This article was written in partnership with HSBC Canada.
Tony and Patrick are both newcomers to Canada from Ireland. Tony and Patrick are both renters. And Tony and Patrick have lived in multiple cities across Canada. However, that’s where the similarities end. While Tony, the rugged pioneer, has traveled west and set up base in beautiful B.C. after a few years living in Toronto, Patrick has made bilingual Montreal his Canadian home.
Given the unique perspectives that Tony and Patrick have acquired, their experiences can give you some key insights on renting and other factors that make up a decision of where to live in Canada. We asked the guys the important questions to help you decide which city might be right for you. We hope you enjoy it!
Tony Gilmore (TG): So, Patrick can you tell me a little bit about why you decided to move to a city that has over four months of winter each year and the only Canadian province where English isn’t even an official language?
Patrick Bourke (PB): Good question, Tony. Sure, Quebec is a predominantly French-speaking province, but Montreal is most definitely a vibrant, bilingual city. And yes, Montreal is pretty cold from the months of December through March, but we also get some sizzling hot summers (perfect for enjoying a beer during the tam-tams), and beautiful Autumn evenings. Above all else, however, is the fact that Montreal is a beautiful and culturally rich city, with an abundance of festivals, including the world famous Jazz Fest, Just for Laughs Comedy Festival and Osheaga Music Festival, as well as food markets and sporting activities to engage in every single week, even in winter!
Does that not sound appealing to you?
TG: Undoubtedly, there are many benefits to living in Montreal but Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in all of North America. In 2018 it was voted the sixth most liveable city in the world. Living in Vancouver has allowed me to greatly improve my skiing and snowboarding skills without having to travel far to do so. I love nothing more than waking up on a Saturday morning and making a quick plan go for a ski after lunch. And with Whistler, Squamish and Cypress Mountain all nearby, this is so easy to do!
What’s more, Vancouver is located in perfect proximity to the most pristine forests, incredible mountains, and the rugged Pacific coastline. When I lived in Toronto, I had a busy working life and enjoyed the fast-paced environment for a while but all I did at the weekend was eat and drink. The closest I got to outdoor activities was sitting on the patio of the latest downtown bar or gelato place on a Sunday afternoon. As you can imagine, life is very different in B.C and I’ve shed some pounds to prove it. Nonetheless, if nightlife and socializing is important to you, I found there tended to be more parties and cultural events going on in Toronto than Vancouver but it really depends what you’re into, I guess.
Moving2Canada (M2C) verdict on culture, glamour or nature: There is no doubt that Montreal’s plethora of festivals and general joie de vivre (that’s French!) are a major selling point, while Toronto’s cosmopolitan feel is a massive draw for many people looking for the glitz and glamour of a big-city life. However, for its sheer breadth of natural landscapes and jaw-dropping scenery, Vancouver narrowly shades it on this one — despite the fact that Uber and Lyft will only arrive on the streets of Vancouver from December 2019.