You know you are from Montreal when…

Montreal was the first place I lived in Canada and all my first impressions of this country comes from there. In that sense, it feels very much like my native city in Canada and somehow I always find myself defending Quebec to friends from other parts of Canada….

I related to most of the items on this list:

you pronounce it “Muntreal”, not “Mahntreal”.

you have ever said anything like “I have to stop at the guichet before
we get to the dep.”

your only concern about jaywalking is getting a ticket.

you understand and frequently use terms like ‘unilingual,’ ‘anglophone,’
‘francophone,’ and ‘allophone.’

you agree that Montreal drivers are crazy, but you’re secretly proud of their nerves of steel.

the most exciting thing about the South Shore is that you can turn right on
a red.

you know that the West Island is not a separate geographical formation.

in moments of paranoia, you think that there’s no red line on the Metro
because red is a federalist colour.

you have to bring smoked meat from Schwartz’s and bagels from
St-Viateur if you’re visiting anyone west of Cornwall.

you refer to Tremblant as “up North.”

you know how to pronounce Pie IX.

you have an ancient auntie who still says “Saint Dennis.”

you believe to the depth of your very being that Toronto has no soul –
but your high school reunion is held in Toronto because most of your
classmates live there now.

you greet everyone, from lifelong bosom friends to some one you met
once a few years ago, with a two-cheek kiss.

you know at least one person who works for the CBC, and at least one
other person who used to work for Nortel.

you know what a four-and-a-half is.

you’re not impressed with hardwood floors.

you’ve been hearing Celine Dion jokes longer than anyone else.

you can watch soft-core porn on broadcast TV, and this has been true
for at least 25 years.

you cringe when Bob Cole pronounces French hockey player names.

you get Bowser & Blue.

you were drinking cafe-au-lait before it was latte.

Shopper’s Drug Mart is Pharmaprix and Staples is Bureau en Gros, and
PFK is finger lickin’ good.

you really believe Just For Laughs is an international festival.

for two weeks a year, you are a jazz afficianado.

you need to be reminded by prominent signage that
you should wait for the green light.

everyone on the street – drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists – think
they’re immortal, and that you’ll move first.

you’re proud that Montreal is the home of Pierre Trudeau, Mordechai
Richler, William Shatner, Leonard Cohen and the Great Antonio…

and, you consider Donald Sutherland (and by default, Keifer), Guy
Lafleur, Charlie Biddle, and Roch Carrier Montrealers, too.

you know that Rocket Richard had nothing to do with astrophysics.

you know the apocryphal story of the fat lady at Eaton’s.

you miss apostrophes.

you’ve seen Brother Andre’s heart.

no matter how bilingual you are, you still don’t understand “ile aux tourtes.”

you know the difference between the SQ, the SAQ, and the SAAQ.

you measure temperature and distance in metric, but weight and height in Imperial measure.

you show up at a party at 11 p.m. and no one else is there yet.

April Wine once played your high school (alternatively, Sass Jordon or Gowan).

you know that Montreal is responsible for introducing the following to
North America: bagels, souvlaki, smoked meat and Supertramp. Also, Chris de

you don’t drink pop or soda, you drink soft drinks.

you have graduated from high school and have a degree, but you’ve never
been in grade 12.

the margarine in your fridge is the same colour as lard.

every once in a while, you wonder whatever happened to Luba.

you never thought that Corey Hart was cool, but you know someone whose
cousin or something dated him.

there has to be at least 30 cm of snow on the ground in less than 24
hours for you to consider it too snowy to drive.

you remember where you were during the Ice Storm. [I was there! my first winter in canada!]

you used to be an Expos fan, but now all you really miss is Youppi.

you know that your city’s reputation for beautiful women is based on
centuries-old couplings between French soldiers and royally-commissioned
whores (aka Les Filles du Roi).

you don’t understand anyone from Lac-St-Jean, but you can fake the accent.

you’ve been to the Tam Tams, and know they have nothing to do with wee
Scottish hats.

you discuss potholes like most people discuss weather.

You encounter bilingual homeless people.

While watching an American made-for-TV movie, you realize that “Vienna”
is actually Old Montreal, that “New York” is actually downtown and that the
“The Futuristic City” is actually Habitat ’67.

You find it amusing when people from outside Quebec compliment you on
how good your English is.

You have yet to understand a single announcement made on the Metro PA
system, no matter what the language.

You think of Old Montreal as nothing but a bunch of over-priced
restaurants, old buildings and badly paved streets.

You understand that La Fete Nationale is not a celebration of “Quebec’s birthday”.

You don’t find American comedians speaking “gibberish” French even remotely funny.

You don’t find it weird that there’s a strip club on every corner downtown.

you like your pizza all-dressed

You say Métro instead of subway.

-You only speak English, yet you suddenly realize you have no clue what a “depanneur” (corner store) is called in English


Author: guerson

Historian. Teacher. Knitter. Passionate for bringing people together and building bridges.

7 thoughts on “You know you are from Montreal when…”

  1. Alexandra,

    Morro de vontade de visitar Montreal durante o festival de jazz. O meu marido ja teve o prazer de tocar nesse festival ha alguns anos.

    Nossa a sua viagem ao Brasil foi curta, hein?

    Coloquei minha leitura em dia por aqui. Gostei do seu post sobre a homofobia e AMEI a foto da senhora sentada de costas no onibus.

    Meus parabens, ainda que atrasados (lo siento). Muitas felicidades pra voce. Espero que o seu ano seja repleto de realizacoes pessoais e professionais, de muitas viajens e conversas boas. I look forward to seeing more pictures taken with your new camera.

    Last, but not least, muitissimo obrigada por publicar o meu poema Borderless. Estou preparando um CD com alguns dos meus poemas e musica. Quando ficar pronto eu te avisarei.



  2. Oi Regina,

    O festival de Jazz de montreal é realmente muito bom! Eu ia sempre nos shows ao ar livre quando morava lá.

    Obrigada por passar por aqui e parabéns mais uma vez pelos filhos maravilhosos. Adorei seu post sobre o summer camp do seu filho…



  3. Adoro passear em Montreal e por toda Quebec… mas quando penso em morar, fico meio arrepiada… acho que sou filha de Ontario ehehehehe!!!
    Eu morei em Ottawa 3 anos, e é muito bom viver entre essas duas províncias… um rio divide dois mundos!!!
    Uma coisa que ainda me intriga no Canada é o fato de aceitarmos a rainha da Inglaterra… sou muito brava com isso, e nessa parte defendo quebec com unhas e dentes…
    enfim, esse é assunto para outro post, né?
    Ah… deixei um award para vc lá no meu bloguito.
    Beijos e bom fim de semana!

  4. Oi Mirella,

    MUUUITO obrigada pelo award! Fiquei muito tocada!

    Quanto a Rainha… bom, confesso que quando era mais jovem eu era fanática pela Inglaterra e tudo que fosse ingles, inclusive a família real. Hoje já não sou tão fanática, vejo bem os problemas na inglaterra, não sou muito fã do rígido sistema classista que eles têm e provavelmente não gostaria de morar por lá, mas confesso que ainda gosto da Rainha, e muito. Portanto não tive a menor dificuldade em fazer meu juramento para ela na minha cerimonia de cidadania… Pronto, confessei. Será que eu perco meu award agora ;)


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