10 tips for your move to Montréal

Two travelers on the edge of the Kondiaronk lookout in Montreal

So you’re finally ready to live the Montréal dream. But careful! It’s no myth: this truly is a unique culture in North America. Here are a few friendly tips to help you set up your new life. 


1. First things first: a roof to live under 

The Saintlo Montréal hostel is your ideal basecamp in the heart of downtown. The beds are affordable, and there are all kinds of discounts for longer stays. Plus, the super-approachable staff will guide you in your first steps in Montréal. 

2. Make yourself some friends

Choosing to stay at the hostel means choosing a social life. Saintlo Montréal welcomes all kinds of people like you who are starting out on their Montréal adventure. While discovering the city through hostel activities, you’ll meet new friends: perhaps your next roommate, your new best friend, or even the love of your life. Trust, us, this happens more often than you might think. 

being a relatively functional human should be enough to find a job. 

3. Learn to pedal

The metro is great, but bikes help you connect A to B and everything in between. You’ll get to know the city and its bike paths in no time. Best of all, you don’t need to own your own bike, as it’s Montréal’s self-serve Bixi program that started the public bike programs now in cities all over the world. 

Women travelers on bikes

4. Hang at the hostel bar, and try a pub crawl

For exactly the same reasons as above. And because Montréal is a city that likes to party. 

Trois voyageurs au bar de l'auberge
Deux voyageurs qui rient au bar de l'auberge

5. The annoying obligations

In Québec French, they say C’est plate or C’est poche to mean That sucks. Some things that are “poche”: opening a bank account, finding a cellphone package, requesting a social insurance number, and registering for health insurance or university.

We suggest that you do all these poche but necessary things with your new friends. Help each other out, offer moral support and in return get outside advice, share the experiences with one another. With several heads working together, the process will be a lot more bearable and efficient.

6. Glitches, discoveries, adjustments, new surroundings 

The normalest of things at home may be totally different abroad. Here’s a quick survey of some unique facts about Montréal:

People line up to wait for the bus. Like nice Canadians, and unlike the French from France, Quebecers are uncomfortable with confrontation. This is a culture that quietly waits in line. Boulevard Saint-Laurent divides the city into the more French-speaking east side and the more English-speaking west side. Cellphone and internet packages cost a fortune, as do good wine and cheese. Neither taxes nor the tip is ever included in the price. Pharmacies are more like general stores: they sell everything, even winter mittens. You can buy ketchup-flavoured chips. A shish taouk pita is to Montreal what a kebab or gyro are to other cities. The streets are long, and distances are expressed in minutes. Roadwork is always happening somewhere and people always complain about how hard it is to get around town.

7. Finding a job

Good news! With the current labour shortage, being a relatively functional human should be enough to find a job. 

If you are interested in hospitality, check out our available positions at Saintlo!

See available positions


Mount Royal Walk

8. Go play outside

The city has at least one festival going at any time of year. Take in the port with your feet in the sand at the Village au Pied-du-Courant. Dance outside at Piknic Électronik, or any Sunday in spring or summer at the tams-tams on Mount Royal, a phenomenon that’s still going from the Seventies. Have a picnic at one of the city’s many parks: these are the living rooms of Montréal in the summertime. When fall comes, take long promenades among the autumn leaves.

As you may have guessed, the summer is short, and the winter is endless. When you get a taste of your first Montréal spring thaw, you’ll understand where the city gets its joie de vivre.

9. Embrace the winter

Yes, Montrealers love to talk about the weather, and here are a few random tips they’ll give you. (You got them from us first.)

Clear blue sky means extreme cold. Your first breath on a glacial morning will tingle the hairs in your nose. The sidewalks strewn with salt to melt the ice will ruin your chic boots. Glasses? Foggy most of the time. To avoid falling on the ice, walk like a penguin or a delicate geisha. Learn to love winter sports. Get to know the onion technique for dressing, as wearing multi-layers that you can strip off or put back on is the secret to maintaining a regular body temperature. On a related note, the metro is a sauna all year round. Don’t wear your Canada Goose in October. That’s way too early, and you’ll find people are looking at you funny.


Two winter walkers in Montreal

10. Finding an apartment

When your newfound friends kid you about your snoring, it’s time to leave the hostel for permanent accommodation. After July 1, Québec’s moving day, it gets tough to find a full apartment. Finding a roommate situation is a lot easier.

You best chances are via Facebook groups and student associations, where you’ll find announcements for people seeking roommates, or rooms for rent, apartment exchanges or someone to take over their lease. You can also check out the listings on Kijiji, and don’t forget word of mouth. Your network of new friends may come through for you!