True Facts about Montreal
You might be from Montreal if:
- You think three straight days of 90+ temperatures is a heat wave.
- All your pets are named after former Habs greats.
- You refer to 4 inches of snow as a “dusting.”
- Everything in town – at least everything you care about – is a seven dollar cab ride away.
- When you leave Montreal, you think the locals from the area are all hopelessly provincial. Including when you go to another big city. Even New York or Chicago.
- You still can’t bear to watch baseball highlights from game 7 of the 1981 LCS, or to think about the strike in ’94.
- You understand that driving quickly is not the same as driving poorly. You don’t realize that you drive more quickly and intentionally than people elsewhere.
- You think Pierre Elliot Trudeau AND Réné Levesque were misunderstood.
- You think that if someone never goes out after work they must be hopelessly square, or ill.
How we’ll know you weren’t born here:
- You wear a toque before January. Or after January, for that
- You insist on crossing at the crosswalk.
- You ask for directions to “Club Supersexe” or “Shay Paree”.
- You cheer for the Leafs. Or the Sens.
- You don’t know that “Avenue des Pins” may also be pronounced “Pine” and “Boul St-Laurent” is also known as “The Main”.
- You call it Carré St-Louis, not Square St-Louis. Note: many do not know this, but “square” is also an archaic French word, and the official name of this lovely small park, even in French, is “Square St-Louis”
- Which Clark Street do you want? We have two Clark(e) Streets (at least), and about a half dozen streets etc. named after Saint Catherine.
- Keep an open mind about street names. The names aren’t always what people call them anyhow.
- You can’t rent a room at Hotel de Ville no matter how tired you are. And Avenue de l’Hotel-de-Ville is nowhere near it, really.
- “St” doesn’t mean street. It means Saint.
- If Boul Réné-Levesque has mysteriously turned into Dorchester, you’re in Westmount.
- If University has mysteriously turned into Av Robert-Bourassa, you’ve left McGill and wandered downtown.
- All highways are referred to by number, even if the sign says it’s something else, including another number. The 40 runs E-W through the middle of the Island, the 20 on the south, the 15 up the middle – and then jags over to the East and continues North from there.
- The “Mountain” really isn’t much of a mountain. We know this. That doesn’t mean that we want to be reminded of that fact all the time. Or ever, really.
The North-East-South-West thing:
Montreal West is East of the West Island. Westmount is further East than Montreal West. The South Shore means a lot of things – everything South of the Fleuve counts. The Eastern Townships are to the South of Montreal. Mile End hasn’t been at the end of anything in 100 years. The mountain may be just a hill, but the Plateau really is a plateau, as you’ll learn when you go out on a bike. If you notice one street is noticeably more uneven and “damaged” than others, there’s probably an underground river below, whose banks keep shifting despite having been encased in pipes a century ago (see Av Duluth or Rue De La Savane, for example).
Things not to do:
- Don’t look quizzical when someone asks you to close the lights. They’re asking you to turn them off.
- Don’t get all weird about the Gay Pride parade. It’s one of the biggest events of the summer. Nuns enjoy it.
- Don’t tell someone that you think converting a church into condos is sacrilegious. They might well live in one.
- Be careful when you complain about ‘gentrification’. Some of the “terrible” condo conversions represent the removal of long-protested, heavily-polluting textile factories in residential areas.
- Don’t make fun of Olympic Stadium. We know.
Things you should know:
- Autoroute 20 has stoplights. Seriously.
- The Montreal Canadiens – formally, Club de hockey Canadien – is known as the Habs. The Habs are the best sports team ever. In any sport.
- Basketball, hockey, and football were all introduced to North America by Montrealers. If you enjoy any of these sports, you owe a debt to Montreal. You can buy us beers to repay.
- The underground train? Not the subway. It’s the metro.