A new study by the UofM in the USA, says Canada is the 9th happiest country on earth and just getting happier daily. So just smile and play safe.
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MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC, CANADA
• The Local Montréal Story:
The World Values Survey, conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, collected national surveys from 97 countries between 1981 and 2007. It found that the happiness index rose in an "overwhelming majority" of countries studied, including Canada. Here is the list of the top 10 happiest places on earth: Denmark, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada and Austria. As the small country of Denmark came out on top as the happiest place, the USA came in 16th place and we are proud to say Canada placed ninth on the happiness scale by an American institution. We as Canadians are rated number seven (7) in the world to do business with as export volumes fall amid the downturn in the USA economy and a strengthened Loonie (a Canadian dollar), our federal government is pursuing a free-trade pact with many South American countries and beyond into foreign Asian locations plus other markets too.
Our dynamic and modern city might be just the right place for your next vacation trip abroad. Plus we are very respectful of our unique architectural heritage and we are known as a true luminous gem in all of North America. It also successfully blends her old world charm from the early 1600's, with many great big city attributes. Located on a huge oval shaped island, with over 3.6 million people, it is surrounded by the massive Saint-Laurent River. It is connected by several major large steel bridges to the north and south shores off the island. The city has over 650 parks and green spaces on 393 KM of land, that makes it truly the largest city park in the world. Montréal is the largest French speaking city in the world after Paris, France.
While Montréal has sadly relinquished the honour of being Canada's largest city to Toronto, she is by-far the most economically influential metropolis and still relishes it's role as the nation's most spirited and highly international city. The prestigious millionaires magazine "Forbes", has recently rated this city in the top ten cleanest cities to live, work in and to visit. Plus in 2009 they wrote, that we are the third best place to do business in the world, after Denmark and the USA. It is a major area for local and international commercial business, industry, culture and world affairs on many levels. We have a significant presence in telecommunications, electronics, transportation and pharmaceuticals, to name just a few. There is also a wide array of public transport networks in all directions including: subways (Métro), buses and commuter train lines - most produced locally by well know companies from the region.
As the province of Quebec is primarily francophone, and yet the city of Montreal is a multi-cultural and bilingual city. Although Montreal is predominantly francophone (3,530,159), the Anglophone population is 937,933, which makes our city Canada's fifth largest market - it should be noted that 78% of Quebec Anglophones live within the greater Montreal area. Also bilingual Francophones make up over 51% of the francophone population (1,804,939), and thus gives you a total English-language market of 2,742,872 within the province of Quebec. We are a locally based community service reaching over 840,300 website and blog readers weekly in the Montreal area with another 582,600 in the French community of which 433,600 are bilingual Francophones that also read our detailed information too.
Plus, recently we have been added to an exclusive list, as being the gastronomic center of the world, as per an article written-up in 2006 by the prestigious "Gourmet Magazine", and a place where historical strands join to create a potent mix of pride, art and culture in our local daily lives. You'll be greeted with a sincere smile and treated as part of the family. As the locals say: Joie de Vivre (fun of life) is everywhere, you will feel it too !
• The Local Gay Community Friendliness:
With-in Montréal and much of Québec, you will find a special spirit of openness and tolerance, between the general public and the whole gay community. Here, more than anywhere else in North America, gay men and lesbian women of all ages and background's, can walk together in safe comfortable surroundings. Since the 07 of June 2002, when the Québec government adopted Bill #32, which now gives same-sex partners, the same rights and obligations, as heterosexual partners. Which only adds to the recent federal court decisions, then changes under local laws for the rights of ALL citizens in any area of Canada, that includes every province and territory, across this huge land-mass of ours. Make your move to marry your love of your life here and enjoy our marvalously fantastic gay city too.
That is why many American's feel safe enough to even get married in Canada, where it's legal for our community members to do so. Also recent trends for more worldwide travellers to choose Montréal, has only added to the prefered destination already made by most of the gay community from the United States. Besides a recent well known symbol of Canada since 1873, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the RCMP, has a first with the joining of two of their own male officers to wed in love with the approval of the upper brass in Ottawa and the local community, that they serve in eastern Canada. A truly real "Brokeback Mountie" story of "a man that caught his man" in real romantic mountie gay lifestyle !
• The Local Gay Community Scene:
The proud gay community, with their Village Gay, is also one of the largest anywhere. Plus boasts more than two hundred and fifty gay & lesgian owned and some 125 other gay-friendly establishments plus most are concentrated in the Village Gay area east of the downtown. While the city has relatively a small number of discos and nightclubs, it boasts a wide variety of local type bars, friendly clubs, to open terrace pubs in the summer and to several hard-core leather hangouts. In the past few years places for lesbians have mixed in well but most of the girls go to the gay male locations instead. You'll also find a selection of enticing nude male dancer clubs that are always available. You're sure to find something to please you, no matter what your taste requires or requests. Also with the new no-smoking law province-wide, it doesn't seen to affect the attendance at the gay public locations at all but the outdoor terraces are full because of the ruling. Most of the drinking establishments close daily at 3:00 AM, but some after-hours non-alcohol bars are open from 1:00 AM till close to 10:00 AM or even later into the early morning hours.
During the summer season, a strip of the Gay Village (Le Village) in Montreal is closed to traffic, forming a huge pedestrian outdoor mall with many great activities planned. You will need to be here from the middle of May to sometime in early September, as Ste-Catherine East between Berri (close to the subway station) and way over three Metro stops to around Papineau (near the bridge) becomes a fun pedestrian walk-about, where people can enjoy the stores and bars along the way. The hope is to attract more globetrotting tourists and make the Village a more enjoyable place during the summertime. The city will also install more bike-racks for your personal bike equipment, along with a very new bicycle rental concept named BIXI (call 514-789-BIXI (2494) or read more info at BIXI.com), thats if you are in the mood for an interesting city tour on two rented wheels. While there is some concern about disruption to the local traffic and difficulty to find parking, the local Vision Montreal burough mayors office has assured us it will be successful and the many merchants expect that it will improve the area more than hurt it. Most visitors to the area will be encouraged to take public transportation, as there are three Metro subway station in the Gay Village area and if they need parking they can park at a site setup near the Bibliotheque Nationale at the corner of Berri and Ontario for their vehicles, just across from the Voyager bus terminal.
A huge array of special gay circuit party events are held regularly throughout the year and given in non-specific gay environments they thrive and grow yearly. We have not one but two Gay Pride events in this city, so check-out our noted gay community events on the listings page of this website for more details. The city is also very well known for it's numerous popular saunas, that are all over the city and well equipped for all tastes. Plus most of them are always open 24 hours a day and very well attained with regulars. For a choice of restaurants, gay Montréal offers a whole spectrum of dining experiences, from the traditional beans (known as féves-au-lard) to excellent delicious cuisine from around the world, as mentioned above, we do have some of the best choices of eateries in the world ! Do try the many open-door caf?s with small delights for you to saveur. The whole world caught the feeling at the event of 2006 in Montréal in late July of the first ever, OUTgames: The next Rendez-Vous is awaiting your personal visit at the event in 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark with the next event in Antwerp, Belgium in 2013 !!!
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Here are a few more travel ideas and reasons to visit Montréal. The accommodations are available at every budget, attractions everyone will love to enjoy, an underground city that is open all year round and it's Canada's most European city with a difference, it's in North America. So are you in the mood for a great year-round getaway with a limited passport needed ? So Montréal might be just what you're looking for with its diversity of restaurants, attractions and festivals makes it the perfect destination, whether your goal is romance, sightseeing or fantastic fun. No matter what time of year you visit, one thing's for certain, as you'll never be bored ! Here are 9 reasons to put Montréal at the top of your list.
1. Restaurants for every taste and budget ~ Eat like royalty plus dine in splendor ! Whether you're looking for a bargain for the family or a special-occasion meal, you'll have no problem finding a bite to eat in Montréal, which has more restaurants per capita than any other city in North America. Shopping on Ste-Catherine West with your friends ? Stop in for lunch at the Eaton Centre food court and you'll find budget-friendly meals to please everyone, including such Québecois delights as crepes and poutine. On a date with your sweetie ? Consider the sky-high views at Altitude 737, a bar-disco-dining complex that offers French and European specialties at reasonable prices. And if you've been saving up for something gourmet, visit Toqué! one of North America's top restaurants and splurge on the seven-course prix fixe tasting menu with optional accompanying wine selections.
2. Escape the weather in the RÉSO ~ A city explorers and walkers delight ! Don't be afraid of Montréal's frosty winters or hot, humid summers, as it's a fantastic destination any time of year. Even if you can't make it when the weather's to your liking, there are ways to get around the city in comfort. Montréal is home to the RÉSO (aka: the underground city) a complete sub-terranean network of walkways that connect to almost anything you might need while intown. Such as: shopping centres, restaurants, movie theatres and the world=famous Métro (subway) stations that covers an astounding 33 kilometres downtown plus now it connects you into the North Shore as well as the South Shore of this island city called Montréa. Plans are in the works to connect the Pierre-Elliot Trudeau International Airport in the Dorval borough to the Métro network in the future. If you plan your trip right, you'll barely have to walk far to visit the city or go outside at any time of the year, unless you want to explore more above ground too. (Get your free Map here)
3. The Montréal Biodome ~ Many treats await your mind and eyes ! A favourite of visitors and residents alike, the Montréal Biodome is an indoor re-creation of four different ecosystems of the Americas with the Laurentian forest, the tropical forest, the St-Laurent River marine ecosystem and the polar worlds of both the Arctic and Antarctic plus each is complete with the flora and fauna for each area. It's an obvious pick for eco-friendly persons but animal-loving grown-ups get just as much of a kick out of watching the antics of species as diverse as penguins, puffins, beavers, monkeys, frogs, snakes, bats and countless fish and birds. Click here to view a slideshow of different animals that live in the Montréal Biodome. In warmer weather, while you're in the neighbourhood, be sure to visit the Montréal Botanical Garden, a hot spot for the city's birdwatchers. And don't miss the Biodome's gift shop, which offers creative gift ideas for all ages.
4. Superb shopping ~ Great deals at prices that compare or lower ! Just like the French, Montréalers are known for their exceptional style and their city offers retail destinations to match. Start at the Eaton Centre mall downtown, then wander west on Ste-Catherine West and pop in at the more than 1,200 upscale chain stores (BCBG Max Azria, Mexx, Browns), department stores (La Maison Simons, Ogilvie, La Baie) and independent boutiques that line the street from Atwater to the eastend in the Gay Village under the Jacques-Cartier bridge at deLormier street.
5. Over 90 festivals a year ~ Including the best Gay Pride anywhere ! Montreal is truly a city of festivals, and not just in the summer months. Here are a few favourites with their upcoming dates:
6. Museums for everyone ~ The creative works of the masters ! If you're a fan of art, culture, history or science, you'll find plenty to keep you occupied in Montreal. The Musée d'Art Contemporain (contemporary art museum) offers a wide range of exhibits, plus visit on the first Friday of the month from 6 to 9 pm for live music, bar service and guided tours. If the classics are more your style, check out the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts for the best in European and Canadian art, Mediterranean archaeology and antiquities from around the globe. Upcoming special exhibits include Emily Carr and American Industrial Design. Tourism Montréal (listed above) maintains a listing of other museums and attractions in the city, including people-friendly spots like Environment Canada's Biosphere (At the Expo 67 event it was the American pavillion), plus do visit the Planetarium and the Insectarium.
7. Places to stay for every budget ~ More gay community details on this website. Montréal offers a wide variety of accommodations, from high-end hotels to cosy bed-and-breakfasts in the Gay Village. If you're looking for a downtown location connected to the Métro subway system, try the Cachet Accommodations Network™ listed on this gay website and everone is welcome. Ask for a room in the Gay Village for a fabulous location in and around the Old Port and downtown area too.
8. A world of culture ~ In a real world class city with so much history. Whether you're looking for romance or trying to expose yourself to some great local French culture, you'll find the best of les beaux arts in Montréal. In the summer, bring a blanket and take in some outdoor theatre (in English) by Repercussion Theatre. For opera buffs, l'Opéra de Montréal's season kicks off in late September with Verdi's A Masked Ball and continues with Romeo and Juliet, The Barber of Seville and Madame Butterfly. Take note that performances have surtitles in both English and French. If you prefer a wordless experience, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal starts its season in October with Cinderella, followed by perennial favourite The Nutcracker.
9. A surprise around every corner ~ Use the Métro to get around the city. Montréal is a city of many different neighbourhoods, and there's always something around the corner waiting to be discovered: a chic out of the way boutique, a charming flower covered staircase or a delightful little local restaurant serving café au lait and pastries to start or end your days in this European-style city. When you're visiting, be sure to set aside some time to wander and explore the city that the locals call MA VILLE (my city) and don't be surprised if you fall in love with it just a tiny bit too !
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