That I would eventually end up here was hardly unlikely. I've always been drawn to Quebec, it being the only culture I had ever been exposed to until the age of twenty, outside that of my native Newfoundland. I appreciate the similarities it shares with my home province, namely, warm people, and a shared cultural identity.
Not unlike that of the city itself, the spiraling maze of roads that led me to Montreal was replete with potholes (extended stays in Europe and Asia), sinkholes (St. John's), blind stops (Toronto), and two-way streets which suddenly become one-ways (a four-year undergraduate career that spanned an entire decade). Ten years of vagabonding later, and I finally find myself back in La Belle Province's cosmopolitan capital.
After nearly two years of living here, I can't say Montreal boasts France's grandeur, Toronto's limitless opportunities or Newfoundland's accessible nature escapes. However, I can say with much conviction that Montreal provides a pretty decent quality of life for a city of nearly four million whose precarious position as a French-speaking metropolis amid an entire continent of Anglo imperialists has brought nearly two centuries of threats to its culture, language and economy. How it has managed to mitigate those threats I can't say for sure, though I suspect it being partly due to the fact that this place is cool as fuck.
Montreal has bike lanes. Everywhere. In fact, it is the #1 biking city in North America, according to the Bicycle-Friendly Cities Index. It is also North America's most festive city, with 58 annual festivals. It also has pedestrian zones everywhere, CHEAP rent, the biggest gay village in North America, ten massive urban parks and an unrivaled nightlife.
Montreal may not be the ideal choice for upwardly mobile youth - that's what it has Toronto and New York for - but it is the place for those content with living in a city whose irresistible charms will always remind you that there is simply more to life than money.