montreal vs toronto

Montreal thinks they're better than Toronto and here's why they're wrong

Four decades have passed since Toronto overtook Montreal as Canada's most populous metropolis, and it seems that Montreal is still struggling to accept its role as a second city.

Montreal was long the country's economic engine, but a combination of political change in Quebec and a wave of immigration to Ontario had moved Toronto firmly into the driver's seat by the early 1980s.

And here we are, over 40 years later, seeing Montreal come at us once again with fighting words and claims that, while they may no longer be the largest city in Canada, they certainly think they're still the greatest.

In a perplexing article titled 'Why Is Montreal So Much Nicer Than Toronto? Redditors Are Listing Possible Reasons,' MTLBlog leans on suggestions from a Reddit thread listing reasons 514-dwellers think they live in a better environment than the 416.

Well, we can do that too.

MTLBlog posted an article about a Reddit thread, and now it's our turn to post an article about a Reddit thread about an article about a Reddit thread. A confusing yet grammatically correct statement.

"To many Montrealers, squat, closely packed residential areas beat imposing glass towers any day," the article reads. It's a statement that comes across as completely ignorant of Toronto's built form beyond the parts out-of-towners frequent.

The writer seems to understand what a postcard of Toronto looks like but ignores fine-grained neighbourhoods with brick-paved streets and charming Victorian homes like Cabbagetown.

The article also seems to ignore the fact that Montreal has its own growing conglomeration of equally soulless condo towers. They even copied our Maple Leaf Square with their own Tour des Canadiens complex.

There are definitely some departments where this Toronto-biased writer will admit defeat, such as Montreal's preserved stock of entire neighbourhoods full of heritage buildings.

Toronto may be a better food city overall, but Montreal holds the undisputed crown in the poutine, bagel and smoked meat departments, and I'll begrudgingly admit that St. Hubert is better than Swiss Chalet.

But there are other touted Montreal advantages that are harder to back up.

One Reddit user, for instance, cites Montreal's "European model" in contrast with Toronto's "American model" as a reason for the former city's supposed "high-quality streetscapes."

Meanwhile, Montreal's streetcars have been nowhere to be found since 1959, the city instead relying on buses for its surface fleet like…an American city. On top of that, La Belle Province's notoriously crumbling road infrastructure can make for scenes that look as much like Detroit as they do Paris.

As this borderline unhinged rant proves, Toronto loves to take things personally, and locals have fired back in a Reddit thread of our own discussing the pro-514 article.

Currently, the mocking top comment from user cyclemonster reads, "To find out what's bad about Toronto, we asked these four people in a diner in suburban Montreal."

A few even threw backhanded compliments our way at the expense of MTLBlog, with user FortWillis saying, "They make blogTO look like The Wall Street Journal." Thanks, I guess?

"I've never understood why people rate Montreal so highly," said Reddit user wthshark, adding, "Maybe it's appealing as a grade 12 student to drink a year early? Everyone talks about their food scene, but Toronto's is leagues ahead. Never understood the appeal."

For good measure, I'll throw in a few of my own;

The article even acknowledges that it's not all sunshine and fleur-de-lis over in the 514, stating that "not everyone is convinced Montreal truly is the superior city," citing another Reddit user who points out Toronto's abundance of parks, trees, and cleaner public realm.

Further diluting their argument, right at the bottom of the article is a related link titled, "7 Things Toronto Has That I Wish Montreal Had Too."

Keep wishin' bud.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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