Montreal 2025  – Birds View! – Quick FYI


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The city

A city like none other in the world In terms of statistics, Montréal is the 16th largest city in North America and the world’s second-largest French-speaking city. In human terms, it is a dynamic cultural metropolis. Founded 400 years ago on a 500 square kilometre island (nearly 10 times larger than Manhattan), today it combines old-world charms with North American efficiency. Its values and creative energy are a promise of success for the city’s firms, investors and professionals.

Eloquent figures

  • 1.8 million residents (3.6 million in the entire metropolitan region)
  • 1 international airport
  • 33 hospitals and 210 research centres
  • 166,000 university students, including 17,000 foreign students
  • 73 university institutions and colleges
  • 14 million visitors a year
  • 362 hotel establishments, with 24,000 rooms

Strong values

  • Knowledge, creativity and innovation
  • Sustainable development
  • Quality of life, solidarity and inclusiveness
  • Democracy, equity, transparency and openness to the world

An avant-garde personality Montréal has been designated a Design City by UNESCO. It is creative in every sense of the word, in every field imaginable. Its artists, including the Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Céline Dion, Robert Lepage, La la la Human Steps, Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire and countless other performers and companies, enjoy international acclaim. The city also shines in all areas where creativity and innovation are key success factors, from video games to animation and pharmaceutical and medical research.

A city that is decidedly international… With 85 consulates and trade delegations, Montréal is the largest consular city in North America after New York. In addition, it is home to 60 international organizations, including:

  • ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization),
  • IATA (International Air Transport Association),
  • the UNESCO Institute for Statistics,
  • the World Anti-Doping Agency, and
  • the Institute of Cultural Affairs International, which moved to Montréal from Brussels in August 2008.

…and multicultural Ethnic diversity is one of the city’s hallmarks, contributing to its cultural and economic vitality. More than 500,000 of its 1.8 million residents are from ethnic communities.

The Montréal economy

Montréal: a thriving economy GDP, job creation, venture capital, overall R&D performance … Montréal’s economy is healthy, with a number of strong economic indicators. All this makes for an attractive, dynamic business climate. A number of multinationals are headquartered here, from Bombardier to Rio Tinto Alcan, Quebecor, BCE, SNC-Lavalin and the Cirque du Soleil, and many foreign firms choose Montréal as a springboard for their operations across Canada and the rest of North America (L’Oréal, Dassau, Danone, Ubisoft and Eidos).

Growth in figures

  • GDP of $103 billion in 2010, up 4% over 2009
  • Per-capital GDP of $53,250, up 3.4% in 2010
  • 60,000 companies or institutions (111,000 in the metropolitan area) in 2010
  • The Montréal agglomeration generates 34% of Quebec’s GDP and 36% of its exports
  • Greater Montréal is in 1st place among large cities in Canada and 2nd place among large cities in North America in terms of economic performance coming out of the global recession, according to the Global Metro Monitor.

Secrets to success: Diversification Montréal has historically had a strong economy. Located at the crossroads of a number of waterways, the city has always been a hub of trade and has been a major financial and industrial metropolis since the early 20th century. Today, “traditional” sectors (agri-food, construction, garments and textiles) still represent over 100,000 jobs. But in recent years advanced technologies, high valued-added services and careers in the creative sector have come to the fore.

Montréal is the Canadian city with the most diversified industrial structure, home to companies in 819 sectors (out of a possible 869). This gives companies looking to set up shop here easy access to all goods and services and makes for intelligent, profitable synergy.

Another of the Montréal economy’s key success factors is the balance between the different players: in all sectors, prestigious multinationals rub shoulders with thousands of highly active small and medium-sized businesses. Having firms at either end of the scale guarantees the city’s industrial stability, along with flexibility and the ability to respond to changing conditions.

Secrets to success: High technology In three strategic sectors for the national and international economy, Greater Montréal has a critical mass of high-tech companies, allowing the city to position itself as a world leader.

The Montréal advantage

A competitive city What are ambitious 21st-century firms looking for? University networks, a highly skilled workforce, critical masses in high technology, R&D incentives, access to venture capital and more. Montréal leads all other major North American cities in every one of these areas.

Trade: The Montréal advantage With historic ties to Europe and geographic links to the United States, Montréal has always been a hub of European and North American trade. Thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), today the city is part of one of the world’s most prosperous economic units, with 430 million consumers. The city’s infrastructures have naturally been developed to meet the needs of this economy, and include effective, complementary and competitively priced transportation networks.

WATER: the shortest route between Europe and North America The Port of Montreal, 1,600 km from the Atlantic and linked by train to Chicago, Detroit and the entire American Mid-West, is one of the world’s busiest inland ports and a major transfer point for transatlantic cargo.

  • The largest port on the Eastern seaboard for container traffic, with 7% growth in 2010
  • Linked to more than 100 countries around the world by regular shipping lines
  • 26 million tonnes of cargo handled in 2010
  • Open year round

AIR: landing rights four times lower than in Toronto or New York With 2 international airports, Greater Montréal is wide open to the world: 13 million passengers and 200,000 metric tons of cargo move through the two airports every year.

  • Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport. Located on the island of Montréal, just minutes from downtown, it handles passenger traffic. With some 130 direct connections, it is growing quickly and has recently been expanded.
  • Mirabel Airport. This airport, located north of the island, is entirely dedicated to cargo. It is open to cargo traffic 24 hours a day, at unbeatably competitive prices.

RAIL: 15% of Quebec exports go through Montréal The railway network, which crisscrosses the country from east to west and connects with all US and Mexican railways, allows goods to be moved quickly toward all major Canadian and North American markets. Many businesses make rail part of their intermodal shipping strategies (container trains).

HIGHWAYS: A dense, free network Thanks to an integrated network of highways – most of them free – Montréal is within trucking distance of major US economic centres. Nearly 64% of Quebec exports to our southern neighbours are shipped by truck, with most of them moving through Montréal.

Human resources: the Montréal advantage In today’s context, where human capital is the main “raw material” used by innovative firms, access to know-how is an essential factor in a company’s success. With 11 university institutions – including 4 comprehensive universities – and a large number of private and public colleges and specialized schools, Montréal is a North American leader in this regard. This gives local employers a stimulating intellectual climate and a labour force that is:

  • highly skilled: some 166,000 students are enrolled at local universities, 120,000 at colleges and 40,000 in technical training. Since 2002, 30,000 have enrolled every year in university programs related to high-tech sectors (chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, mathematics, medicine, pharmacy, probability and statistics, and science).
  • multilingual: Montréal has more bilingual (French and English) and trilingual residents than any other Canadian city.
  • multicultural: Montréal is home to 120 cultural communities speaking 75 different languages.

Finance, tax policy, research and development: the Montréal advantage The business climate for Montréal firms is particularly favourable and attractive. Major success factors include the presence of large international financial centres, access to venture capital and the many government assistance programs. A variety of tax incentives – in particular for R&D and the information and communication technologies sector (ICT) – also help boost their competitiveness by considerably reducing labour and operating costs.

  • The federal corporate income tax rate is expected to be reduced from 22%  to 15% by 2012. This will give Canada the lowest corporate income tax  rate among all the G7 countries.
  • Greater Montréal ranked 2nd among Canadian metropolitan areas that saw  the most investment in 2010, with $292 million, or close to 26% of all  investment in Canada.
  • Government financial support for firms in “strategic” sectors: aerospace, life sciences and ICT.
  • Tax credits for eligible industrial firms that renovate or build new premises.

Operating costs: the Montréal advantage Regardless of what source of statistics you look at, they all say the same thing: operating a company in Montréal costs less than elsewhere. This competitive edge stems from a combination of factors, including wage and salary levels, the cost of living, corporate tax policy, industrial and commercial rent, and energy costs.

Main cost indicators at a glance

  • In 2010, Cushman & Wakefield (2011) evaluated the average cost of  leasing office space in the Greater Montréal business district at about  US$20/ft²/year for class A buildings, as compared with the average of  about US$43.20/ft²/year over the same period for the other 11 largest  North American cities in the study
  • The Montréal area ranks 1st among major Canadian cities for competitive house prices ($298,000)
  • 1st place in Canada for lowest average monthly rent ($700)
  • 1st place among the 20 largest North American cities for lowest labour costs
  • 1st place among major Canadian cities for lowest and most stable electricity rates

Living in Montréal

Montréal: a tremendously liveable city As reported in the international edition of L’Express magazine, Montréal has “very attractive fiscal and economic conditions for entrepreneurs, along with a quite remarkable quality of urban life.” And the French aren’t the only ones to appreciate Montréal’s life, soul and heart. The highly influential Wallpaper magazine calls Montréal one of the world’s seven cities “you need to know.” And the Financial Times put Montréal at the head of its top-ten “City of Dreams” list. So why not join us, on your own or with your family, contributors or employees?

Welcome to the safest city in North America Personal and property safety are top priorities for companies and individuals looking to locate in a city, especially when it comes to a large North American metropolis. Montréal leads the way with the lowest homicide rate (1.4 per 100,000 residents in 2006).

Welcome to a city that’s a great place to live In concrete terms, the high level of safety – and the resulting sense of well-being – translates into pleasant residential neighbourhoods close to downtown, where there is always something happening, day and night, in every season. This European cityscape and style of living means that workers don’t have far to commute and makes public transit easier to organize. It also offers residents an ideal environment with both bustling city life and wide-open natural spaces. Finally, it’s not by chance that since August 2008 Montréal has occupied the most highly coveted square on the new world version of the Monopoly board game!

  • Proof that Montréal is a great place to live: the downtown population has grown by more than 8% over the past 10 years.
  • Montréal is a North American leader in promoting alternative transportation: public transit (biofuel), a proposed tramway, bicycle paths, car pooling. This helps its standing in terms of air quality, where it ranks just behind Vancouver and Seattle (both of which are cleansed by offshore air currents).
    • Canadian city with the highest rush-hour public transit ridership (22%);
    • 400 km of bicycle paths
    • 65 metro stations, 165 bus lines and 5 commuter train lines
  • Montréal is among the leaders in North American cities with the best quality of life, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting – 2008.

Welcome to the most affordable city in North America Montréal not only boasts superb quality of life – it’s affordable, too. The combination of consumer prices, rents, municipal taxes, personal income tax rates and certain tax exemptions (such as those for foreign researchers, for instance), make Montréal the least expensive city on the continent.

  • average home price in 2007: $251,000 (1st place in Canada)
  • Average monthly rent in 2007: $647 (1st place in Canada)
  • Consumer prices in 2008: 2nd place in North America after Miami

Welcome to the top student city in North America For two years, Montréal has ranked in first place, ahead of Boston, for the number of university students per capita. With 11 institutions of higher learning – including 4 universities – 200 research centres and 2 faculties of medicine, the city offers an unparalleled number of learning opportunities, in English or French, in almost every field of study.

  • 120,000 college students and 40,000 students pursuing continuing or technical education
  • 166,000 university students, including 17,000 foreign students
  • 62 colleges or CEGEPs, 2 French-language universities, 2 English-language universities and 4 specialized schools of higher education: the École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC Montréal), École polytechnique, École de technologie supérieure (ETS) and Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS).
  • The prestigious London Times Higher Education Supplement ranks Montréal as one of the few cities in the world to have two or more universities that are among the top 100 internationally.
  • The Montréal education system is particularly accessible: public education is free from kindergarten to Secondary 5. After that, fees for CEGEP (pre-university studies) are low.

Welcome to a cultural hotspot Montrealers are passionate about culture. Dynamically and vividly reflecting the creativity and multicultural diversity that are mark Montréal’s personality, culture comes in a multitude of forms, from large festivals to the hundreds of little treasures waiting to be discovered, in the new Quartier des spectacles and in every nook and corner of the city. Song, theatre, circus, dining, contemporary dance, humour, film and more. In Montréal, there’s room for all the arts, including the art of living well.

  • Culture accounts for 90,000 jobs in the Montréal region (or 5.1% of all jobs) and has an annual economic impact of $5 G.
  • The city is internationally renowned for its four major festivals: the International Jazz Festival, the Just for Laughs Festival, Les Francofolies and the World Film Festival. All told, there are more than 17 festivals in Montréal each year.

The city has:

  • 154 performance halls, with some 65,000 seats
  • Some of the biggest names in culture, like the MSO, the Opéra de Montréal, La la la Human Steps and the Cirque du Soleil
  • 67 museums and 50 exhibition and art centres
  • Culture alone attracts nearly 7 million tourists every year

Welcome to Canada’s 2nd most popular city Business and pleasure travellers flock to Montréal, for short or longer stays, in huge numbers: 21 million of them annually. This makes the city Canada’s 2nd most popular in terms of the number of visitors, and 3rd largest in terms of tourist spending. Montréal’s many attractions, cultural and sports events and the numerous conventions and congresses hosted are a powerful draw, and enjoy international acclaim.

  • With 87 international conferences, including the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in 2005, Montréal takes 2nd place in North America for this type of event. In May 2009, Montréal will host the World Congress on Art Deco, and in August, Civicus.
  • In 2007, the city hosted the FINA (swimming) world championships, the 1st World Outgames and the FIFA (soccer) U-20 World Cup.
  • The city has 362 hotels, with 24,000 rooms (8% growth over the past 5 years)

Must See List! Top 5 tourist attractions in Montréal

1. Casino 6.2 million visitors 2. Old Port 5.5 million visitors 3. Bell Centre 1.4 million visitors 4. Botanical Garden and Insectarium 0.9 million visitors 5. Biodôme 0.8  million visitors

(Source: Tourisme Montréal)

A creative city

Montréal is a cultural capital. Cosmopolitan. And a real party town, too, alive with all kinds of festivals, neighbourhood celebrations and top-quality cultural institutions.

Montréal has made creativity its trademark. After all, it was here that artists like Céline Dion and Oscar Peterson got their start and the Cirque du Soleil put down roots.

Always open to the world, Montréal has become a hub of fashion, interior design, digital creation and film, and it also excels in aerospace, life sciences and information and communication technologies. In fact, it is the R&D capital of Canada!

“BIXI, one of the 50 best inventions of 2008” – TIME Magazine Montréal has come up with an exemplary “green” product that perfectly illustrates the creative potential of new technologies. Developed by 8D, a Montréal company, the BIXI self-serve bike system incorporates a wireless payment application. BIXI bikes will soon be wheeling through the streets of London and Boston, too!

  • For more information: Bixi

Design In 2006, Montréal became the first North American city to join the UNESCO City of Design network, alongside such cities as Buenos Aires and Berlin. With this honour, UNESCO recognizes the drive and motivation of Montréal’s public and private sectors, as well as its economic and social development potential in the design field.

Fashion Cosmopolitan, urban, creative, lively, surprising, vibrant – all just so many ways to describe Montréal. These are the attributes that, over time, have raised the city to the status of Canada’s fashion capital. Few cities can claim to combine couture creation with such extensive manufacturing know-how. Together with Los Angeles and New York, Montréal ranks among North America’s foremost fashion and garment production centres.

Film and television For over 60 years now, Montréal has been a major film production centre. The city is cosmopolitan and creative, with quality infrastructure and a great variety of easily accessible shooting locations. The skills of its technicians and the talents of its many artists are world renowned.

Video games Montréal is the cradle of pioneering firms Softimage and Discreet Logic and a welcoming second home for such leading game developers as Ubisoft, Eidos, Electronic Arts and Beenox. Today the city is a global leader in digital creation.

Thanks to its talented workforce, highly competitive operating costs and generous government support, more than fifty games inspired by Hollywood films have been produced in Montréal.

Promoting Montréal’s creative community

  • Promoting local designers and organizing contests
  • Promoting Montréal’s fashion industry
  • Promoting and co-ordinating film shoots in Montréal
  • Co-ordinating and organizing events on public property (festivals and professional cultural events)
  • Co-ordinating local business events (sidewalk sales, etc.)

Why choose Montréal? BECAUSE …

“It’s a young, vibrant, cosmopolitan, enterprising and tolerant city.” Le Nouvel Observateur, a magazine published in France
“Montréal’s advantages include the pool of local talent, knowledge of North American customers’ needs and lower operating costs than in many countries.” — Laure Le Bars, Executive Director, SAP Labs Canada
“It’s the best city in the world for a multinational to have its headquarters.” — David Culver, former President and CEO, Alcan
“Montréal ranks second in North America for the concentration of workers in the “super-creative niche.” — Richard Florida, Louis Musante and Kevin Stolarick, Catalytix
“The city is extremely rich culturally and an incredible nurturer of talent.” — Bob Ezrin, American producer

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