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Montreal vs Quebec Which city is better to live in

Montreal vs Quebec: Which city is better to live in?

Welcome to the age-old debate of Montreal vs. Quebec City—two of Canada’s most captivating destinations, each vying for the title of the ultimate place to call home. Each city is a powerhouse in its own right, but still, which one is better to live in?

Montreal is better to live in than Quebec because of its modern amenities and infrastructure. As the largest city in Quebec, Montreal has a wide range of restaurants, and entertainment options, as well as excellent public transportation. 

Montreal is also a hub for innovation and technology, with many universities and research centres, which can be a draw for those in these fields.

So read on and get ready to be whisked away on a whirlwind adventure, as we uncover which city truly reigns supreme as the ideal abode for your next chapter in life.

Montreal vs Quebec: Cost of Living

Montreal vs Quebec Cost of Living

If you’re looking for a city with a lower cost of living, Quebec City is your best bet. The housing market is more affordable and entertainment options are cheaper than in Montreal. 

However, if you’re looking for a bustling nightlife scene or want to live in an urban environment with plenty of culture and entertainment options, then Montreal may be the better choice for you.

1. Housing Costs

Housing Costs' Homepage
Apartment Costs of Montreal vs. Quebec
CategoryMontrealQuebec
1 bedroom apartment (Monthly Rent) in City Centre1,452.80 CAD1,071.90 CAD
3 bedrooms apartment (Monthly Rent) in City Centre2,536.53 CAD1,812.50 CAD
Units for Sale in City Centre (Per Square Metre)8,376.03  CAD11,859.13  CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

Housing costs in Quebec City are significantly lower than those in Montreal. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $819 per month, while a two-bedroom will cost you $967. 


In Montreal, the average rent for a one-bedroom is $1,295 and $1,600 for two bedrooms. 

In addition to this difference in price between the two cities’ rental units, purchasing property can be pricier as well due to higher demand and limited space within Montreal’s urban area compared with Quebec City.

2. Food Costs

Food Costs' Homepage
Food Costs in Montreal vs. Quebec
CategoryMontrealQuebec
1 litre of regular Milk2.90 CAD2.29 CAD
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)3.88 CAD3.36 CAD
Beef Round (1kg) 17.22 CAD22.26 CAD
Banana (1kg)2.07 CAD1.96 CAD
Chicken Filets (1kg)15.85 CAD13.31 CAD
Data sourced from: Numbeo

According to Numbeo, the cost of groceries in Montreal is slightly higher than in Quebec City, with an average price index of 66.07 compared to 64.63, respectively.

Both cities are similar in terms of food prices. The average cost of a meal at a casual restaurant is around $20, while more upscale establishments will cost around $40. 

If you’re looking for something cheaper, there are plenty of options that fall into the $10–15 range as well. In terms of grocery shopping, Montrealers pay slightly less than Quebecois residents do, but only by about 10%.

This may be because Quebec City has fewer large supermarkets and more specialty stores that offer higher quality products at higher prices.

3. Entertainment Expenses

Entertainment Expenses' Homepage

According to Numbeo, the cost of groceries in Montreal is slightly higher than in Quebec City, with an average price index of 66.07 compared to 64.63, respectively.

If you’re looking to hit up some shows, concerts or sporting events in either city, the price will depend on the venue and what’s playing there at the time. 

The Bell Centre in Montreal has hosted some pretty big names over its history–Justin Bieber and Guns N’ Roses are just two examples–but tickets can be expensive depending on what kind of seats you want (and whether or not they’re sold out).

In Quebec City, there aren’t any major sports teams or concert venues like those found in Montreal; however, there are plenty of smaller clubs where locals go out dancing every weekend if that’s what floats your boat!

Montreal vs Quebec: Quality of Life

Montreal vs Quebec Quality of Life

In terms of quality of life, Montreal stands out over Quebec for its diverse and contemporary arts scene, as well as its top-tier educational institutions and extensive healthcare facilities. 

As you explore the differences between these cities, it’s essential to delve into factors that contribute to overall well-being. 

Although both Montreal and Quebec offer distinct experiences and opportunities that significantly impact the quality of life for their residents,

1. Culture and Arts Scene

Culture and Arts Scene's Homepage

Montreal has a more diverse and innovative arts scene compared to Quebec. It is because Montreal’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and multicultural population contribute to a wide variety of artistic expressions and collaborations.


This attracts international artists and fosters an environment that encourages creative experimentation and growth.

Montreal is also home to world-class festivals such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and the World Film Festival. The city’s multiculturalism is reflected in its wide range of artistic expressions, making it a hub for creativity and innovation.

Quebec City, steeped in history and tradition, offers a more classical take on culture and arts. The city’s heritage is showcased through its beautifully preserved architecture, historic sites, and museums such as the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. 

While Quebec City may not have the same level of arts diversity as Montreal, it still hosts significant events, including the Festival d’été de Québec and the Winter Carnival.

2. Healthcare and Education Systems

Healthcare and Education Systems' Homepage

Montreal has an advantage over Quebec City in terms of healthcare and education. 


The city’s larger population and urban status have resulted in a higher number of hospitals and medical facilities, as well as universities providing greater accessibility and resources for residents. 

Montreal and Quebec City both offer high-quality healthcare and education systems, reflecting Canada’s commitment to these essential services. However, there are some differences between the two cities in terms of accessibility, diversity, and resources.

In healthcare, Montreal boasts a higher number of hospitals and medical facilities compared to Quebec City. This can be attributed to Montreal’s larger population and status as a major urban centre. 

When it comes to education, Montreal stands out as a hub for higher learning, with top-tier institutions like McGill University and Université de Montréal. The city offers a wealth of academic resources, research opportunities, and international connections. 

Quebec City, while home to reputable institutions like Université Laval, may not provide the same level of educational diversity and global prestige.

3. Climate

Climate's Homepage
MontrealQuebec
Montreal has a humid continental climate, characterised by warm summers and cold winters.Quebec City has a subarctic climate, characterised by very cold winters and mild summers.  

Montreal has a slightly milder climate compared to Quebec City, with less snowfall and warmer temperatures.


The city experiences an average temperature of 27°C (81°F) in July and -9°C (16°F) in January. While Quebec’s average temperature in July is 25°C (77°F) and -13°C (9°F) in January. 

Montreal’s climate is classified as humid continental, with warm and humid summers, and cold, snowy winters. Montreal’s annual snowfall averages around 210 cm (83 inches), with winter temperatures moderated by its proximity to the St. Lawrence River.

Quebec City, in contrast, experiences slightly colder temperatures and more snowfall due to its location further north and inland.Quebec City receives approximately 303 cm (119 inches) of snow annually, contributing to its reputation for picturesque winter landscapes.

Montreal vs Quebec: Job Opportunities

Montreal vs Quebec Job Opportunities

Montreal offers a broader range of job opportunities and industries due to its larger population and economic diversity compared to Quebec City. 

Montreal, as a major urban centre and the largest city in Quebec, is known for its thriving aerospace, information technology, life sciences, and film industries, attracting both local and international talent. 

Montreal is also home to several multinational corporations and start-ups, offering diverse career paths and opportunities for growth.

On the other hand, Quebec City has a smaller job market but still provides opportunities in key industries such as tourism, public administration, and insurance. 

The city’s economy is more focused on regional development and preserving its cultural heritage, which may lead to a narrower range of job prospects. However, Quebec’s lower cost of living and low unemployment rates can make it attractive for job seekers.

Montreal vs Quebec: Population and Diversity

Montreal vs Quebec Population and Diversity
Montreal3,675,219
Quebec733,156

Montreal (3.6 million) is a larger, more diverse, and densely populated city compared to Quebec City (733,156). 

Montreal, the largest city in Quebec and the second largest in Canada, has a metropolitan area that extends to include more than 4 million residents, making it a bustling urban centre. 

Montreal’s diverse population is composed of various ethnicities and nationalities, creating a rich cultural mosaic. Additionally, Montreal is known for its bilingualism, with a majority of residents speaking both French and English.

In contrast, Quebec City has a smaller population of approximately 733,156 residents (2021). Quebec City’s population is predominantly French-speaking, with a strong focus on preserving the region’s Francophone heritage. 

The city has a lower population density compared to Montreal, giving it a more relaxed and less crowded atmosphere.

Montreal vs Quebec: Immigration Process

Montreal vs Quebec Immigration Process

Montreal and Quebec City, both located within the province of Quebec, follow the same immigration process, as Quebec has a distinct system in place compared to the rest of Canada. 


While both city follow the same immigration process, Montreal provides a more diverse and bilingual environment with a broader job market than Quebec

Quebec’s Immigration Process

The Quebec immigration process starts with obtaining a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ) through one of the available programs, such as:

  • Quebec Skilled Worker Program
  • Quebec Experience Program
  • Quebec Business Immigration Program

After securing a CSQ, applicants proceed with the federal application for permanent residency.

However, the experiences and opportunities for newcomers may vary between the two cities due to factors like population size, language requirements, and job opportunities.

MontrealQuebec
Montreal, being a bilingual city, offers more flexibility for English-speaking immigrants.Language proficiency plays a significant role in the Quebec immigration process, with a strong emphasis on French language skills. 

Integration into the job market and local community is another important aspect of the immigration process. Montreal’s larger job market and diverse population can provide more opportunities for newcomers. 

Quebec City, with its smaller job market and an emphasis on cultural preservation, may offer fewer opportunities but a tighter-knit community. 

Montreal vs Quebec: Taxes

Montreal vs Quebec Taxes

Montreal and Quebec City, both situated within the province of Quebec, share the same tax system. However, differences in living expenses and income levels can impact the overall tax burden for residents.

Tax Bracket in Quebec City
2022 Taxable IncomeTax Rates
$46,295 or less15%
More than $46,295 up to $92,58020%
More than $92,580 up to $112,65524%
Over $112,65525.75%

Montreal and Quebec City residents are both subject to the same tax system, with Quebec holding some of the highest tax rates in Canada.

The tax system in Quebec consists of both federal and provincial income taxes. Quebec’s provincial income tax rates range from 15% to 25.75%, while federal rates vary from 15% to 33%. 

Combined, these rates make Quebec one of the highest taxed provinces in Canada. Both Montreal and Quebec City residents are subject to Quebec’s sales tax (QST) at 9.975% and the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) at 5%.

Despite sharing the same tax system, Montreal, as a larger urban centre, typically has higher living expenses, leading to higher income levels to compensate. 

Consequently, Montreal residents may find themselves in higher tax brackets compared to Quebec City residents, who generally experience a lower cost of living and potentially lower income levels.

Montreal vs Quebec: Pros and Cons

Montreal vs Quebec Pros and Cons

When considering a move to or visit within the province of Quebec, Montreal and Quebec City often emerge as the top choices. Both cities boast unique features and experiences, as well as pros and cons which can make the decision between the two challenging.

MontrealQuebec
Pros:
• Montreal has a multicultural and bilingual population, providing a rich cultural experience.
• As a larger urban centre, Montreal offers a wider range of job prospects across various industries.
• Montreal is known for its festivals, museums, and galleries, making it an appealing destination for art enthusiasts.
• Montreal boasts renowned universities, such as McGill and Concordia, attracting international students.

Cons:
• Montreal’s living expenses, including housing and transportation, are generally higher than Quebec City.
• As a larger city, Montreal experiences more traffic, which can result in longer commute times.
• Due to higher income levels, Montreal residents may find themselves in higher tax brackets.
Pros:
• Quebec City’s predominantly French-speaking population and focus on preserving its culture create a unique atmosphere.
• Quebec City offers more affordable housing and living expenses compared to Montreal.
• Quebec City is home to historical landmarks, such as Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
• The smaller population in Quebec City fosters a sense of community and closer social ties.

Cons:
• The predominantly French-speaking environment may pose challenges for English-speaking immigrants.
• The job market in Quebec City is smaller than Montreal, offering fewer opportunities across industries.
• Quebec City has a more homogeneous population, which may be less appealing for those seeking a multicultural experience.

By examining these aspects, you can better determine which city aligns with your lifestyle, preferences, and goals, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling experience in either Montreal or Quebec City. 

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