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Montreal is a city in the Canadian province of Quebec. It is the largest city in the province, the second-largest in Canada and the 9th-largest in North America. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city.
Though French is the city’s official language, Montreal is one of the most bilingual cities in Quebec and Canada with 56% of the population able to speak both French and English. Montreal is the third largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris and Kinshasa.
Historically the commercial capital of Canada, it remains an important centre of commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, gaming, film and world affairs. In 2006, Montreal was named a UNESCO City of Design, and in 2009, the city was named North America's leading host city for international association events.
The Canadian currency is the Canadian Dollar. There are 100 cents in each dollar. Canada has both coins and notes. Coin denominations are 5¢ (nickel), 10¢ (dime), 25¢ (quarter), 1$ (commonly referred to as ‘loonie’) and 2$ (commonly referred to as ‘toonie’). There is no longer a penny coin, so total amounts are rounded up or down to the closest 5¢ when paying.
Bank notes are in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100, all in different colours and the latest issues feature the Queen or former prime ministers on the face, and Canadian cultural and historical icons on the reverse.
Exchange Rate and Currency Exchange
The Canadian dollar, though intrinsically linked to the U.S. dollar, is traded at a fluctuating exchange rate. It is recommended for travellers to look up the current exchange rate prior to travelling.
Canadian businesses taking U.S. currency do so as a courtesy, not as something that should be expected everywhere or taken for granted. Expect to receive Canadian currency for your change if they do accept U.S. cash, and recognize that you will typically get a less favourable exchange rate than at a bank or currency exchange office (bureau de change). Currency exchange is widely available at banks and bureaus across Montreal and at the airport.
Most merchants accept most major credit cards, with Visa and MasterCard being the most popular. American Express is accepted, though not as widely. However, the extent to which you can use a foreign-issued card and the fees that apply depend on the card issuer. It is recommended to check with the card issuer prior to travel.
Banks, Debit Cards and Automated Teller Machines (ATM)
Most banks and credit unions are typically open between 10AM and 3PM, from Monday to Friday. Some branches may be open later on Thursday, Friday. Opening hours can vary from bank to bank, as well as from branch to branch. Most banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
ATM (Automated Teller Machine) networks (also referred to as ABM - Automated Banking Machine) include Plus/Visa and Cirrus/MasterCard. ATMs provide Canadian currency (your bank will do the conversion) and can be easily found at most banks, hotels, and shopping areas around Montreal.
Two ATM networks offer fee-free withdrawals to some visitors:
Canada's Scotiabank has ATMs located across the country and is a member of the Global ATM Alliance; the international ATM fee (often the equivalent of $3 - $5 USD) will be waived for customers of other alliance members (including Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Westpac) when they withdraw cash using a Scotiabank ATM.
U.S. customers of TD Bank and TD Banknorth won't pay a fee to use TD Canada Trust ATMs.
Travellers' cheques are less popular — and may be subject to a fee. However you will require your passport to exchange these cheques.
With very few exceptions, tips are not included in the final tabulation of restaurant bills. Tips are usually 15% of the total bill, excluding taxes. Cab drivers, bellhops and hairdressers are usually tipped at the customer's discretion.
The legal drinking age in Quebec is 18. Bars and other licensed establishments are open Monday through Sunday until 3 am.
Liquor and most wines are only sold in stores operated by the Société des alcools du Québec (Québec Liquor Board). However, some wines and all Canadian beers are available in grocery stores and supermarkets, from 8 am to 11 pm.
Certain restaurants display “apportez votre vin” signs (“bring your own wine”). This means customers may enjoy their own wine and beer during the meal.
No smoking regulations
Quebec’s Tobacco Law forbids smoking in all public buildings, including bars and restaurants.
The federal tax on goods and services (GST) is 5% and applies to most goods and services in Canada. The provincial sales tax (PST or QST) is 9.975% and is charged on the selling price not including the federal tax and applies to most goods and services purchased in Québec.
The Canadian power supply is single phase 120 volts at 60 Hertz (60 cycles).
If the images below are different from the ones used in your country, you will need a socket converter/ plug adaptor.
Montreal is 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT -5h or UTC -5h). In the summer, it does have daylight savings time, changing it to UTC -4h from mid-March to early November.
October in Montreal is similar to New York City, though slightly cooler. Temperatures rarely dip below zero, but you'll want to bring a warm jacket, as more often than not, the temperature won't reach double digits.
- Average October temperature: 6.5ºC / 44ºF
- October average high: 11ºC / 52ºF
- October average low: 2ºC / 36ºF
- Average October precipitation: rain – 99 mm / 3.9 in. snow – 2 cm / 0.79 in.
International dialing country code for Canada: 1
Area code for Montreal: 514
Health Infoline (daily, 24 hrs/day, answering service provided by qualified nurses): 811
Police, Fire & Ambulance: 911
Thanksgiving is an annual Canadian statutory holiday, occurring on the second Monday in October, which celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year.
In 2016, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Monday, October 10, 2016. All government offices and banks will be closed for the day.
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