While it's great to gain confidence by learning things on your own, it's also ok to get help along the way. A lot of us moved to Montreal with the same questions, and experienced the same problems. What we all could have used when we first moved here was a list of hacks to better navigate this island. Want to know how to skip the line and get a table at a club, or get video games for free, or how to avoid waiting in line at the clinic? Read on for the best MTL hacks.
1. Speaking of Apps you need to get, DINR is a reservation app that can find you last-minute restaurant availabilities. Get a spot at some of the best restaurants in the city without having to call ahead.
2. Reserve your bottle and table at the club ahead of time. No one wants to stand in line, outside, angrily staring at the bouncer letting people arbitrarily. With the bottle bookings app you can now make reservations, skip the line, and get straight to the party.
3. When you need groceries on a statutory holiday, go to the Asian stores. If you need some missing ingredients for the family Christmas dinner, there are a ton of Asian and Middle Eastern stores that will be open when all else is closed.
Photo cred - Tiko Tak
4. Don’t get out of bed to move the car from one side of the street to the other anymore! To know if you can park during the no parking period, call the red telephone number appearing on the parking sign. If no road maintenance or snow removal is planned during the winter, a message will let you know if can leave your car on the street during the restricted times.
5. Use a Car-sharing service instead of owning one. There's Communauto that has station-based vehicles that can be booked in advance online for less than $2/hour. For a little extra, Auto-mobile will let you drop off the car anywhere you want in their service area for hassle-free rentals. Car 2 Go is another option for those who don't want to return the car to its original starting point, and allows you to do it in a Smart car for easier parking!
6. Get cheaper flights to the U.S. by crossing the border. Fares between U.S. cities can be hundreds of dollars less than flying directly from a Canadian city. There’s two options: A greyhound bus can take you to Plattsburgh in 70 minutes from Montreal. The airlines tend to be no-frills and have limited destinations, but it’s close and cheap! Burlington airport is just under 2 hours from Montreal by bus. It has a few major carriers, and you can even find deals for hotel and parking while you're on vacation.
7. Speaking of cheap flights, you need to try hidden-city ticketing. This means getting off half way on a connecting flight. While not strictly a Montreal thing, it can save you a couple of hundred dollars if planned right, which is about how much extra you’re being charged because of la Belle Province.
8. Plan a round-trip on one bus/metro ticket. You can take as many different bus routes within a 2 hour time frame, as long as it's never on the same bus number. Since the metro counts as one route, there is an infinite possibility for a thrifty traveler to head to one destination, and back home again on one ticket, as long as it’s within 120 minutes.
9. If you buy monthly metro passes, save your receipts! The federal government has been offering a non-refundable tax credit on monthly public transit fares. This credit is 15% which amounts to a $143 credit.
10. You can now pay a parking meter in Montreal with a smartphone. The P$ Mobile Service app will even remind you 15 minutes before your parking time is up. Use your smartphone wherever you happen to be to pay for your parking space!
Photo cred - Life Way Sport
11. Did you know that most walk-in clinics have a number to call to make an appointment for the next day? Avoid waiting at the clinic for hours by calling the night before. To find the number for the closest clinic, call 811 to speak with a nurse who will find one for you, or go to this website and search your area (French only).
12. There are two pharmacies in Montreal with pharmacists on duty 24 hours a day to prepare prescriptions and give advice. These are great numbers to have saved in your phone in case of emergencies. These pharmacists are available by appointment, so call ahead.
24 Hour Jean Coutu
Téléphone 514 285-2646
24 Hour Pharmaprix
13. Go to the gym or try out a new fitness class without a membership. GymBirds helps you discover non-contract fitness classes and gyms in your area and get access to the pass quickly and easily. Get fit without the commitment.
Photo cred - Tax Credits
14. Get free video games for checkout at the library. Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec has a video games collection that circulates approximately 500 games for Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 consoles. Game on for free!
15. Follow your favorite bars and restaurants on Facebook and Twitter to find about discounts. Businesses and brands are using social media to advertise their coupons, deals, and special occasions. It’s worth a few extra advertisements in your news-feed.
16. Sign-up for to deal-of-the-day websites to save big on just about everything. These "aggregator" sites take the deals from various sites and package them into one collective e-mail. These are great for gifts for that person who has everything. Montreal is well-served by these sites: Groupon, LivingSocial.com, tuango.com, mtlarabais
17. Find free parking on residential streets with an app. Available on Android, parkcatcher displays parking spots where parking is allowed at the time you need.
18. Or, if you need to go downtown and want to find the cheapest available option, check out best parking with their interactive map and prices displayed for each parking lot.
19. Get some prime napping time or time out by renting a space for an hour or two. Breather is a Montreal start-up offering space on-demand for $15 an hour. Simply download an app and reserve small rooms — complete with sofa, chairs, a small table, and a yoga mat — in office buildings, for an hour or more.
20. 311 is the number to call to find out just about everything you need to know about services in Montreal. Call to report a problem, order a resident-only parking permit for your car, or find out when garbage day is after you move into your new apartment. The website says that they are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m to 8 :30 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays, 365 days a year. They even have a Twitter account that provides daily updates of useful info
21. Want to know what’s open 24 hours/day in Montreal? There’s a website for that! This is a great link to save in your favorites when you're too drunk to Google search.
22. There’s a website for people searching for a new apartment near a dog park. Montreal dog park displays all dog parks on the island to help you find the best option for you and your four-legged friend.
23. Sign up to the newsletter for jobs for the city of Montreal. There are a lot of jobs and paid internships for students! SIMON, recrutement Montréal (French only)
24. Cut down on your data usage by remembering these free Wi-Fi hotspots. Most Starbucks, McDonald's, Tim Horton's, Java U, and Second Cup chains, as well as most of the underground city has free Wi-Fi. If you want to be outside, there's Dorchester Square and Wi-Fi access on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, between Sherbrooke Street and Mont-Royal Avenue. For more free public wireless Internet access points, use the Île Sans Fil app.
25. Read MTL Blog! – Literally everything you would want to know about what’s going on in this city is all conveniently collected in one place.