Despite the hostile language laws, the political focus on the state of the french language and the fact that Montreal is surrounded by predominantly french speaking areas, it seems that anglophones still prefer Montreal over other North American cities.
In a recent reddit thread, users were asked why they preferred Montreal over other North American cities, their answers will make you proud to call yourself a Montrealer.
1. You have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture in way that isn't possible in other cities such as Ottawa.
2. There's a sense of "happening" that fills the streets. You feel like you're actually participating in what goes on in the city, like your presence actually matters while other cities tend to make you feel small and insignificant. Working to live instead of living to work. Lacking "Joie de vivre" is a much bigger social barrier than not speaking french.
3. The high quality of life and low cost of living. Being an art student seems like a better life decision in Montreal than in other cities because you can do so while being relatively debt free. Montreal isn't too far from Toronto, Ottawa and New-York, plus we have an amazing hockey team and European-ish lifestyle.
4. Montreal is cheap, beautiful, full of amazing food/beautiful women/incredible beer. The energy is unmatched, we're close to decent ski hills, we have a great cultural diversity, great education, great public transit, great bike paths and great festivals. We have our own flavor.
5. Montreal is a "real city". It's walkable and relaxed, full of history, culture, green space, bars and restaurants. Montreal doesn't conform, we are extroverted, and artistic. The political hostility is overblown - Politics sucks everywhere.
6. You can drive out of Montreal in any direction and find yourself in an outdoor recreation paradise. We have REAL winter here and the micro-brew scene in Montreal is in a league of its own.
7. Toronto is nice but weird and it seems even weirder after you've lived in Montreal. Toronto seems too neat and a little bland.
8. Montreal has some of the friendliest people anywhere in the world. The culture is blended and yet, each burrow maintains its own unique feel and identity. The gay scene is very welcoming of everyone which is surprisingly uncommon in other cities.
9. Summer in Montreal is great. People mostly wear deodorant here. Sometimes you need to get out of here, go to another city for a few weeks and come back to realize what you have here.
10. "Because it's home"