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Talk:Montreal/Archives

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Well, many of us have been wanting to do a page on Montreal. So I'm really hoping others will pitch in; I feel my Vancouver page has been a rather solo effort! In fact, I get the feeling that this is true for a number of pages here ... maybe because we're still a small group ... CL 12:23, 24 Oct 2003 (PDT)

I think you've hit on a good point. My guess is that that's the case because...

  1. We're still a small group (not yet 100 registered users).
  2. We have a really, really big world to cover -- chances are slim of overlap.
  3. We are still working out the framework for how we lay out articles, etc.
  4. All these other reasons make it so, and people consciously or unconsciously think that that's the way it "should" be, so they don't rock the boat.

I think as we get more articles, and more users, we'll see more of that WikiWay happening. (Making mental note: start a Wikitravel:Promoting Wikitravel page to discuss how to get more users/views/whatever.) I think the Australasian folks have been a good example of collaborative effort, and we should continue that.

That said, I'll take a shot at working on Montreal tomorrow. -- Evan 18:13, 27 Oct 2003 (PST)

Note: there's now something in Wikitravel:ways to promote Wikitravel. -- Evan 16:06, 29 Oct 2003 (PST)

Hi, I just met Evan at a lunch-thing and decided to stop by. I'll see if I can help with spreading the word a bit. :) Looking at the Montreal page, I noticed the "Work" section kind of, um, odd and lacking? "Illegal factory work"?? Perhaps mentioning things like the relative low cost of living, the laid-back atmosphere, "small town yet remarkably cosmopolitan" culture... These things make it an great place for freelancers, web-workers, etc... Just a thought. :) Bopuc


Well, slowly but surely, this page is getting somewhere, I guess. It's been the shoemaker's child of Wikitravel too damn long! Maj, we gotta get this baby cookin', or nobody's going to come visit us! -- Evan 15:41, 17 Nov 2003 (PST)


Have you mates agreed on something about translating street names? I think I saw all of St. Catherine, Ste. Catherine, Ste-Catherine, but no Sainte-Catherine. My advice will obviously be to use the 'real' names, that is Sainte-Catherine. For instance.

By the way, hello, I'm new to this. :-) -- Valmi 01:29, 8 Jun 2004 (EDT)

Well changed it to the official street names anyhow. --Valmi 20:20, 7 Jul 2004 (EDT)
Sounds good to me. --Evan 21:26, 7 Jul 2004 (EDT)

Hi everyone. I just want to say how great the page is. However, about the street names, I have something to add.

On Wikipedia, the main community who work on Montreal-related articles have decided on a very well-devised plan for street names. I think it can be adapted here.

Of course, as you know, Montreal is 20-25% anglophone. Most major streets once had English names (Saint Lawrence Blvd, etc..). The policy is to use English generics (Street, Blvd, Avenue, etc..), and to use "Saint" for both sexes, and to omit hyphens which aren't part of a proper name. The policy also encourages the use use of commonly understood English names with the French/official name given in brackets (not always, but frequently enough to remind the reader). So, for example:


Most Streets:

  • rue de la Savane = De La Savane Street
  • rue de l'Église = De L'Eglise St (accent may or may not be included)
  • chemin Queen-Mary = Queen Mary Rd.
  • chemin Lakeshore = Lakeshore Rd.

Streets named after people and saints:

  • rue Sainte-Catherine = Saint Catherine St
  • rue Saint-Denis = Saint Denis St
  • rue Paul-Émil-Lamarche = Paul-Émil Lamarche St (the hyphen in Paul-Émil is kept *since it is part of the name)
  • boul. René-Lévesque = René Lévesque Blvd.
  • rue Jeanne-Mance = Jeanne Mance St.
  • Christophe-Colomb = Christophe Colomb

Streets with common English names very different from French names:

  • rue de la Montagne = Mountain St (de la Montagne) (because Mountain is the very common English name)
  • av. du Parc = Park Ave. (du Parc)
  • av. des Pins = Pine Ave. (des Pins)
  • boul. Saint-Laurent = Saint Lawrence Boulevard (St-Laurent)

note that the French name in parenthesis need only be used in the first mention in each section

Streets with very similar names in both languages:

  • rue de la Cathédrale = Cathedral St (any traveller can easily figure this out)

Hyphenated names:

  • Ch. de la Côte-des-neiges = Côte des Neiges Rd (accents kept, hyphens omited. Since it is not a proper name, accents may be omited as well)

Please note that this is not translating the French street manes, it is just using the names as they are commonly used in English in Montreal. You will note that, by following the steps mentioned above (there is a more comprehensive document on Wikipedia) that you will end up with the names as they are common in English.

Of course, this strategy can be modified to fit with WikiTravel. Please let me know what you think here, so we can either enact the policy or modify it.

P.S.: I know that many will feel concerned that, since this is about Travel, travellers might be confused. However, the generics, hyphens, and accents are of no import, as they are very small on street signs. Most street specifics remain unchanged. The few that vary in English from French have the French name clearly pointed out for geographical/directional purposes, so any traveller will be able to know both names, and won't get lost (for example looking for a sign saying "Mountain St"). -Larineso 21:10, 16 Aug 2005 (EDT)

By the way, I'm not just coming in here to drop this and then leave. I want to contribute to WikiTravel and will. This just happens to be my first contribution... --Larineso 21:17, 16 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Larineso, thanks for your contribution! You point out quite correctly that the traveller comes first at Wikitravel. However, I'm a Montreal anglophone and I've never heard anyone used "Pine St" or "Saint Denis Street". I don't see the advantage for travelers in including English names that don't appear on any street signs, maps, or business cards. Can you straighten me out? --Evan 08:32, 17 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Some of the highway signs actually say, for example, "Rue Bonaventure St." (They may have been produced by the Department of Redundancy Department.) I have heard people speak of "St. Catherine's Street", but they were all old enough to remember the 70's before the hardcore Francophone policy took over. Digamma 10:57, 18 Aug 2005 (EDT)
All your points are valid. Firstly, it is a bit difficult because in Montreal, no one says the generic (We have just "Rene Levesque" or whatever and not "Rene Levesque Blvd"). But, for the sake of clarity (so we know when we're talking about a street), we use them in writing. Using ....St, Blvd., Rd., etc.. should be adopted because it's an English publication. I mean, if it were somewhere that never had any native anglophones, then ok. But Montreal has a huge anglo minority, so English names exist and should be used.
Usually, the "English" name is just the French name without hyphens and with the English generic (as in Saint Jacques St). Of course, the French names are just the old English names with hyphens and French generics. This isn't confusing to the traveller, as "Saint Jacques", "Saint-Jacques", "rue Saint-Jacques", "Saint Jacques St" is all the same. I think we can at least adopt this. I'm sure no one says "Rue St-Jacques" in English. Everyone can see that "Saint Catherine" and "Sainte-Catherine" are the same. It's not like they'll get lost or confused by a missing 'e'.
The only problem lies with the handful of streets that are different in English from the street sign. These are St. Lawrence Blvd., Mountain St., Park Ave., and Pine (Ave.). That's pretty much all I can think of. While it is necessary to give the name as it appears on the street sign, we must also acknowledge the other usage, which people will most likely also here (for example, asking for directions). So, it only makes sense to include both names. The thing is, since this is written in English, it only makes sense to use the English one with the French one in brackets:
Many of the city's trendy shops and restaurants line Saint Lawrence Blvd. (St-Laurent).
This is a compact way to show both names, eliminating confusion. There might be a very short paragraph (like 2-3 lines) about the anomalies to help travellers understand and be able to function in the city. It all may sound a bit complicated, but in fact it's just using the names that are already used in English.--Larineso 23:57, 18 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I appreciate your dedication to this issue, but I'm having a hard time seeing why it's incumbent on us to provide these English names. The French ones are used for all official references (maps, street signs, bus routes). I've been in Montreal for quite a few years, and I've only heard a few people say "St Catherine Street" -- mostly francophones speaking to me in English and over-translating. I just don't think the effort of maintaining separate names is justified by the needs of travellers. --Evan 00:51, 19 Aug 2005 (EDT)

Correction[edit]

"Montreal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world, after Paris."

  I don't think this is still true. I think that distinction now belongs to Kinshasa?
I don't know, what language do they speak in the streets on Kinshasa? --Valmi 00:25, 4 Aug 2004 (EDT)

They speak Lingala

Small publisher[edit]

So, I wanted to point out that Maj and I had the chance to put Wikitravel guides into action. We have a modified version on our wedding website for our guests who are coming to Montreal. Thanks to everyone who's contributed here, we have a real good guide for our visiting family and friends. --Evan 12:41, 24 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Congratulations, by the way! --Valmi 01:08, 26 Sep 2004 (EDT)

Many edits -- Nov. 16-17[edit]

I've gone through most of the sections and made some additions, corrections, and small copy-edits. Too numerous to list, but here are the major ones:

-- general: wherever I saw them, I removed commas between street numbers and street names in addresses. That comma is French-style, and I don't think it belongs even if you're going with French-style street names; the address itself should still be English format.

-- updated info on Mirabel airport

-- augmented notes on driving in Mtl.

-- See: added/corrected some descriptions in the existing list (but didn't add any things to see)

-- Festivals: copy-edited the list, added the short intro, added the list of other film festivals, added High Lights and Pop Montreal

-- Sports: augmented the Canadiens entry, added the Alouettes, updated the Expos entry (and editorialized a little )

-- Learn: changed the Franchophone university names: these are the names they're almost universally known by. Added a few other bits of description. This section could use a bit of fleshing out -- besides the four unis, there's some major professional schools, not to mention the Cegeps, etc.

-- Buy: basically doubled this section and started a rudimentary subdivision by budget and specialty

-- Eat: copy-edited intro, and massively augmented paragraph on public markets. Removed the reference to Duluth and Prince-Arthur as noteworthy dining streets. The latter is especially noteworthy for being a tourist trap with near-zero culinary interest. Didn't do much with the list itself, except to correct spelling of Schwartz's and augment its entry a little. Added note on tipping. It would be nice if some intrepid soul would reorganize this list by budget, specialty and/or neighbourhood and fix some glaring omissions (and perhaps weed out the one or two blatant shills?). I'm not enough of a foodie to do it quickly or well enough; just enough to see that it's lacking.

-- Drink: edited intro and added paragraph on beer. Added a couple of bars to the list (McKibbin,s, Go Go, Else's) and fixed the entry for Biftek. (College crowd? Huh? Yes, the students are there, but they're generally a minority. However, the description fit Brutopia well, IMO, so I put it there.)

Didn't touch any of the other sections, but I note that Sleep seems pretty thin, especially at the high end. Again, I'm only in a position to note the hole, not to fill it. Sorry!

Signed, an anonymous volunteer.

Rollback of drink breakup[edit]

I thought the sub-sections of the Drink section were too wordy, had capital letters, and lots of punctuation. Maybe a better set of sub-sections... "Pubs", "Clubs", etc.? --Evan 13:35, 7 Dec 2004 (EST)

..Yeah...needs to be classified. at least alphabetical ... better to classify by: pub, lounge, club, bar... (User= hugh, but not signed in yet)/

2-biggest Francophone city[edit]

Montreal has 3.8M people in its metro area, Dakar has 2M people. Montreal is still the 2nd-biggest francophone city in the world. --Evan 16:11, 28 Feb 2005 (EST)

According to Wikipedia, Dakar has 1.7, 2.1, 2.3, 2.5, and 2.61 million people, depending upon which language you speak. -- Colin 17:36, 28 Feb 2005 (EST)

Cultural capital of Canada[edit]

Someone changed "cultural capital of Quebec" to "cultural capital of Canada". I think it's fairly easy to agree that Montreal is Quebec's biggest city and its heart -- no other city even comes close (although they're all great in their own ways). I think it's harder to say that Montreal edges out Toronto, Vancouver, or even Winnipeg or Ottawa as the cultural capital of Canada. There's a lot of competition there.

I think Montreal's relationship to the rest of Quebec is important to highlight, but I don't think a horserace among Canadian cities for the bestest is really productive. So, I backed out the change and made it "Quebec" again. --Evan 20:16, 8 Apr 2005 (EDT)

Mining Metafilter[edit]

This URL just popped up on my del.icio.us inbox: http://ask.metafilter.com/mefi/18254 . Probably worth mining for some data. --Evan 10:15, 6 May 2005

byzantine -> many[edit]

Sorry, but I think "byzantine" is the better word. --Evan 22:47, 19 Jul 2005 (EDT)

SFGate[edit]

Probably worth data-mining: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/10/09/TRG3QF2VH71.DTL . --Evan 14:12, 19 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Time to split up![edit]

I don't think anyone will disagree it is time to break this one up into districts. Anyone want to take a shot at fleshing them out? - bulliver 00:37, 18 March 2006 (EST)


car parking[edit]

Montreal does its bit for Quebec's perennial social welfare mandate by employing a large number of the otherwise barely employable as civil servants. A significant proportion of this municipal army serves in the parking ticket division. What this means for you: if you think it'll be OK to park in that no-parking zone or that permit parking spot for five minutes while you grab a coffee, FORGET IT. Montreal tickets start at $38.

Pay especial attention to parking on side streets, whether or not permit parking is in effect. Many streets require that you not park on a particular side for a specified one-hour period during the day. The net effect is that even if you find a no-permit spot, study the sign carefully (especially if you plan to park overnight) - you may find that parking is not permitted between, say, 7-8 a.m., which means you will be greeted with a lovely $42 ticket when you come out of your hotel after breakfast. (Ostensibly, this policy is in effect to allow street cleaning vehicles to clean alternate sides of each street every other day. Unscientific studies show that street cleaning vehicles rarely make it to any particular street more than once a week, leading to the conclusion that the municipal permit-parking policy is a thinly veneered road tax). Woe betide those residents without any driveway or private garage who need to go out of town for a few days.

Town and police do this year more for parking discipline in centre-ville. Shortly after you have to fill parking meter (early in the morning on weekend too) they start to give tickets. You should pay attention to this so that your stay in Montreal will not start with a ticket. Car parking in centre-ville cost $5 to $12 per day at parking meters and park houses. Prices and pay-times are going up as well. Expect to find that most metered areas require you to pay $2/hour between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday. No one knows exactly what happens to the very large amount of money collected through parking infractions, but one thing is clear: it isn't going into improvements in Montreal's municipal road system, which is a national embarassment.

some editing[edit]

I did some editing of "englishified" french throughout the article so it read more like english (hopefully).

Also, I touched up the restaurant list, namely the 2 or 3 un-notheworthy restaurants who'd put in a blurb straigth from their websites, especially the first on the list (some anonymous place in pointe-claire claiming to be amazing fine dining) and casa galicia claiming to be one of the best spanish resto in the world (it was a usually empty tourist-frequented st-denis restaurant last time I checked, wholly unremarkable, incidentally the blurb was verbatim from their web site.)

Pickpockets[edit]

The situation around Simon's on St. Catherine is acknowledged by the locals to be really bad. We just got hit, and I remember everything in retrospect, but never put it together at the time. Perhaps if I had read some of the stuff I read later, I would have been more alert. As I replay the tape in my head, my wife, daughter and I were shopping madly at Simon's as it was closing. There were at least 3 suspicious people following us, and not buying anything, including the dumpy old oriental lady 'ring' that hit us. They had to be very aggressive, since I was buzzing around being bored, and my 15 year old daughter was flitting. The dumpy ladies jostled my wife twice, since they were having trouble with her zippered bag, and I saw them. She suddenly clutched it, so they couldn't zip it up again, and things started falling out a short time later, which is how we noticed the loss of the wallet. This was at a small, fairly open and empty store, so these ladies took an enormous risk. No security cameras, and absolutely nobody cares! They must have rings falling over themselves!

I think all the locals are happy with the situation. All the spotters prevent shop lifting, and major crime, since they look like store detectives! Nobody compiles statistics, and they deny the problem. Only the credit card companies would have hard facts. Postscript: the wallet was found in the local movie theater. Only the money was missing ($80). Much like everything in Montreal, these thieves have class. (why are there no editing prompts?) ---Zeizmic (my talk page is over at Wikipedia).

---Allright, so a pickpocket spotted you. However, I question why this incident should be described on Wikipedia. Its academic value is very poor, as Montreal is not known at all for pickpockets. I think it sends the wrong message to the readers.

---I'm not sure individual anecdotes such as this are appropriate for a Wikitravel page. Also, I'm a local and I've never heard of these pickpocketing "rings" that are made to sound notorious and ubiquitous. I think the safety section ought to be cleaned up.

External book review link[edit]

I've removed the link to a blog reviewing a book on walking tours of Montreal. If the walking tours in the book are good, please feel free to outline them in a separate article and link it from the Montreal page (see the Walking tour of Sydney for and example). Also, have a look at Wikitravel:External links for information on the preferred way of doing external links. --Dawnview 00:55, 23 September 2006 (EDT)

GLB Community links[edit]

I removed a link to a comunity guide per our Wikitravel:External links policy. Please see also Wikitravel:Information for gay and lesbian travellers. Maj 22:18, 23 September 2006 (EDT)

Get around by ferry[edit]

Someone who knows something about ferry travel around Montreal can perhaps write about this. Otherwise all we have are these external links:

  • Old Port-Longueuil [1]
  • Old Port-Ile Sainte-Helene [2]
  • Promenade Bellerive-Parc National des Iles de Boucherville [3]

--Dawnview 02:53, 24 September 2006 (EDT)

Stab at districts[edit]

I've taken a stab at breaking the city up into districts. I don't live there so I don't know well enough to continue. Perhaps the GLB section can be moved as a start? --Dawnview 16:58, 24 September 2006 (EDT)

I just rolledback the removal of the district links. I'm pretty sure Montreal needs districts. Maj 22:21, 5 February 2007 (EST)
I hadn't noticed this discussion and nominated Montreal for DOTM sometime this summer (we don't have that many good candidates at the moment). At the moment the article doesn't seem to have so much info that it needs districts. Would it be owrth waiting until a possible DOTM this summer (more info may be added then). -- DanielC 07:59, 7 February 2007 (EST)
You can likely split this article up into West Island, Montreal-Est, Montreal-Nord (which would include anything north of Mont-Royal) and Downtown (which would include everything south of Mont-Royal). Of course I've only been here a couple of years and I haven't bothered going around the city just yet. - 65.94.145.52 08:13, 26 June 2007 (EDT)

Starting District page here. Maj 11:03, 28 April 2008 (EDT)

Rollback[edit]

I rolled back the addition of an external link to a third-party map of the Montreal Metro. See Wikitravel:External links for details. --Evan 23:58, 14 November 2006 (EST)

Dunn's antique burgers[edit]

This was added to the "Antiques and furniture" section, which doesn't seem to be a very complimentary description of the world's best burgers, and is in the wrong place anywhere (just where is Montreal's "center" anyway?). Jpatokal 23:14, 26 August 2007 (EDT)

Also There is Dunn's, near the center of town. They have the best burgers in the world. Just like poutine, you can't go to montreal without eating at dunn's.

Speaking French[edit]

Does anyone else find this unnecessarily hostile? '"The first language in Quebec is French; making an attempt to use the language is a great way to show respect for the people there, whether or not they can speak English. However, many younger, bilingual Francophones in the city tend not to have much patience for French poorly spoken, and will often resort to English in reply, regardless of your intentions."'

The assumption being made here is a little offensive. People switch to English unconsciously because it's easier to conduct a conversation that way or because they see you struggling. To suggest that this demonstrates impatience is presumptuous.

The second sentence in the above paragraph is also curious -- as an Anglo from Montreal I can honestly say I've never had a second thought about another Anglo assuming I'm French-speaking. I can not imagine under what circumstances I would think such a thing was "silly at best".

It's a peculiar tone in this article that comes out now and then.


Well some people, like myself, try practicing the language, but when the other party starts speaking English, it's almost like they feel sorry for you for even trying.

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