Montreal’s Joie de Vivre
While growing up in the Ottawa suburbs, a friend told me about a city where artists run wild. He explained that the modest cost of living resulted in a thriving bohemian scene. People could dump groceries into brown paper bags for half the week and dedicate the rest of their time to painting murals or playing classical guitar. He described people bringing their own wine to restaurants, and couples courting each other in a romantic language. Imagine my excitement upon learning that this friend spoke of Montreal – our hometown’s neighbour.
If Ottawa is the city of Apollo, Montreal is the city of Bacchus, with festivities lasting from dusk to dawn. In one night, you could visit the Biodôme to see penguins hobbling around outdoors over snow and ice, before heading to the Museum of Archaeology for live music, wine, and dancing.
I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to live in Montreal for five years. The Plateau, Saint-Henri, and Hochelaga boroughs have all been my home. Their unique qualities have provided me with a rich understanding of the city – something I look forward to sharing with readers. But before flipping to the more pragmatic chapters, I’d like to say one thing about the city: People don’t move to Montreal to start illustrious careers, they move there because they love the city. As the saying goes, Montrealers don’t live to work, they work to live. And when you have a population of life-loving locals, you get a unique culture. One that embraces la joie de vivre.