Top 5 Montreal Myths Debunked

Posted on August 4th, 2009 by .

Last week, I was in New York City meeting with locals from the Big Apple and giving away free trips to Montreal (Oh, isn’t life rough?) And as I interacted with people on the street, I quickly realized that many myths about Montreal persist in the collective imagination of Americans. Myths that need some rapid debunking…
Myth #1: Montreal is far – Now, I know that geography is not everyone’s forté, but I was really surprised that a lot of people didn’t know whether Montreal was on the East or West coast of North America. So, let’s clear that up. Montreal is a 7-hour drive or a swift 45-minute flight north of New York City. We are much, much closer than you think!
Myth #2: Montreal is always cold – I will admit that our winters are pretty intense, but our summers gloriously hot. And not just the temperature! From May to September, the city is burning up with FESTIVALS and FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES!
Myth #3: We live in an underground city – New Yorkers are so impressed that Montreal has a large underground shopping network that somehow they’ve blown it completely out of proportion. Some Americans I spoke to referred to Montreal as “an entire secret city that lives underground.” Although that sounds like it would make an amazing apocalyptic movie, I would like to clarify that Montrealers don’t literally live underground. Yes, we have an extensive network of shopping malls that connect to each other under the downtown streets, but Montreal is very much alive on terra firma.
Myth #4: Montrealers only speak French – Ironically enough, French Canadians speak very good English. Perfect example: yours truly. Montreal bilingualism is one of the reasons why I love living here so much. You can come practice your French in Montreal, but rest assured that service is available in English almost everywhere.
Myth #5: Mount Royal is a dormant volcano – This is probably one of the most tenacious myths about Montreal. And considering that a lot of locals also believe Mount Royal is an old volcano, I forgive you on this one. The truth is that Mount Royal is one of the eight Monteregian hills formed by the intrusion of igneous rocks through the sedimentary layers of the St-Lawrence plain. So no risk of ending up like Pompeii.
Myth #6: Montrealers are beautiful – In fact, Montrealers are stunning. No debunking needed here!

Know of a Montreal myth living abroad? Let me know and let’s start debunking!


  1. Tomitheos

    / Oct 10th

    During our college class surveying of the Montreal mountain we found evidence of minerals that only derive from an ancient volcano.
    wiki: The mountain is not a traditional volcano as such. However, it is the deep extension of a vastly eroded ancient volcanic complex, which was probably active about 125 million years ago.The mountain was created when the North American Plate moved westward over the New England hotspot, along with the other mountains of the Monteregian Hills, by a process known as intrusion: The magma intruded into the sedimentary rocks underneath the area, producing at least eight igneous stocks. The main rock type is a gabbro composed of pyroxene, olivine and variable amounts of plagioclase. During and after the main stage of intrusion, the gabbros and surrounding rocks were intruded by a series of volcanic dikes and sills. Subsequently, the surrounding softer sedimentary rock was eroded, leaving behind the resistant igneous rock that forms the mountain.

    The mineral montroyalite, discovered in Montreal, is named after the mountain that provided the definition sample.

    Therefore because it is rich with the mineral montroyalite it was named Mount Royal.

  2. Natalie

    / Feb 4th

    I know many Montrealers who do not speak one word of English. If you are in the Metro, there is no English anywhere. To exist and access a harmonious living; you need French.
    Saying that Montreal is perfectly bilingual is not true, many people in the Anglophone community are indeed marginalized, because the quality of services are only in French; including business, you have to do your taxes in French there is no English option. If you want to have a business, all correspondence must be in French including the name.

  3. laura despault

    / Jan 15th

    Actually, Montreal was once a volcano. They teach about it at mcgill geology, and you can see pieces of the original volcano at the top lookout, where some of it is displayed. it is not dormant, it is dead, but yes, it was a volcano.

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