Insights about Canada’s Two Largest Cities

Become a Canadian big cities

We asked a travel writer which city in Canada he likes the most, Montreal or Toronto.

Without hesitation, he answered Montreal.

Joel Balsam was born in Ottawa but has been in Montreal for over a decade, and his father is from there.

As Canadians say, “Montreal is where you live, and Toronto is where you work.”

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Since Montreal was mainly built before cars existed, it is more walkable than Toronto, and many of its main streets become pedestrian-only every summer.

Try strolling through the alleys of Old Montreal without feeling a tinge of romance. The ruelles vertes (literally “green streets”), alleys in neighborhoods like Plateau and Villeray, are green and semi-secret ways to move around the city.

In Toronto, parks are scarce and crowded, with Trinity Bellwoods being a real chaos on a sunny Saturday. In contrast, Montreal’s parks are plentiful and have ample space to spread out a picnic blanket filled with fine cheeses, a baguette, and a bottle of wine.

BAC Become A Canadian montreal vs toronto

There’s nothing in Toronto like the hippie dance party called Tam Tams, held every Sunday in Parc Jeanne-Mance, and Parc du Mont-Royal offers an unmatched way to view the city and its giant Leonard Cohen mural.

Toronto has great restaurants, especially Asian cuisine, but Montreal is no slouch either. Vin Mon Lapin has been named the best restaurant in Canada, and Montreal has the most delicious smoked meat and bagels in the world.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “as Canadian as maple syrup”? Or how chef Jamie Oliver called poutine the “unofficial official dish of Canada”? By that logic, Montreal (and Quebec) is the best place to experience Canada, as the province produces about 90% of the sweet stuff and invented poutine. What does Ontario have? Butter tarts?

Balsam said: “I admit, I feel a little bad criticizing Toronto. After all, I am from Ontario. But my duty here is to write about travel, and I just want to ensure that you, dear traveler, have the best experience when you visit Canada. So forget about Toronto and visit Montreal”.

Canada has many beautiful cities to live in, like Montreal or Toronto. If one of your priorities is to move to a country that offers you safety and freedom, think about this country. Contact Become a Canadian if you wish to relocate and need information about immigration.