Montreal's distinctiveness is difficult to describe to non-residents. Its thriving cultural landscape, dense food scene, walkability, and easygoing atmosphere make for a rare combination in North America.
The city's low costs are a less glamourous but equally appealing feature. Indeed, Montreal's low-cost-of-living allows it to have one of the highest qualities-of-life in the world.
It is certainly cheaper than other major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver, but also more affordable than comparable American cities like Boston and San Francisco.
A new ranking has confirmed just that. In a recent UBS study of major world cities, Montreal far outperforms other North American cities in affordability.
Montreal ranks first on the continent for housing affordability with a ranking of 65th highest costs globally. To put that in context, Toronto and Mexico City rank 33rd and 44th, respectively, while New York and Los Angeles rank 2nd and 6th.
Montreal has the lowest average costs of services, which includes everything from tickets to cultural events to haircuts.
Of cities in Canada and the U.S., the city also ranks lowest in average working hours, meaning that its residents enjoy more leisure time.
Despite its recent luxury building boom, Montreal should be proud of its accessibility. The trick will be to preserve these good rankings in the face of an intensifying real estate market.