Photos of Montreal, The Cultural Capital of Canada

Montreal Apartments

Montreal Apartments

Rental Bicycles in Montreal

Rental Bicycles in Montreal

Patio Dinner with CouchSurfing Host Extraordinairre

Patio Dinner with CouchSurfing Host Extraordinairre

Fairmount Bagels in Montreal

Fairmount Bagels in Montreal

Our Favourite Bakery Cafe in Mont Royal

Our Favourite Bakery Cafe in Mont Royal

The Friendly Server and I at our Favourite Bakery

The Friendly Server and I at our Favourite Bakery

Croissant and Coffee

Croissant and Coffee

Bicycles Outside the Subway

Bicycles Outside the Subway

St. Viateur Bagels, Simple and Fantastic Bagels

St. Viateur Bagels, Simple and Fantastic Bagels

St. Viateur Bagels

St. Viateur Bagels, Only 3 kinds. None of those nonsense tourist flavours.

Cafe Olimpico, The best coffee in Montreal

Cafe Olimpico, The best coffee in Montreal

Montreal Firestation

Montreal Firestation

Mont Royal Montreal

Mont Royal Montreal

Seniors Enjoying a Good Coffee

Seniors Enjoying a Good Coffee

The Market in Little Italy

The Market in Little Italy

Even the produce is art.

Even the produce is art.

Typical Apartments in Montreal

Typical Apartments in Montreal

Montreal, Canada has to be one of my top three cities in the world. There is a European feel and attitude but most people still speak English and it is in my home country of Canada. The best part is that Montreal is a world class city without the high costs.

Cafe Culture

My wife and I truly love going to unique cafes, drinking good espresso and people watching. We are not so interested in sight-seeing anymore so most of our travels involve going from one cafe or restaurant to the next. Montreal definitely has one of the best cafe cultures in the world.

There are so many great independent coffee houses with real character. Starbucks makes a decent espresso, but we would never go to one in Montreal. We love eating fresh bagels or croissants in small cafes with owners and staff that obviously care about what they are doing.

Montreal still has plenty of local shops where the owner still works everyday. I love seeing the vacation signs on shops saying they are closing for a couple of weeks. Why not shut down for a short break instead of trying to find replacements that are not going to deliver the same quality?

Slow Food

French Canadians also have an appreciation for food that is disappearing in most Western cities. High quality ingredients, good wine and slow meals with friends still take priority. Sure the fast food and shopping malls are encroaching but people still appreciate real food and culture.

St. Viateur Bagels and Cafe Olimpico are two perfect examples. At St. Viateur you can only get plain, poppyseed and sesame seed bagels. Skipping all the fashionable flavours means that your bagel is likely to come out of the wood burning oven just minutes before your purchase. Cafe Olimpico is completely devoid of all of those trendy, yuppy coffee blends that anyone who understands coffee would never drink. Both shops are about simple quality and are inexpensive compared to the franchised stores.

Culture Capital of Canada

The culture of Montreal is difficult to describe but the people are definitely more open minded and accepting than in other cities. I find that there is an appreciation of art, music and food that many other cities lack.

Once you get out to the suburbs, I am sure Montreal will be like any other Canadian city with the large shopping malls, and SUV driving yuppies that spend their evenings in front of TVs. However, the downtown core is so alive and vibrant that it definitely is my favourite city in Canada and maybe even the world.

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

6 Responses to Photos of Montreal, The Cultural Capital of Canada

  1. Dave and Deb says:

    Love that shot of all the produce and love Montreal!

  2. Dan says:

    My favorite city in North America by far. I lived there for close to 2 years and this post really brought me back. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Dan´s last blog ..Internet Marketers in the Philippines – The Global Meetup and Semester II Begins =-.

  3. Jannell says:

    LOVE the photos! Thank you for sharing. I suddenly have a craving for croissants and coffee. I think the bicycle rental option is fabulous – That’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that. Guess I’m adding Montreal to the ‘must see’ list 🙂

  4. I love Montreal and really enjoyed these photos! We just left Paris and now in Barcelona, so have grown very accustomed to cafe life as we have roamed Europe the last 4 years. All campsites have Croissant and fresh bread, so will miss that. 😉 Soon we will head to Asia and discover how they do the cafe life ( or not).
    .-= soultravelers3´s last blog ..Family Travel Food =-.

  5. Steve says:

    Great post and great to hear you enjoy this fantastic city. We just moved here ourselves and love it. You mentioned it’s one of your favourite three cities – just curious what the other two are. After living in Europe for 11 years and travelling the world for much of that time, my top three are: Montreal, Portland and Bilbao. Cheers!

    • John says:

      Hi Steve,

      Budapest is definitely one of my top 3 as well. It is small enough to be comfortable and safe, yet big enough to have a rich culture with great festivals, restaurants and cafes. Also, it is still very affordable.

      London, Amsterdam and Tokyo are all fantastic as well for different reasons, but are very expensive. For food, Tokyo wins. For an English speaking metropolis, London is in the top 3. For a relaxed cafe culture, Amsterdam is amazing.

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