Photo cred - Fred_514
When spending time in any city, there are certain standards, guidelines, straight-up rules to observe if you ever hope to absorb the culture and not stick out like a sore thumb. Every city generally has fairly common ideals to respect regardless, but each one also has its own location-specific set of norms that defines its unique flavour. Montreal is obviously no exception, so if you want to be sure to always see the friendlier side of the city, for your own sake, keep the following list of things you just don't do in mind at all times.
1. Refuse To Learn At Least Some French
Montreal is located in Quebec, and Quebec is French. As cosmopolitan as Montreal is, the fact is, French is the dominant language so you will have a very tough time if you don't make the effort to acquire at least a basic working knowledge of the vernacular.
2. Vandalize Someone's Fresh Mural
Walk around the downtown core and you will soon notice the impressive amount of colourful and creative murals painted on almost every available wall. Montreal is proud of our street art and one thing we hate to see is some shitty tag or random scribble on someone's dedicated mural art.
3. Push For Sovereignty
The sovereignty debate in Quebec has been around for ages, with separation coming close to being a reality on a few separate occasions, but thankfully Montreal has largely kept this from happening. Montreal does not believe in it and we are sick of talking about it.
4. Be Cruel To Animals, The Homeless, Or The Environment
Humans can be downright nasty to one another, a sad fact that I'm sure most of us would like to remedy as much as possible, but being cruel to defenseless animals, homeless people, or the environment is completely unacceptable in Montreal.
5. Listen To Music Without Headphones
Music is a way of life, and while technology has revolutionized the boom box to fit in the palm of our hand, it doesn't mean that blasting your musical preferences for all to hear is still in style. Enjoy your music as loud as you want, but in your own head.
6. Walk Slowly In The Middle Of The Sidewalk
Any big city is crowded, especially on the main arteries, but that doesn't mean you should make it worse but walking down the middle of the sidewalk, oblivious to those around you trying to get by. Even worse still is suddenly halting to look at something or check your phone, causing the person behind to crash into you.
7. Talk About How Much You Love Winter
Summer in Montreal is just about the most magical place on earth for both tourists and especially locals alike. When winter eventually rears its ugly head (as it always effin' does), Montreal goes into serious withdrawal, so sharing with everyone how wonderful you think winter is just might get you shot, or at least put on a list.
8. Dare Argue That The Maple Leafs Are The Better Team
If you are coming to Montreal planning to cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, do yourself a favour, and don't bother. If you want to experience true hate, express your undying devotion and admiration for that inferior hockey club.
9. Piss Off A Student
If you didn't already know, Montreal has a bit of an affinity for student protesting, with large numbers of them overrunning the streets to demonstrate against various political and socio-economical issues. Does it interrupt our daily commutes and city functions? Sure. But never, ever, raise the ire of Montreal students, unless of course you enjoy public unrest.
10. Not Pay Attention To Cyclists
Montreal is ranked as a top city in the world for cycling, and as such, this mode of transportation is extremely prevalent and only getting more and more popular. Montreal has done a pretty good job at laying down bike lanes throughout the city, working everyday to improve and extend the network, but if you are not paying attention to cyclists and sharing the road with them, you're just a bad person.
11. Be overly loud and obnoxious
Montrealers can always point out Americans in the crowd because they are invariably crass and over-the-top loud. This is not to say that locals don't behave the same way, but the message here is that there are limits to how loud and obnoxious you can be and get away with.
12. Pluck And Eat A Raw Bird On The Metro
The underground is a well of strangers and other oddities, and while this is to be somewhat expected, there are certain things that cross the line. De-feathering and feasting on a raw bird while riding on the metro tends to be one of them.
13. Deny That Montreal Is The Greatest City In Canada, Nay, The World
Montreal is NarCity, or completely narcissistic in other words. Spend any amount of time in Montreal and you quickly realize how self-obsessed we are compared to other cities in Canada. That's because Montreal is awesome and saying otherwise is just not the Montreal way.
14. Drive A Scooter In The Bike Lane
Wanna piss people off? Drive a scooter in the bike lane. Cyclists already have a tough enough time on the road as it is without some scooter asshole hogging up their lane. Just don't do it.
15. Ride A Horse-Drawn Carriage
The Old Port is known for it's cobblestone streets and charming horse-drawn carriages, but understand that Montrealers do not ride them to get around. Sure, they're lovely to look at, and if you're a tourist in the city, it may seem like a nice way to spend the afternoon, but there are better, and more humane ways to take in the sights.
16. Categorize Montrealers As Any One Thing
A true mark of distinction for Montreal is its cultural mosaic that encourages originality in its many forms. Montrealers come in all shapes and sizes and enjoy a wide array of interests, hobbies, tastes, and styles, so trying to pigeonhole us is not a mistake you should make.
17. Hate On Anything Poutine Or Bacon Related
Regardless of your personal tastes or beliefs, if you are not prepared to accept Montreal's undying love for all things poutine and/or bacon related, you will find yourself often offended. Poutine is as about as Montreal as it gets, and bacon is a city-wide obsession that doesn't appear to be going anywhere.
18. Report Someone For Smoking A Harmless Weed Cigarette
Over the last couple of years, drug policies have rapidly evolved to accommodate the growing need for medicinal marijuana, even being completely legalized in some states. Montreal is not quite there yet, but Montrealers enjoy relative freedom to indulge in a little (or alot) of pot out in public, and narcing on someone for doing so is just not cool.
19. Discriminate Against Or Disrespect A Fellow Montrealer
This really applies globally, but Montreal sees acts of discrimination or disrespect toward our fellow peeps as a true violation, one which hardly ever goes unnoticed. We practice P.L.U.R. religiously, and failing to do so will get you a seriously bad reputation.
20. Take Anything Too Seriously Or Personally
After everything is said and done, the most important lesson here is not to take anything too seriously or to heart. Montreal is a fun-loving city, constantly looking for a good time and to enjoy itself to the fullest. The best advice we can offer: if you start taking things too personally in Montreal, you'll never make it out alive.