There are so many spectacular experience that distinguish Montreal culture: walks up Mount Royal, trips to Jean-Talon market, Mural festival, etc.
But such outings hardly define the Montrealer's quotidian experiences. Daily life in Montreal is much grittier than the tourist websites make it out to be. It takes real spunk to make it in this town.
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Here are 13 experiences that prove you're a true Montreal resident:
1. You come across a man peeing on a wall.
The walls that line Montreal streets are known for two things: murals and urine. You'd be hard pressed to walk in the Plateau Mont-Royal on a weekend evening and NOT see a man relieving himself in the corner of a quiet (or not so quiet) street. Maybe the new public toilets will address the issue...but probably not.
2. You've tripped on a pothole while crossing the street.
The roads in Quebec are in bad condition. They are a hazard not just to cars, but also to innocent pedestrians. The moment you fall to your knees while crossing the street and fear for your life you know you're on your way to becoming a true Montrealer.
3. You fall on the ice and get a giant bruise on your bum.
For a city with a six month winter, Montreal is notoriously bad a snow clean-up. It takes twice as long to reach your destination in the darkest depths of January. Despite attempts to shuffle over ice, you've definitely fallen and thought you broke your hip.
4. A sidewalk plow operator screamed at you.
A follow-up to #3. The little snow plows that patrol the sidewalks in the winter are pretty cute machines...until you happen to be in their direct path and their sirens wail until you get out of the way. Often, they force you to step knee-deep into a snow bank. The power over the city's mobility defnitely gets to their operators' heads.
5. The police stopped you for "jaywalking."
The police in Montreal prefer to police pedestrians than out-of-control motorists. Arriving at the other side of the street just seconds after the walk signal expires can come with a hefty fine.
6. If you live downtown, you find puke outside your apartment on Sunday morning.
Ah yes, the weekly puke. Nothing can spoil a beautiful a beautiful weekend morning like some reveler's half-digested dinner decorating your stoop. I call them Saturday night artists...
7. Your commute was delayed because of a strike.
Strikes and workers' protests are popular in Quebec. And that's a good thing! The culture of fighting for better conditions makes the province a more equitable society. But the demonstrations can also frustrate morning commuters. Whether it's a blocked street or a delayed metro train, strikes mark daily life in Montreal.
8. Someone touches your ass on the metro.
I'm a guy and I've never experienced such fondling as is common on the Montreal metro. I can't even imagine what metro rides must be like for women.
9. Construction forces you to take an alternate route.
Montreal infrastructure exists in either of two conditions: dilapidated and in desperate need of repair, or forever under construction. For some reason, the simplest construction projects take YEARS. Otherwise direct commutes becomes serpentine daily routes as a result.
10. A sex worker propositions you.
Hey, sex workers are people too and like all of us, they need to work to make a living. The sex and sex entertainment industry is huge in Montreal and that means that sometimes you can find yourself the subject of a proposition.
11. Construction puts you in danger.
Construction projects are extremely poorly managed in Montreal. There seem to be few regulations to protect pedestrians. If you're a Montrealer, you've definitely been walking aimlessly only to nearly fall into an unmarked hole in the sidewalk.
12. Municipal corruption becomes palpable.
Construction is such a huge part of the Montreal daily experience that it encompasses three different items on this list. Poor management, constant danger, and band-aid fixes all point to corrupt bidding processes.
13. You love to hate and hate to love all of it.
Sure, Montreal has its quirks. But taking part in all the experience on this list make you feel like you belong in this magnificent city.