal culture, and not only because it makes us look so good. Around 232, 500 people work retail in Montreal, making it the largest job sector of the city, with 1 in 10 people in the industry. Montreal even kept these numbers up during the economic slow down a few years ago. Combine that with the huge amounts of stores the city houses (above and below ground, independent and franchised), the many fashion shows and festivals the city hosts, and a focus on winter wear, you get a clear picture as to why nowhere else does fashion quite like Montreal.
The people of Montreal dress well, but even without the clothes we're still beautiful. Men and women are equally fine in Montreal, leaving many to wonder if there's something in the water. Montreal consistently ranks as the city with the most beautiful women throughout the web (AskMen, Notable, TravelersDigest to name a few), has a larger female to male ratio, and with a very large gay community there's a somebody attractive for anyone to get busy with. Singles and swingers rejoice.
If you live in Montreal, you love to party. If you visit Montreal, you've done so to party. Montreal has earned, and very much deserves, its reputation as the Sin City of Canada, and is a hell of a lot cheaper than Vegas. Streets like Crescent and St. Laurent are jam packed with bars and clubs, and it's not like the rest of the city is barren either. Montreal has a place to party for any demographic, from frat boys, to hipsters, to cougars, and everything in between. A super large student population, and the party spirit of locals, keep the party-magic alive even during the frigid winter months. No wonder Montreal is such a hot spot for bachelor/ette parties.
Poutine is celebrated all over Quebec, as it should be, but Montreal is definitely the poutine capital of the province, Canada, and the entire world. You can get the classic version at greasy staples like La Belle Province, or get more crazy poutine creations at fancier eatery like Au Pied de Cachon, a food truck or a poutine-focused restaurant. What other city has as many restos dedicated to poutine?
Yes, strip clubs are in almost every city, just not quite like in Montreal. Our city has a certain carefree attitude when it comes to strip clubs. They aren't tucked away into the seedy sectors of the city, as our strip clubs are on the busiest of streets, and even next to book stores or businesses. Special cultural events are even held at strip clubs, like the famous Cafe Cleopatra. Montreal doesn't discriminate either, as there are strip clubs for whatever your fancy is, be it guys, girls, or whatever else you're into.
Summer in Montreal is known as festival season for a reason. Just for Laughs, Jazz Fest, Montreal World Film Festival, Les FrancoFolies de Montréal, Nuits d'Afrique, Pop Montreal, Divers/Cité, Fierté Montréal and the Montreal Fireworks Festival are only a fraction of the entire amount of festivals, some of which are the largest of their kind in the world. We don't slow down in winter either, with Nuit Blanche, Igloofest, and RDIM. No matter the season, Montreal gets festive.
Not trying to stir up the never-ending MTL vs. NYC bagel debate, I just want to point to the fact that Montreal does bagels in a unique way unseen anywhere else. Made with added honey and baked in a wood-fire oven, Montreal bagels have an iconic texture and flavour the reflects the awesomeness that is the city.
Toughing Out the Cold
Look outside right now. Yeah, its friggin' frigid in Montreal, but do we complain? No, we take winter in stride and bitch small amount, at least compared to how other cities handle the cold. I don't think New York, Toronto, or any other city fights off winter chills as well as Montreal. Sometimes we may complain, but its much more of a community binding conversation starter than straight up bitching. Montrealers brave the cold together, as a city, and we handle it better than anywhere else.
Did we leave out something Montreal has/does unseen anywhere else in the world? Were one of our top ten way off? Up or downvote in the comments below.
Want more Montreal musings, cool news bits, and general hilarity? Follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte