- One of the most Eastern Canadian debates that comes up time and time again is: Montreal vs Toronto — which is the better city?
- We here at MTL Blog naturally hold a bias to that question but have decided to take a look at the good and the bads of both cities.
- Find out which city suits you better below!
Montreal and Toronto have been "frenemies" for as long as I can remember. There has always a little competition when it comes to Montreal vs Toronto. And as a Montreal native, I have always sided with my city. We can't always help our biases, right?
The reality is, both cities have a variety of different things to offer and although Montreal is and will always be the better of the two in my eyes, Toronto isn’t all that bad.
A lot of people have the misconception that these two big Canadian cities have a lot in common, but I see them as quite different through my eyes.
The list could go on forever but I decided to narrow it down to the ten main differences between the cities. Some of these distinctions are obvious while others are slightly less surface.
When push comes to shove, Toronto may be a great city, but it does not have that je ne sais quoi that we find in the streets of Montreal. Montreal has a warmth that is unmatched and as hard as Toronto tries, the vibe is always just a little off.
Montrealers Speak French
One of the coolest things about Montreal is that it is a bilingual city — something that Toronto just isn’t. It really doesn't mean all that much when Torontonians hit you with the typical "I did French immersion until grade 12" sentence.
The European flair of our French-speaking city is one of the main and most obvious differences Montreal and Toronto have. The fact that Montreal is a bilingual city gives us an advantage over Toronto.
First, we pretty much all speak another language, which allows us to stand out in other cities. By speaking French, we have been able to embrace two cultures in one city, which is pretty awesome.
They Have Street Cars
Okay, so I'm not going to lie — this is pretty cool. Toronto has streetcars, and although there have been talks of adding these awesome carts to our streets, it has yet to be done.
Montreal is blessed with a pretty decent public transportation system but I have to say, I'm a little jealous that Toronto has these cool streetcars and we don’t.
With that being said, I still believe that Montreal has a better metro system. Since our entire system is underground, we never need to think about weather, which can be problematic in Toronto.
A lot of Torontonians feel like our metro system is a little more organized due to our well-integrated payment system. Even with the streetcars, Montreal wins this one.
Our Rent Is Lower
Rent in Toronto has gotten ridiculously high and although Montreal is not cheap, compared to Toronto — it is. But, unfortunately for us, rent here is going up all the same.
With the cost of living being lower in Montreal, it gives us locals the freedom to enjoy our earnings a little bit more. All in all, you get more bang for your buck in our city!
It Gets Colder Here
As someone who despises winter and all it has to offer, I have to say that I'm really jealous Toronto winters are not as bad as ours.
I love my city oh so very much but there are certain mornings — you know the ones, those really dark 7 a.m. walks to the metro — where I really wish that I didn’t live here.
Toronto may claim "We The North," but with Montreal being more North than them, it explains why it is so much colder here. Winters in Toronto can be compared to winters in New England, which are quite cold, but can't compare to the frozen tundra that is Montreal during the winter.
The reality is, I would still rather freeze in Montreal than live in Toronto. Sorry, not sorry!
We Can Drink At 18
This is just one of the many reasons why Montreal rocks! Those who grew up in Ontario know that the legal drinking age is 19 whereas, in Quebec, you can get your drink on when you hit your 18th birthday.
Although this is only a one year difference, it is still something that Montreal natives have that Torontonians don’t.
They Have Street Food
We may have some of the best food in the world, we may have food trucks, but we don’t have street food.
If I'm being honest, the only time I would probably eat street food is when I'm extremely drunk. Besides that, I don’t think I would indulge in it too much.
I must say, this is something that Toronto has that we don’t, so point for them I guess?
Toronto Has Better Roads
Surprise, surprise, Montreal has the worst roads. We know this, we complain about this, and we have yet to accept this. Construction will forever be a part of our daily lives here in Montreal.
For some reason, Toronto does not have this problem. I'm Montreal’s number one fan but I gotta say, if there is one thing I would take from Toronto, it would be their lack of potholes.
We Have The Montreal Canadiens
They may have more sports teams than we do, but we have the Montreal Canadiens — take that, Toronto. Montreal lives and breathes hockey. And, we don’t have to pretend to like the Leafs.
We may have not been having the best of seasons lately, but I would take being a Habs fan over a Leafs one any day! (No offence to Auston Matthews)
Montreal Knows Food
It will take a lot for me to say that Toronto has better food than Montreal, but I will say that they have stepped up their game in the past few years.
Although Toronto has an abundance of great restaurants, there is a lack of good Lebanese and Greek food that forces me to pick Montreal.
Our City Lives & Breathes Parks
One thing Montreal has that not many cities possess is an abundance of parks, each more beautiful than the next. This is one of the many things that make our city stand out to tourists, especially those coming from Toronto.
Toronto has a lot fewer parks, which makes for a lot less greenery, which is something that creates such a charm in any city.
Don’t get me wrong, Toronto has some gorgeous parks like High Park and Rouge National Park, but they're not as easy to find as they are in Montreal.
Toronto wants to be a concrete jungle (or I guess it already is?) while Montreal still wants that taste of comfort that comes along with nature.
We Cherish The Old Buildings
Montreal is one of the oldest cities in North America, dating back to 1642, which makes it over 100 years older than Toronto.
Since our city is older, there are a lot of old architectural buildings that are simply breathtaking. France influenced the architecture in Montreal, which is why we have that old, European charm.
Toronto sadly got most of its influence from the Americans, which is why it lacks the charisma that Montreal has.
If I'm being honest, Toronto has some pretty epic old buildings but unlike Montreal, they are spread out throughout the city, which gives you the impression of them not being there at all. I'm sorry Toronto, but Montreal wins this one!
Toronto Is Less Of A Mess
Not only are our streets a mess compared to Toronto but the all-around cleanliness of our city is a little questionable. I'm the biggest advocate for Montreal but I have to say, it has gotten a little dirty over the past few years.
The streets in Toronto seem to be much cleaner than the street in Montreal, which makes me really sad. Us Montreal locals need to really do a better job in putting in an effort when it comes to our streets, especially during the winter. Come spring, when the snow melts, our city looks like a garbage can.
I hate to admit it — but Toronto wins this one.
Montreal Has A Lot To Offer
So this one is definitely a personal opinion, but we're all allowed to have them — right?
Both Toronto and Montreal have a ton of fun things to do in and around the city. One of the most popular things to do in Toronto is to go see the CN tower, which is kind of cool. Toronto has a ton of great shopping, concerts and museums to go check out.
On the other hand, they don’t have some of the epic festivals like we do, such as Just for Laughs, Jazz Fest, and my personal favourite weekend in our city, Grand Prix.
We have a long list of museums to visit and a ton of landmarks to check out. Both cities have a lot to offer depending on what you are looking to do, but I'm biased and need to go with my hometown on this one.
Toronto Has More American Chains
Some nights, when I'm lying in bed, I dream that there is a Chipotle in Montreal. Then I'm forced to remember that there is one in Toronto, and it makes me a little angry.
Most American chains find themselves opening shop in Toronto before hitting the streets of Montreal. Part of this is because of our language laws and the other reason is that Toronto is simply on fire right now.
With that being said, Toronto, a point for you.
The colour of our city is orange and it is something we are all kind of annoyed with.
I hate to admit it but our city looks like one big construction site at the moment, while Toronto really doesn’t.
The orange cones have become a staple throughout our city and have caused more headaches than anything else. I love my city but the construction seems to be getting worse.
If there is one thing that can make me consider moving to Toronto, it is their lack of construction, but even that won't get me to leave our city.
But hey, at least it creates a lot of jobs.
Both Cities Suck At Driving
Toronto and Montreal drivers are not known to be the best in the country. With so many accidents and so much traffic, there is a reason why both cities are so comfortable with road rage.
I must say, the drivers in Montreal do have a little more skill and this is for one reason and one reason only, we need to avoid countless potholes on every street we take.
This has made us more skilled drivers, but I'd much rather suck at driving than have the amount of potholes that we have.
Montreal Knows How to Dress
When it comes to style, Montreal locals know how to put an outfit together. Our European influence has leaked down to our sense of style making us one of the most fashionable cities in North America.
Montreal fashion has been compared to New York City fashion, and although Toronto likes to think they are NYC, they really aren't. I'm not saying that people dress badly in Toronto, but that they have less of an individual style and more of a trendy mentality.
Toronto follows the rules of fashion, while Montreal breaks them, and as someone who never liked rules, I have to give this point to Montreal.
We Have More Fun
This summer, I was standing in a beautiful Toronto nightclub and I noticed that no one was really having fun. This may sound weird, but coming from a city like Montreal, it is hard to find an energy that is similar.
Everyone looked bored, and one thing we are not is a city filled with a bunch of bores.
My advice to you Torontonians reading this, stop caring what you look like — just dance and have fun. In other words, party like a Montrealer.
Although my points seemed to be spread out pretty evenly, Montreal will always have my heart.