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When it comes to food, Montréal has an appetite for innovation

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Montréal is a city that knows how to work hard and play hard. And with all this working and playing, Montréalers can work up their appetites. It’s no wonder, then, that the city both excels in gastronomy and has a thriving food industry.

Montréal is definitely a food city. Considered the gastronomy capital of Canada, Montreal also has the most restaurants per capita (almost 6000 restaurants) in North America, second only to New York City.

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Recognized around the world as a foodie heaven, Montréal joined the Network of Good Food Cities of the World in 2007 – and is the only Canadian city to be included in this prestigious network.

And the accolades continue to roll in: Taste Montreal, an annual gastronomy festival held in November, made Fodor’s 2013 list of the 15 Best Food Festivals in North America. This culinary event coincides with Happy November, SAQ’s month-long celebration of gourmet wines.

Another bright light in Montréal’s food festival scene is Montréal en Lumière (Montréal High Lights Festival). This winter festival of culture, gourmet food and outdoor activities has emerged as one of North America’s most important gourmet events, reinforcing Montréal’s reputation as a gastronomic destination.

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Montréal’s diverse and thriving food industry

Not only does Montréal know how to enjoy great food, it also has a world-class, thriving food industry that employs more than 45,000 people. Greater Montreal has more than 47% of the jobs in Québec’s agri-food industry, with a total of 225,600 jobs (primary, secondary and tertiary sectors). The food processing industry in the Greater Montréal alone accounted for 38,700 jobs in 2011, in more than 980 food processing companies.

Montréal ranks second among the top 20 largest metropolitan areas in North America in the field of food processing. As well, Greater Montréal has some of the best agricultural potential of Québec, due to its climate and topography.

The city is also a great place to study the science of food. There are over 3,500 students enrolled in specialized programs in biochemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering and food science and technology.

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The Montréal region has 31 academic programs in agriculture, agricultural operations and related sciences, as well as in biochemistry and nutrition science. The Institute of Food Packaging and Engineering Technology (ITEGA) and the Institute of Agri-food Technologies (ITA) also offer professional and college level programs in Greater Montreal.

Montréalers know how to enjoy food, whether they are eating, producing, or studying it. As a city known for its joie de vivre, it’s not a surprise that Montréal would embrace both the consumption and production of fine food.

Fast Facts: Montréal’s Food Industry

  • More than 45,000 employees
  • More than 1600 farms and agriculture representing $220 million of GDP in 2010.
  • Agricultural areas covering about 58% of its territory (220,567 hectares).

Principle food research centres:

  • The Food Research and Development Center (FRDC) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • The Research and Development Institute for the Agri-Environment
  • The Centre for Agri-Food Technology Innovation (CINTECH)
  • The Farm at the Macdonald campus of McGill University

Key leaders:

  • Danone Canada
  • Industrie Lassonde
  • Kraft Canada
  • Labatt
  • Molson
  • Nestlé
  • Parmalat
  • Saputo

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