Sign in to follow this  
LeonF

Perth to Montréal

Recommended Posts

LeonF

We a are a Southern Africa family (Namibian) that have been living in Perth for 4 years. My work will be relocating me to Montréal for a temporary assignment (2-3 years). I am looking for some general information on Montréal.

1. Suggested subburbs to live (will be working in the city)

2. Suggested schools.

3. Just how important is the whole french thing.

4. How do you cope with the weather!

5. Anything else a SAFFER should know about living in Montréal.

Enige hulp sal hoogs op prys gestel word. Neem aan daar is nie te veel Afrikaners in Montréal nie?

Leon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV

LeonF , I live 250 klm outside of Montreal but I have a good knowledge of Montreal . so, here's some advice :

1) suburbs

Commuting can be a real mess in Montreal so you have to know the exact location where you'll be working before choosing a neighborhood. You can live on the island or outside of it. On the island, you normally have easy access to the subway and downtown. Outside the island means more commuting.

2) Schools

( see 1 ) since you're on a temporary basis, kids can go to an English school.

3) French .

Official language spoken by 80% of the province but Montreal is different. It's a very cosmopolitan city and half the population on the island have a mothertongue other than French so you will be able to manage very well with English. Unless you settled in an entirely French suburb ( east ) , you won't have any problems with French. Outside of Montreal , you would have a tough time but not in Montreal. Don't worry about French but be respectful of it . It's a serious matter here and the people ( Francophones ) take it very seriously.

4) Weather

Be ready for a real shock ! It's brutal ! The winter is long with a lot of snow. Not only is it cold but very humid so you freeze all the time. Four beautiful months ( June to September ) but the rest can be very ugly.

5) SAFFER

Just remember that Montreal is ok but it's a big city with all the problems related to a big city. But people are nice and friendly.

Enige hulp sal hoogs op prys gestel word. Neem aan daar is nie te veel Afrikaners in Montréal nie?

Don't expect to find many South Africans in Montreal. There may be a few but no community like in B.C. or Alberta.

Try to know the exact location where you'll be working . Does your work involve some traveling ? With that info, it's going to be a lot easier to find the right suburb.

If you need more info , don't hesitate ! I'll be away a couple of days but glad to answer any questions when I get back .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV

here's a map of Montreal :

http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/pls/portal/doc...NTREALARRON.PDF

Split it in 3 : from right to left : East , Center , West

EAST : Avoid .

CENTER : Best neighborhoods : Westmount, Outremont, Mont-Royal , (NDG-Cotes-des-Neiges : NDG OK Cotes-des-Neiges = avoid ) . Avoid the rest

WEST : good : Dorval, Pointe-claire, Dollard-des-Ormeaux and all the neighborhoods west of these are fine. Most of the English-speaking Quebecers live in these neighborhoods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
spanner

Ja, some good advice there JeanDV. I would add that it would probably be best to avoid Montreal North as well.

Otherwise I'm sure you'll love this city, it has a lot to offer. If you working downtown then you won't have a problem with transport. The winters are harsh but you'll have the opportunity to snowboard, go snow shoeing, ski etc. Doing winter sports takes the edge off the cold. As for French, its frustrating not being able to speak to the locals but you can still get by. I know a guy who's lived in Montreal for 25 years and he still refuses to learn French. So yeah, find a nice apartment in one of the areas Jean mentioned and you will have a great time here.

All the best

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LeonF

JeanDV Thanks for all th usefull info. Some more questions if I may.

I will be working in Downtown Montreal (CBD) but will also be traveling a lot so I probably will have to be relatively close to the airport.

1. Which suburbs come to mind?

2. Which of the english schools are recommended (for a 9 yr old).

3. How much of your household budget is spent on heating. I have been told the cost of living in Canada is similiar to Oz?

4. Do RSA/OZ electical appliances work in Canada ?

Leon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV

Leon,

The airport ( Pierre Trudeau International ) is located in Dorval . So Dorval , Pointe-Claire and Beaconsfield ( see map ) would be good choices. Not that far away from the airport. To get to downtown Montreal, you can use the public transportation system ( Train + subway ) if you don’t want to get caught in very heavy traffic coming in and out of Montreal. These suburbs are predominantly anglophones , especially Beaconsfield, which has one of the highest houseold income in the province.

These suburbs are part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board and there’s some 40 elementary English schools to cover the West part of Montreal. So depending on the suburb you choose, your kid will most likely have to go to one of the the schools located not too far away from your home.

Heating costs : it can vary greatly depending on the type of home and even the region where you live. My average heating bill is close to $400 CDN a month. But I live in a city colder than Montreal where the winter lasts 3 weeks longer. Heating the pool in the summer also adds $600 more on the bill. Also, do not neglect the hidden costs of year 1 in the province of Quebec like winter tires, clothing etc ... Easily a couple of thousands more added to the expenses. :huh:

Electric current in Canada is 110 volts, 60 cycle AC.

What do you plan to do for housing ? Rent, buy , house , apartment ? Does your company pay for housing ?

bye, JeanDV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Traveller
JeanDV Thanks for all th usefull info. Some more questions if I may.

I will be working in Downtown Montreal (CBD) but will also be traveling a lot so I probably will have to be relatively close to the airport.

1. Which suburbs come to mind?

2. Which of the english schools are recommended (for a 9 yr old).

3. How much of your household budget is spent on heating. I have been told the cost of living in Canada is similiar to Oz?

4. Do RSA/OZ electical appliances work in Canada ?

Leon

Leon, I have lived downunder since the 80s, and this is nearly our 5th year in Canada. We used to live in Ottawa, not far from Montreal, but I'll leave the Montreal questions to JeanDV.

3. CoL. Housing costs of Sydney, NSW and Vancouver BC are similar, both buying and renting. I believe Montreal to be a bit cheaper than Vancouver.

Everything else, you can always find a much better deal in Canada, almost whatever you buy. That goes for electronics, clothes, groceries, fruit&veg, transport, books, toys, etc.

Often considerably cheaper. If not, drive across the southern border. Of course in Montreal you will pay more for heating in winter. And as JeanDV said, you will need more and different clothes in Canada.

4. You will need to buy step-up transformers. These are easy to find from speciality stores, and range from $50-$150 depending on wattage.

We are using several Aussie appliance without hassles, but I would not bother with high-wattage items.

Good luck

Christo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LeonF
Leon,

The airport ( Pierre Trudeau International ) is located in Dorval . So Dorval , Pointe-Claire and Beaconsfield ( see map ) would be good choices. Not that far away from the airport. To get to downtown Montreal, you can use the public transportation system ( Train + subway ) if you don’t want to get caught in very heavy traffic coming in and out of Montreal. These suburbs are predominantly anglophones , especially Beaconsfield, which has one of the highest houseold income in the province.

These suburbs are part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board and there’s some 40 elementary English schools to cover the West part of Montreal. So depending on the suburb you choose, your kid will most likely have to go to one of the the schools located not too far away from your home.

Heating costs : it can vary greatly depending on the type of home and even the region where you live. My average heating bill is close to $400 CDN a month. But I live in a city colder than Montreal where the winter lasts 3 weeks longer. Heating the pool in the summer also adds $600 more on the bill. Also, do not neglect the hidden costs of year 1 in the province of Quebec like winter tires, clothing etc ... Easily a couple of thousands more added to the expenses. :)

Electric current in Canada is 110 volts, 60 cycle AC.

What do you plan to do for housing ? Rent, buy , house , apartment ? Does your company pay for housing ?

bye, JeanDV

Thanks for all the info guys, you have been great!

Jean

Currently we intend to rent. Yet unsure if that will be a house or apartment. The company will pay for housing up to C$ 2000/m. Not sure what we will get for that ? Will probably need to top up a bit?

Can you recommend some good web sites. We are struggling to find good property web sites, suspect because we are not picking up the French sites.

Some more questions.

1. When does the school year start? Do kids start the new year in January or September ?

2. How do goverment schools compare to private schools? Are they any good? We have not been impressed with the state schools in Australia.

3. Are there long waiting lists for private schools (there are in Western Australia )?

Regards

Leon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV

Leon !

1) schools calender : start in September( Sept 5 th ) end in June ( 23 rd) !

2) Private schools : a lot better than public schools , not doubt about it . But can be very costly , from 10k to 20k a year !!

Leon ,if your kid is 9 year old ( grade 4-5 ) and going to an Anglophone public school in a nice neighborhood , it should be OK !!

It would'nt be the same thing if your boy was 13-16 and had to go to a French High School in the east-center-south part of Montreal !!

Then I would recommend to spend some $$$$ on a private school ..... any family who can send their kid to a Private School will do it but

Anglo Public schools in nice neighborhood is a very good option , especially the Lester B. Pearson School Board if you settle in the Western part of Montreal ( called the West Island )

3) Waiting lists : Depends on the school Leon !! Can't really tell you !!

I will get back to you with links this week ,

bye, JeanDV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV

Leon ,

A few links :

The region I suggested is called West Island. I would settle in the cities in RED on the map. At the bottom you have the websites of the various cities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Island

Rentals :

The classified from the Montreal Gazette :

http://homes.canada.com/montreal/results.aspx?cls_id=34582

Rental site . Click the name of the city/neighborhood in the search on the right.

http://rental.bytheowner.com/

Another popular site called KIIJI

http://montreal.kijiji.ca/f-housing-apartm...atIdZ37QQPageZ1

Link of the Lester B.Pearson Shool Board . At the bottom you’ll find the list of all the elementary schools with their respective links.

http://www2.lbpsb.qc.ca/eng/schools/elem.asp

One more word about your rental. With $2000 a month, you’ll be able to rent a very nice appartment. If you prefer to rent a house, then you should be able to get a decent house for $2000-$2500 .

When are you planning to move to Montreal ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LeonF

Jean

Thanks for the info , we have been looking at websites and certainly as you suggested the two areas that emerge as possibilities are the west island (reminds me of Perth's North West) and just west of the city (Westmount, Hampton, NDG).

It looks like all the LPB schools have a model of 50/50 English/French whereas the EMSB "English core" schools appear to have 66/33 English/French.

We are very keen for our kids to be exposed to French, however I don't want our oldest to miss out on a year of science because the class was given in a language he did not understand.

We are also mindful that English is already a second language for our children and that once we return to Australia this will once again be the language of instruction. We also want to retain the Afrikaans.

We therefore are thinking to enrol him in a school with a higher proportion of English and then increase the exposure to French in the second year? Although I suspect that the Quibec schools probably have the structures in place to assist pupils with limited French. Intend to investigate this once we go over to have a look (later in July or August)

For our three year old (who was born in Australia) we are thinking of doing the French Immersion thing. He is already mixing his English and Afrikaans so we will probably end up with a mixture of three languages! Although I am fairly confident that these will get sorted out shortly (as some more of those synapses connect later on!!)

At the moment I am leaning over to "West of the City" as oppose to West Island due to the language model at the schools, travel to work, proximity to the airport etc. Will need to see if this will be practical with my two "busy" boys in an apartment.

Do you think this makes sense, any glaring wrong assumptions?

Regards

Leon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV
Thanks for the info , we have been looking at websites and certainly as you suggested the two areas that emerge as possibilities are the west island (reminds me of Perth's North West) and just west of the city (Westmount, Hampton, NDG).

West Island : you will be closer to the airport if you settle in Dorval/Pointe-Claire/Beaconsfield . (About 2-3 klm closer .. not much ) but you will have to use the train-subway to go to work downtown. The neighborhoods are less cosmopolitain than the ones in "West of the city" .

West of the city : You will be able to go to work using the subway and not that far away from the airport .

Westmount : upscale anglophone neighborhood . If you can afford it , you can't miss !

Hampton : you meant Hampstead I think .... The Cote-St-Luc/Hampstead neighborhood is mostly Jewish ...

NDG : The NDG/Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood is very ethnical , especially Côte-des-Neiges where you won't see many white faces except a few students of the nearby Université de Montreal . NDG is a bit less ethnical but still very much cosmopolitain .

It looks like all the LPB schools have a model of 50/50 English/French whereas the EMSB "English core" schools appear to have 66/33 English/French.

We are very keen for our kids to be exposed to French, however I don't want our oldest to miss out on a year of science because the class was given in a language he did not understand.

We are also mindful that English is already a second language for our children and that once we return to Australia this will once again be the language of instruction. We also want to retain the Afrikaans.

We therefore are thinking to enrol him in a school with a higher proportion of English and then increase the exposure to French in the second year? Although I suspect that the Quibec schools probably have the structures in place to assist pupils with limited French. Intend to investigate this once we go over to have a look (later in July or August)

Leon , you seem to have done your homework very well . Don't worry too much about the French part . Many students do not speak French so they have to take that into account.

If you were immigrating to Quebec , that would be a different matter but since you're only here on a temporary basis , don't worry ; your kid should be all right even if he doesn't speak French !

When you come to Montreal , make sure you get it right about the 50/50 - 66/33 English - French education ratio ... I'm not sure about that !

At the moment I am leaning over to "West of the City" as oppose to West Island due to the language model at the schools, travel to work, proximity to the airport etc. Will need to see if this will be practical with my two "busy" boys in an apartment.

Leon , just a few "demographical " things you want to know . 50% of the people on the Island ( including west of the city ) were born outside of Canada . So if you settle in the

"west of the city " , expect to live in a very ethnical neighborhood .... the Côtes-des-Neiges neighborhood ( part of the NDG-Côtes-des-Neiges) has a black neighborhood of about 30,000 people , Mostly poor people ... an unsafe place where crime is part of the daily life .

Up to you Leon , I'm just here to give the best advice I can ! Unless you can find a nice place in Westmount ( West of the city ), I would look at west Island !!

Don't hesitate if you have any other questions !

Gute Nacht mein Freund, Jean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LeonF

Jean

Thanks again for those useful insights that can only be gained by speaking to a local. You certainly have highlighted some demographics that I was not aware of.

Looks like it is either Westmount or West Island. I will take a very good look at the two once we go visit Montreal.

Some more questions if I may. My trawling through the school web sites west of the city has helped (to an extent) to get a view of the potential differences in schools. I liked what I saw for St Georges (one of the reasons why I was leaning over to "West of the City").

However, the Lester Pearson schools have very generic web sites, difficult to differentiate based on the web sites. Do you know if the are some of these that are better regarded ? I understand that you live in a different city so may not be able to comment.

Another question that I have is on drivers licences, do you perhaps know what the process is for converting (from a Western Australian licence)?

Assume you do a written test, do you do a practical one as well?

Regards

Leon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV

Leon ,

You will be able to see the different neiborghoods and choose one to your liking when you visit Montreal. Westmount or the West Island are IMHO sure bets but you may find one that you and your family prefer also.

As for schools, I'm afraid I won't be able to give you advice on specific schools since I'm not qualified to do that. Unless you go to a private school , I think the " the better the neighborhood the better the school" rule may apply to a certain extent.

Drivers license :

The following link from the SAAQ will give you everything you need to know . There are more links at the bottom of that page also .

http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/driver_licen...hange/index.php

Take care , Jean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LeonF

Jean

I though I would let you know. We were in Montréal a few weeks ago and decided to settle in the West Island. I didn't meet to many South Africans but quite a few Ozzies.

Once again thanks for your help.

Regards

Leon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JeanDV

You're welcome Leon,

West Island is a great choice. The best of luck to you and your family.

Jean ( Can you believe I'll have the winter tires on my car in less than three weeks from now ) :huh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this