Montreal, a city to discover, a city to live in. It's difficult for me to see Montreal like a tourist because i've never been one in this city. I always lived near or in Montreal. With my digital camera, i'm trying to see my home with a totally new point of view...and i think it's working.
Montreal is really unique. It's a city where you need to walk to discover it, going from a neighborhood to another, meeting the people, doing some of the attractions (the classics like going to the top of the Olympic stadium, the Biodome, the Botanic garden), eating very well (the second most restaurants in North America after New-York), shopping in unique boutiques, etc.
But it's not like visiting big metropolis like Paris, New-York or Rome where it's impossible to see everything in a rush. Montreal is possible to see the main attractions in a week. But, and that's the soul of this city, you will miss the simple things that make this city so great.
So if you come to Montreal, you need to be curious and go out of the common areas. That's the best way to understand this city, my home. So much good memories but if i had to choose one it will have to be the magical meeting of my girlfriend in the Old Port in 1993. Pure magic !
climb that one mountain in the...
climb that one mountain in the middle of the city called mont-royal and see the whole city at night.
its gorgeous. in a sick and twisted way, i often miss the -45c windchill when i'm on my x-mas vacation in the heat.
GST/HST tax refund on goods and accomodations
The GST refund may be elimated as of April 1, 2007, click here for more information
Canada is the only foreign country I’ve visited where you not only can claim a tax refund on goods purchased over a certain amount but you also get your GST tax (6% as of July 1, 2006) back on your short term accomodations, I wasn't charged any HST. The TVQ is a provincial tax and is not refundable. Do the following:
Make sure you get a receipt from your hotel stating that the GST was charged (in Quebec the GST is listed as TPS) and clearly states the number of nights and what the cost of the room is, you do not get a refund on room service or other additional services.
If you are just claiming a refund on your hotel, you do not need to get the paperwork stamped at customs, if you are also claiming a refund on the tax on goods, you do have to get it stamped at customs before you leave.
Someone on another forum mentioned that you should not use the "Tax Refund" brochures with brightly colored covers showing national flags that you find at many hotels, they apparently keep 10% of your refund as a fee in addition to service fees and a currency conversion fee. Instead, look for the "Tax Refund for Visitors to Canada" Form RC4031 published by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency which is white and red or you can download it from the Canadian Customs website
One word of warning, if you book with a company like Priceline or Orbitz and you do not get an itemization of the taxes, you may not be able to claim the tax refund. If you save enough by booking with them, it shouldn’t be a factor as the tax is only 6%. I only had one night booked through Priceline, I went ahead and submitted my receipt and showed my calculation of the tax at 6% on the room and they did refund it. It took about a month to receive my refund check, if possible they issue it in the currency of the country where they are sending the check.
Public Art - King Edward VII in Phillips Square
Phillips Square faces the Hudson Bay Company Store in Central Montreal. (Lord Beaverbrook's Canada Cement Company is on the other side.) As it was a bastion of early 20th century Anglo economic power in Montreal, it's appropriate that a statue of King Edward VII presides over the square. "Edward VII" was commisioned, but it wasn't unveiled until 1914, after the king's death.
The sculptor who created the work, Louis-Phillipe Hebert, was widely employed in Ottawa on a number of similar figures.
What about the culture? Well...
What about the culture? Well Montreal has it all! You name it we have it!
As far as culture goes urban North American prevails. If you're looking for log cabins, hunting, fishing, sugar-shacks or gig dancing you'll have to leave the city.
The majority of the population declares French as their mother tongue (over 60%) and the rest declare English (about 10%) and everything else in between to make up the full population.
Traditionally immigrants came from Italy, Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany, and Portugal. However today most immigrants come from Asia, Latin -America, the Middle-east and Africa.
Even though the Quebec Government depicts Montreal as being the second largest French speaking city in the world, the city is not like being in France. In fact most people speak English.
The city counts within its limits two english language universities, several english language colleges, three english language TV stations, several english language radio stations and a major english language newspaper. Therefore don't let the fact that you don't speak French stop you from coming, you'll be surprised how easily you can communicate and it can be an easy way of getting used to the French language before visiting a country like France.
If you are wondering why most of the signs are only in French (even the ones destined for tourists) the reason being that the Quebec provincial government put a law (bill 101) in place forbidding other languages on signs except French. The consequences of disobeing would be heavy fines. However successive court appeals and application of the federal charter of rights have had the effect of relaxing the law and allowed people to display other languages as long as it is 1/3 the size of the predominant French.
The two cheek kiss:
We don't do it as much as in France ( Most strangers won't do it between them when they meet, there has to be some familiarity )but we do it. Use it to your advantage, get to know people. it's fun!