Photo: Awana JF/Shutterstock

10 Things Montrealers Have to Explain to Out-of-Towners

Montréal Food + Drink Couples
by Claire Litton Cohn Jun 23, 2015

1. There’s more than one place to get the best smoked meat sandwich.

See that giant line of tourists outside of Schwartz’s? They’re queuing up for what they’ve been told is the best smoked meat sandwich in town. Now look across the street at Main’s. See how there’s no line?

2. Every greeting is choose-your-own-adventure.

You’re likely to be greeted with the salutation “Bonjour hi” wherever you go. The language you respond in will determine how that person addresses you — it’s all one to them, since pretty much everyone who works in any kind of service job is fluently bilingual. So if you’re a unilingual anglophone, don’t respond with “Bonjour”, or they’ll assume that’s your default preference and you’ll get an earful of French.

3. We use the bike lanes to commute.

Montreal is one of the top twenty most bikeable cities in the world, and that’s mostly due to the fantastic network of bike lanes throughout the city. Don’t stand on, park in, or otherwise block them: you’re messing with our daycare drop-off or trip to work.

4. We live outside in the summer.

Our favorite bar’s terrasse is way more important than saving those extra three street parking spots. And any grassy spot in the sunshine will be crammed with people in small amounts of clothing. We don’t want to hang out indoors when we’ve just done that all winter long!

5. There’s still things to do here in the winter.

Whether it’s Igloofest or Nuit Blanche, we do not slow down our art festivals just because it’s -40C outside. It may take us an extra ten minutes to put on some layers, but we’re going dancing just the same.

6. Even though it looks like a hill, it’s a mountain.

You may be used to the Rockies, but Mont Royal is the only mountain we have, so cut us some slack.

7. Atwater is better than Jean Talon.

If you’re looking for fresh fruit and veg, free range eggs, or hand-dipped chocolates, the guidebooks say you should head to Jean Talon…but Atwater market, in St Henri, is less crowded and has a great bulk selection and poissoneries to boot.

8. You can buy beer (and sometimes wine) in the dep when SAQ is closed.

While the provincial liquor store, Société des alcools du Québec, closes at 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays, most corner stores, or dépanneurs sell at least a small selection of beer until the wee hours. Then you have the glorious “beer dep” on Laurier Ouest, near Esplanade, which prides itself on having more varieties than your average bar.

9. We really do like the Habs.

Even the buses will change their signs in hockey season to read “Go Habs Go”. Don’t diss our hockey.

10. Jaywalking is practically a sport.

You know how some people wait politely on the corner for the light to change to the little walking man? Yeah, that’s not us. We cross whenever and wherever we feel like it.

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