All our work and study takes place against the backdrop of Montreal, a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and world-class city that is home to four major universities. There is always something interesting going on in Montreal!
Montreal has sometimes been called “North America’s European city.” It’s incredible diversity, rich arts scene, great access to outdoor spaces, and unique neighbourhoods make it an amazing place to live. High-quality public transportation in Montreal means that our students live in a variety of neighbourhoods around the city. In general, students find the cost of living to be much lower than in other major cities in Canada.
Montreal has a vibrant arts and culture scene, terrific food, and the vigour and sense of life that comes from being a city in which people from all over the world work and make their lives. Even a little winter cold or summer heat can’t dampen the enthusiasm of life in this city.
Montreal is also home to many indigenous people and close to several indigenous reserves. The traditional name for Montreal is Tiohtiá:ke. We are situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka nation, a gathering place for many First Nations. We recognize that the Kanien’kehá:ka are the custodians of the lands and waters on which we worship, and learn together at Dio. We remember this land’s history and its Indigenous people in respect, as we honour their lives, strength and resilience. May God guide us towards reconciliation, justice and peace.
Montreal is friendly to students and that includes affordable housing. If you want to live close to the college, check out the residence at The Presbyterian College, next door to Dio. In addition, there many apartments for rent around McGill and its surrounding neighbourhoods. Many apartment listings are available on Craigslist or on Facebook groups like Montreal Apartments, Roommates, Rooms for Rent, and Sublets, or McGill off-campus Housing. McGill also has a useful page on their website for finding off-campus housing.
Montreal’s great public transportation means it is possible to live in one of the several different boroughs in Montreal, each with a distinct personality. McGill and Dio are easily accessible from all of them. Outremont, the Plateau, Westmount/NDG, and Verdun are some of the most convenient when it comes to accessing McGill and downtown Montreal.
Montreal has one of the top public and active transportation systems in Canada. Buses, metro lines, bike rentals, and suburban trains will easily get you wherever you need to go. The Société de transport de Montréal coordinates the subway and buses and our students are eligible for reduced student fares on most public transportation including a three-month unlimited pass for the buses and metros.
Montreal is also a very walkable city (so long as you have a warm coat in the winter!) and is among the most bicycle friendly cities in North America. There are 700 km of bike paths and the Biki bike sharing system has stations all around the city.
Montreal has four distinct seasons, ranging from hot summers to cold winters. This diversity is part of what makes Montreal a wonderful place to live. You can hike on Mount Royal in the summer and cross-country ski those same trails in the winter. Indeed, Montreal really comes alive in the winter, with numerous opportunities to be outside in the weather, skiing, skating, sledding, or taking in one of Montreal’s numerous festivals, such as the Fete des Neiges. Or participate in Nuit Blanche, an all-night arts festival where you can catch theatre, music, dance, and comedy performances, as well as art installations, outdoor dance parties, and even a zipline. When the cold gets too much, there is always plenty going on indoors as well. Montreal is a hub for quality and affordable food, boasting numerous restaurants with almost any ambience and flavours you might crave. If you’re into the fine arts you can always check out the Jazz Café, the Centaur Theatre, or catch a Montreal Symphony Orchestra concert.
The official language in Quebec is French but many people live and work in Montreal with English. In most stores or restaurants you’ll be greeted by someone saying “Bonjour-Hi”, an invitation to speak whichever language you are most comfortable in. Montreal is a great place to practice your French while also getting by comfortably in English. When it comes to choosing a place to live, some neighbourhoods are more French than others. A general rule of thumb is that the further east you go the more French the city becomes. Places like Westmount and Notre-Dame-de-Grace, just west of downtown, are predominantly English speaking.
The language of instruction at McGill and Dio is English (though students can submit their work in English or French) and we encourage students to speak in French when possible. It’s a great way to experience more of the city.