Montréal is a vibrant city with a diverse population thanks to the high number of migrants that have chosen to make Montréal their home. In fact, 30% of the population comes from foreign countries, and there are about 120 different cultural communities and 75 different languages spoken. Although these communities are intermingled and spread throughout the city, there are some neighbourhoods that are known as having a higher proportion of certain cultural populations, for example Italian, Chinese and Jewish communities. Among the other significant communities in Montréal, there are the Irish, French, Portuguese, Greek and Haitian communities living in the city.
Montréal is the second Canadian city after Toronto with the most numerous Italian immigrants. About 260,000 people are of Italian ancestry! Little Italy is delimited by St Zotique and Jean Talon, along St Laurent Boulevard. The Italian community started moving to Montréal at the beginning of the 19th century, and even today the pizzerias, cafés and stores recall La Dolce Vita!
Some great spots to sample some authentic Italian food:
- Pizzeria Napoletana – 189 Dante, Metro Jean Talon…delicious wood-fired pizzas and a real Italian atmosphere
- Grocery store Milano – 6862 St Laurent, Metro De Castelnau…a grocery store with a large range of Italian products: from cheese to coffee, fresh pasta to cooked meats.
Between Viger and St Urbain, from St Laurent to René Levesque. Montréal’s Chinese community has about 75,000 members, and Chinatown offers a real change of scenery thanks to its stunning oriental architecture and its “paifang” (Chinese gate doors) offered by China. A trip to Chinatown will feel like a little adventure within the city!
Some great spots to sample some authentic oriental food:
- Keung Kee Restaurant – 70 De la Gauchetière, Metro Place d’Armes…a delicious restaurant in the heart of Chinatown, the meals are very generously served and the flavours are exquisite.
- Grocery store Sun Hing – 1050 St Laurent, Metro Place d’Armes….a grocery store where you’ll find tofu, veggies, meat, biscuits…all imported from Asia.
The Jewish neighbourhood
Montreal has a big Jewish community scattered throughout many neighbourhoods in Montréal. Two famous spots for experiencing some of Montréal’s Jewish culture include:
- Schwartz’s – 3895 St Laurent, Metro St Laurent…a good place to eat smoked meat and traditional sandwiches. There is typically a queue to be served, which is isiallu a good sign!
- St Viateur Bagel – 263 St Viateur West, Metro Outremont…these bagels are famous in Montréal…sweet or plain, lots of different varieties to choose from, simply delicious!
- To find out more about Kosher restaurants and the Jewish community, read our blog on the subject here.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia (Chinatown in Montréal)