Living in Montreal as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Montreal Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Montreal

Montreal is a bustling metropolis located on the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada. Known for its rich history, European architecture, and distinctive French-Canadian culture, Montreal is home to over 1.7 million people. With a strong economy and low cost of living compared to other major cities in Canada, Montreal is an increasingly popular destination for expats looking to relocate. Whether you're an artist, architect, engineer, or entrepreneur, Montreal's expanding job market offers a wide range of career opportunities. Come experience the beauty and excitement of Montreal, one of North America's most dynamic and diverse cities.

Tips for expats in Montreal

Visa requirements

Citizens of most countries, including the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, do not require a visa to enter Canada for stays of up to six months. However, some nationalities may require a visa or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to enter Canada. Expats should check Canada's visa and immigration requirements before traveling to Canada.

Language resources

French is the official language of Quebec, with English also widely spoken in Montreal's business and expat communities. Expats who plan to live and work in Montreal for an extended period may want to consider learning some basic French to integrate better with the local community. Language resources for English-speaking expats include universities, language schools, and language exchange programs.

Cost of living for expats in Montreal


Montreal's cost of living is significantly lower than other major cities in Canada, such as Toronto and Vancouver, making it an even more attractive destination for expats. Rent prices for a room in a shared house start around $400-600 CAD ($314-471 USD) per month, while a one-bedroom apartment can typically be found for $800-1200 CAD ($629-960 USD) per month. Two-bedroom apartments range from $1000-1700 CAD ($819-1344 USD) per month, while three plus bedroom houses can go for $1400-2200 CAD ($1101-1758 USD) per month.


Montreal's grocery prices are generally lower than other major cities in Canada, although fresh produce can be somewhat more expensive than in other countries due to transportation costs. Expats can save money by shopping at local markets and specialty shops for fresh produce and bread, while larger supermarkets like Metropolitan and IGA offer a wider selection of imported foods.


Transportation costs in Montreal are also relatively affordable, with a one-way transit ticket costing $3.25 CAD ($2.62 USD) per trip. Monthly transit passes are available for $102 CAD ($81 USD) per month, providing unlimited rides on all public transportation systems for commuters. Additionally, car-sharing services like car2go are a convenient and affordable alternative to car ownership, with memberships starting at $39 CAD ($31 USD) per year.

Climate in Montreal

Montreal has a distinct four-season climate, characterized by frigid winters and warm summers. Temperatures can drop below -20°C (−4°F) in the winter, and snowfall is common between December and March. Summers are much milder, with temperatures often exceeding 25°C (77°F) during July and August. Autumn and spring are transitional seasons with mild temperatures and scenic foliage.

Job market in Montreal

Montreal's booming economy offers a diverse range of career opportunities in various sectors. Key industries in Montreal include finance, technology, healthcare, and education. Leading companies such as IBM, Google, and Airbnb have established offices in Montreal, providing expats with exciting job prospects. Additionally, the city's expanding startup scene and support for innovation have attracted large-scale investments and international recognition.

Healthcare in Montreal

Montreal's healthcare system is widely regarded as one of the best in Canada, with access to top-quality medical facilities and services. Montreal is home to several hospitals, clinics, and specialized medical centers, including the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Jewish General Hospital. Expats can also take advantage of a variety of wellness and preventative care programs, as well as a range of affordable health insurance options.

Transport in Montreal

Montreal's transportation infrastructure is efficient and well-connected, with several modes of transportation that allow expats to move easily around the city. The Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) is a new light rail network that connects the city's major transportation hubs, including the airport and downtown areas. Buses, trains, and subways are also available, ensuring that commuting is easy and convenient for expats.

Safety in Montreal

Montreal is generally considered a safe and secure city, but it's still essential to take basic safety precautions, especially in high-traffic areas and public transportation systems. Expats should be aware of pickpocketing and other street-level crimes, and it's always wise to keep valuables out of sight and locked away in a secure location. Overall, Montreal's low crime rate and robust police and emergency services system make it a safe destination for expats.

Neighborhoods in Montreal

  1. Mile End

    Mile End is a historic neighborhood located in Montreal's Plateau Mont-Royal borough. Known for its vibrant arts and music scene, Mile End is home to a variety of quirky boutiques, vintage stores, and indie record shops. Expats living in Mile End can take advantage of its thriving cultural community and affordable housing options.

  2. Downtown

    Montreal's downtown area is a bustling commercial district that offers a variety of high-rise buildings, hotels, and upmarket restaurants and shops. With its proximity to the city's major landmarks and transportation hubs, downtown Montreal is an attractive destination for expats seeking a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Attractions in Montreal

  1. Old Montreal

    Old Montreal is a historic district located at the heart of downtown Montreal. With its cobblestone streets, grand architecture, and charming atmosphere, Old Montreal has a distinct European flair that is unique to Montreal. Expats should take a walk through Old Montreal and explore its hidden alleyways, cafes, and shops.

  2. Mont Royal

    Mont Royal is a picturesque mount located in the heart of Montreal. Expats can take a leisurely hike up Mont Royal during the spring and summer months and enjoy panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscape. Mont Royal is also home to an observatory, botanical garden, and giant cross.

International Schools in Montreal

  1. Lycée Michelian (French School)

    Concordia University Campus, 1455 Blvd de Maisonneuve, Montreal, QC H3G 2W3

    Lycée Michelian is a French immersion school offering primary and secondary education programs to international students. The school's curriculum is aligned with the Canadian education system, providing expats' children with a solid foundation in both French and English.

Useful expat resources in Montreal

Expat destinations in Canada