As Canada prepares to reopen for U.S. travelers, its wary residents weigh the risks of tourism during the pandemic while looking ahead to a season of adventure and recovery.Read More →
Montréal’s Underground City is a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the city connecting 20 miles of shopping malls, museums, hotels, and even seven metro stations.
Montréal is in Eastern Standard Time (EST). The time zone is five hours behind Universal Time Coordinated (UCT -5).
All visitors need proper identification such as a passport to enter Montréal.
Visa-exempt travelers include:
- Great Britain
- United States
Visa-required travelers include:
- Dominican Republic
- South Africa
(For full lists and details, click here).
There is one major international airport in Montréal, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport. Located in Dorval, Quebec, Montréal-Trudeau is the biggest airport in the Quebec province and is just a 20-minute drive from the Montréal City Centre. This airport has an easily accessible bus service that regularly runs to and from the airport as well as rideshare options like Uber and Lyft.
The easiest way to get around Montréal is by walking or by public transportation. Montréal is a very walkable city, but if you prefer, the Montréal Metro (operated by the Société de transport de Montréal) and bus are both easy to use and cost-efficient. Metro stations are marked on the street by blue and white signs that will show a circle enclosing a down-pointing arrow.
Montréal is known to be one of the safest destinations in the world as crime rates are low, and police are quick to respond and easy to contact. With this said, common sense is an important part of your personal safety while traveling, regardless of where you are. This includes protecting your valuables, not leaving your personal belongings unattended, and having the contact information of your nearest embassy or consulate handy in case you have an emergency that requires their intervention.
Montréal is beautiful year-round but September to November is one of the best times to visit as the weather is milder and it is not as crowded with tourists. Here is the full rundown on Montréal’s weather.
- Fall (September – November): Fall is definitely one of the best times to go as this season is famous for the spectacular leaf color changes that occur as the temperatures begin to drop. Temperatures range from 30 – 66 degrees Fahrenheit, so pack layers for those slightly chillier days.
- Winter (December – February): Winter in Montréal is really cold, as temperatures are often in the single digits. If you go during this time, bundle up and bring a heavy winter coat and some nice wool socks so you are able to enjoy the Quebec Winter Carnival or the Montréal En Lumière!
- Spring (March – June): Spring is bloom time and often has far fewer tourists. Temperatures are still cool in March, but my May, temperatures will range from 50-66 degrees Fahrenheit (10-19 degrees Celsius). Bring a heavier jacket or layers just in case.
- Summer (June – August): With temperatures consistent in the mid to high seventies, summer is beautiful. Temperatures range from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit ( 20 – 27 degrees Celsius) in some regions.
In general, Canadians take etiquette more seriously than Americans. Here are a few tips:
- Greeting and Meeting: Shake hands and introduce yourself when meeting a Canadian for the first time. It is considered extremely rude to not shake hands with someone after they extend their hand to you. Maintain eye contact and use last names and appropriate titles until your Canadian colleague or host invites you to use their first names. Kissing on the cheeks in the French manner is also common.
- Body Language: Maintaining a certain amount of personal space is important. Take off your hat or sunglasses while talking with someone. Do not sit with your legs apart or with your feet propped up on tables or chairs, and it is considered inappropriate to speak with your hands in your pocket.
- Gestures to avoid include thumbs down, middle finger raised, elbows on the table while eating, pointing or staring at strangers, and yawning.
- Dining and Food: Before-dinner drinks include Pernod, champagne, and vermouth. The host normally offers a toast before drinking so wait until everyone is served and a toast is proposed to take a sip. Eating while walking or standing on the streets is considered bad form.
- Gift-Giving: Giving gifts is rare in Canada unless the person in question has done some favor or you are a guest at someone’s home. Bring local flowers, bread, or perhaps a bottle of wine.
- Time: Punctuality is important and lateness of more than 15 minutes is considered rude.
- Conversation taboos include religion, sex, and politics. These topics are rarely discussed openly in public and depending on the circumstances should not be brought up.
Canada uses their own currency, the Canadian dollar (CAD). ATMs can be found throughout the towns and cities, and credit cards can be used as well, however, cash is preferred at local venues.
Tipping: When dining at any “sit-down” restaurant, it is expected to tip extra money to your waiter/waitress at the end of the meal. The bare minimum expected is 15% of the total price of the bill, but over-tipping in the case of exceptionally good service is common. Not tipping the waitstaff is considered rude and will be noticed. Taxi and delivery drivers, bellhops, hairdressers, tour guides, and house staff expect tips as well.
(* In general, Canadian tipping etiquette is fairly the same as that of the United States as American tipping manuals are often used for reference in Canada).
There are two plugs used in Canada – types A and B. Plug type A has two flat parallel pins. Plug type B has two flat parallel pins and grounding pins.
Voltage: Canada operates on a 120 voltage and 60 Hz. (*For reference, this is the same as in the United States).
Plugs A and B look like this:
Water taken from the tap is generally safe to drink in Montréal, however, we recommend filtering the water if possible or just sticking to bottled water depending on where you
Wi-Fi is available in most public places throughout Montréal. The majority of the shops, hotels, cafes, and museums will have internet, but it may not always be free or reliable. If you are traveling to or through rural areas, plan ahead if you need access to the internet as Wi-Fi may not be available. Purchasing a SIM card is not necessary.
Uber and Lyft are available, but if you are traveling through a rural area, you might want to consider getting a rental car because rideshare options may be scarce.
Although same-sex marriage was made legal throughout Canada in 2005, depending on where in Canada you are (there are more conservative regions than others), same-sex partners and public displays of affection (PDA) are looked down upon. Forms of PDA like passionately kissing, hugging, or cuddling is a debated topic in Canada as some find the displays easy to ignore while in areas, it is considered inappropriate.
Canada is one of the more environmentally friendly countries in the world. Montréal does face air and water pollution, rising temperatures from climate change, and road salt pollution, so it is always important to be aware of the environment and be as eco-friendly as possible while traveling.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests for travelers to make sure they are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include:
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
For detailed information, click here.