Tuesday, January 09, 2007

a treatise on the bombast

above charts from The Canadian Encyclopedia

I have made comparisons here betwixt Vancouver housing prices, and those of idyllic places such as the Loire Valley and the south of France. None of us are likely to pack up and move to any of those places so I decided to take a look at environs closer to home. Montreal seemed a good candidate, so with help from Wikipedia, and The Canadian Encyclopedia, I am going to some comparisons between Montreal and Vancouver.

The City of Montreal is on an island that is roughly three times the area of the City of Vancouver. It also has roughly three times the population, so the density is pretty much the same. Regionally, the GVRD does have less area, and a greater density by about 25%.

Montreal gets roughly 5% more hours of sunshine than Vancouver, and approximately 10% less precipitation. So far this winter, Vancouver has had more snow and colder temperatures than Montreal.

It is easy to think that you are in Europe when in Montreal, in Vancouver, it is easy to think that you are in Prince Rupert.

Montreal has excellent public transportation> Vancouver's public transportation sucks.

Montreal has a stadium whose roof collapsed due to ice and snow. So does Vancouver.

Montreal has lots of jobs in aerospace, electronic goods, pharmaceuticals, printed goods, software engineering, telecommunications, textile and apparel manufacturing, tobacco and transportation (and hashish importation). Vancouver has lots of construction jobs, barista jobs, and, umm, marijuana manufacturing jobs.

Montreal had Expo 67 (it was very cool).Vancouver had Expo 86 (I don't know if it was as cool, or not).

Montreal has Mont Real. Vancouver has the Coast Mountains.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono went to bed for peace in Montreal. Gordon Campbell slept with his assistant (reportedly) in Vancouver. The World Peace Forum found that it was not welcome in Vancouver, and don't forget the APEC Summit and Sgt. Pepper in Vancouver.

Montreal has better riots.

Montreal produced Trudeau. Vancouver produced Kim Campbell and John Turner (the two shortest serving Prime Ministers).

Montreal hosted the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. Vancouver will co-host the 2010 Winter Games with Whistler. Montreal just paid off it's Olympic Stadium after 30 years. Vancouver will never pay off the 2010 Games.

RBC's Affordability Index for a detached bungalow for Vancouver is 55.3 per cent. For Montreal, the costs of owning a detached bungalow came in at 34.6 per cent.

Derrick Penner points out -
Your RBC Affordability Index numbers are way out of date. Vancouver detached bungalow stands at 70 per cent. Montreal is 36 per cent.

What else can I say? The only thing obviously better here are the real estate blogs (excluding this one of course).

From Wikipedia -

In 2006, both Traveler's Digest and AskMen.com ranked Montreal as the number one city in the world to live in for its culture, architecture, history and ambience.[5]



- City
sq mi)
4,047 km² (1,563 sq mi)
Population (2001)

4,326.5/km² (11,205.6/sq mi)

population est. 2005


114.67 km²
Metro area
2,878.52 km²
583,267 (2005 est.)
Pop'n rank
Metro pop'n 2,208,300 (2005 est.)
Metro rank
Pop'n density 5252/km²


Uncertain Buyer said...

I was in Montreal, working, for about a week a couple of years ago. I will never forget that city. It wasn't as nice as Vancouver in a physical sense, though I did like the Heritage buildings. A lot better than Gastown. I found the people there really interesting. It was a completely different feeling than Vancouver. It had better energy.

solipsist said...

Thanks for posting uncertain.

I like Montreal too. It's kind of like a safer NYC on a managable scale. It's a pretty vibrant town. Much livlier than Van.

Grover Borequist said...

As a McGill grad, I can tell you that there is no comparison between living in Montreal and Vancouver. Montreal wins hands down and I think it's because of the the high concentration of universities in the downtown core. As well, Montrealers seem to have a greater appreciation for fine and modern art as well as music. While Vancouver draws thousands of people downtown to watch a bunch of flashing lights and a battle royale, Montreal gathers in the heart of the city for its free jazz and pop concerts. I got to see Sinead O'Connor, James Brown, and Kid Koala battle A-Trak for free in the summer of 98 (I think).

Londonernow said...

Difference between Montreal (or any other city) and Vancouver is that everyone wants to live in Vancouver. I know that dosen't explain the population difference but as I understand it (and I should know being an ex-Vancouverite and just recently back from a visit there) is that there are only two types of people in the world:
Type 1 - the lucky ones - People who live in Vancouver
Type 2 - the unlucky ones - People who want to live in Vancouver

Freako said...

Sorry for your bad luck, londoner.

the pope said...

Great post solipsist - I've been thinking of canadian alternatives to vancouver as well. I've only been to Montreal once, and then just for a few days. As someone who lacks the ability to speak french I didn't find any language barrier problem on that short visit, but anyone with more experience care to comment on that perception?

Isabel Brinck said...

Hey there. Actual Montrealer here.
I'm only going to point this out because you're the second blogger I've seen today who has misspelled the French version of Mount Royal. It's .... drum roll... Mont Royal. Not Mont Real. But good guess!

There are lots of people here from Vancouver, as I'm sure there are lots of people over there from over here. It's a cultural exchange, and -to the person who was asking- yes, you can get along in English but I recommend you try the French. People will appreciate it, regardless of your accent.

derrick penner said...

Your RBC Affordability Index numbers are way out of date. Vancouver detached bungalow stands at 70 per cent. Montreal is 36 per cent.

Real estute said...

You missed one: Windchill Factor.
Vancouver; winds usually from the southeast resulting in zero windchill.
Montreal; winds nearly always from the northwest (aka arctic air) resulting in the agony of extremely cold temperatures on any bit of uncovered skin.
You have to have lived there to understand this.
I'll take Vancouver any day over Montreal.

Shanghaithunder said...

Montreal has won the Stanly Cup a zillion times . The Canucks have won........? Not that winning is everything but Montreal is a much better run organization built on tradition and pride.

solipsist said...

Shanghai - I believe les Canadiens have won the Stanley 24 times (going by memory from reading the stats on Wiki). You can check for yourself by clicking on the Wiki links above.

Grover - thanks for posting. Montreal is a lot more cosmopolitan than Van. in my view. Van. is a much younger, less polyglot city, and has a lot of growing up to do. Vancouver's culture is mostly based around it's "natural" setting and coffee.

londoner - thanks for posting. I think that your summary may be a bit too narrow. I'm not sure that everyone wants to live here any more than they want to live in NYC, Paris, London or Fort McMurray. I know that when I used to live in more wintry climes, I used to look at the weather reports in March and think "I like Vancouver's climate better than all this grey and brown and slush". It was more the North that kept me here (as a base) - where I worked seasonally until the NDP took all the money from FRBC and put it into general revenue. After that, it was more accidental that I stayed here. Don't get me wrong, I still prefer the climate and natural surroundings here, but I know it's not the best place in the world to live. That comes from seeing, and living in, so many places. I like the old saying "home is where the heart is". So true.

Good to see you freako.

pope - I found that language was never a problem in Montreal. I do speak French, but not fluently. Also, I learned French in France, and it is a slightly different language than in Quebec - just as Spanish in Spain is a different animal than Spanish in Mexico or Guatemala. It is an older, more provincial version. A simple "bonjour! ca va?" is enough to break the ice in Quebec - just as it is in France. Years ago (when there were still very much "two solitudes" in Canada, there was more ethnocentrism, but immigration, and time, has softened that quite a bit. The grip of the church has loosened a lot too, and that makes a difference.

Thanks for posting from Montreal Isabel, and for pointing out my lexical error. I agonized over that spelling for about 10 seconds, but I speak Spanish better than French, and that influenced me in the end. Would in not be Mont Royale in that case?

Derreck Penner - is that really you, or did some anon. take on your name? I wondered about that affordability, but in the end went with what I Googled (or Wiki'd). My bad. i've just been very pressed for time as of late. Is it possible that the RBC affordability number that I quoted is an after-tax figure? Not sure about why there would be that disparity in numbers. Blame Google, and an indolent poster (me) for that.

real estute - thanks for posting. I do know about the wind chill factor after living outside Winnipeg for two years, and in the East for 25 years. The weather is really what keeps me here now. If there is a permanent change towards the weather patterns of this year, i may reconsider. You just can't beat spring flowers in March though. I like heat and humidity, so I miss that here.

DCP said...

Yes it is really me. RBC does its Affordability Index on a quarterly basis. Latest one is third-quarter 2006. They use median household income (pre-tax) in the index formula, factored against mortgage, taxes etc.

derrick penner said...

Mixing accounts. DCP is Derrick Penner.

Warren said...

I've been to Montreal, and its great to visit, but the climate? Sorry, can't hack it in winter or summer.

Check this link:

Among other things, unemployment sits at 4.0 for Van and 7.6 for Montreal. Both good, but Montreal is nearly double. In fact, its among the worst for Canadian cities. Look at the downtown office vacancies, way above anything else. Its more like a maritime economy out there, which is like a recession in Calgary, Vancouver, or Toronto.

There's been a general corporate exodus since the referendum near-miss in 1995, and some caution against settling there. I have a few friends who have gone there for temporary work or school. Everybody likes it, but they have concerns of any long term settlement.

Don't forget taxes are high in Quebec relative to most other provinces. I think Montreal has great potential that has been damaged by fear and separatism, but that's a different conversation.

I put it in the "nice to visit" category.

aaronbest said...

Great post! I've been looking into Montreal as well. I found that the suburbs were more affordable than Vancouver's suburbs, but in and around downtown, the prices were very similar. I work with an investor who grew up in Montreal. He says Montreal is a great place to visit. Living there is a whole other story. I'm weary of the weather. I grew up for part of my childhood near the Yukon. Needless to say, I hate cold weather. This recent cold snap has me counting my air miles!