You’ve seen all of them. The good ones all go viral, and the not-so-good ones usually don’t. The point is….they’re catchy. Why? Because we can relate to them! Because they’re funny. Is there stuff that Montrealers say that any one Montrealer can relate to? Or will that promote stereotypes toward Montrealers? Well, some people think they do (promote stereotypes). I disagree. I think these videos are funny and that’s it. If anything, they fight stereotypes. I don’t think anyone is going around thinking: “oh, I think I’m going to start discriminating against New Yorkers because in the video they are shown talking about Urban Outfitters” — if anything, we, as Montrealers, are jealous of the fact that they can openly talk about Urban Outfitters because the website has been banned in Montreal.
So, what do we say?
McGill students have made a parody of their own. It’s funny. Now, apart from this — Montrealers say different things.
We talk about ‘going for coffee’ all the time. We complain of the unsalted sidewalks, the slush, the potholes, the construction. We have environmental paradoxes — i.e. ice storms, freezing rain, melting snow. We protest about high tuition, when just south of us the tuition rates are unimaginably high. Especially in Ivy Leagues (like McGill, hehe). We boast that William Shatner, Melissa Auf de Maur, Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, and a bunch of other famous people are from here. We trick our friends into visiting us by telling them about the “underground city” — even though we know it’s just a bunch of tunnels connecting the malls and train stations! We speak English and French fluently. We speak franglais fluently. We love to sit on a “terrasse” in the summertime. We like to lie down and sunbathe on Mount Royal. We take summer vacations in the Northeastern States, where we can finally see “the ocean”. We’re proud of our boys — the Habs — even when they lose to the Bruins. We drive around with music blasting, flags attached to our cars, but no crazy or discriminatory bumper stickers. We’re not the bumper sticker type. During World Cup soccer, we’re all cheering for different countries. We take the “metro” not the subway. We crave poutine sometimes, and it’s no big deal…because there’s La Banquise. We dream of living on the Plateau, but it’s way easier to find places in NDG. We ask people ‘what nationality’ they are, even when they’re clearly 3rd or 4th generation ‘settlers’ — which is fine — because we love talking about our backgrounds. We’re proud of them. It’s not taboo to be of various ethnicities. One of the things we love is the cultural diversity of our city, which is really unique. We’re on Cold FX and echinacea when we have the slightest symptoms of those pesky colds. We never talk of ‘happy hours’ — but continuously attend “cinq à septs”. We dress like it’s summertime, in the wintertime. Sometimes! We think it’s “hot” out when it’s above zero in the winter; and we think it’s “cold” out when it’s below 30 in the summer. We shop at Simons, Winners, but also a million other places. We love our bagels, and no one else’s in the whole world. No one does it like Fairmount or St-Viateur. And no, New York didn’t create the bagel, we did. We like smoked meat, but we’re not loyal to Schwartz’s because we’ve actually been to other comparable places. We love Saint Laurent, Saint Denis, Saint Catherine, pretty much all the Saints. We’re friendly and we help each other out — strangers are friends. We don’t hug, we kiss on both cheeks. We know all the words to “alouette, gentil alouette”. We have different ways of describing the different parts of the city. There’s the ‘East End’, ‘Montreal North’, ‘West Island’ (some people think it’s a separate island), ‘South Shore’, and then all the good stuff is ‘downtown’ — that’s the heart, the meat. Oh and we have all of the ‘parts’ that other cities have like a China town, a little Italy, a latin quarter, etc. We stay up late, we even have after hours. We have tons of 24-hour eateries, grocery stores, hangouts. The city that never sleeps? We may not have Times Square, but we are really the city that never sleeps. We get off of the metro at Place d’Armes or Champ-de-Mars and we instantly feel like we’re in the heart of Europe. We love cafés and we can’t imagine life without them. We don’t lack French pastries, we have what they have in France. We go to the gym, err, well, we try to. We love markets. We go to Atwater and Jean Talon for the good stuff. Taking public transit is not ‘ghetto’, it’s practical, and we appreciate being able to travel by train, metro, bus. And we love to walk. We like pets. We love dogs. We don’t like our apple pies à la mode because à la mode means in fashion, and it’s much more fashionable to have apple pies just like that. I mean, in any case, apple pies aren’t really a Montrealaise thing, sugar pies are. We go to ‘the theatre’, ‘the ballet’, the opera, and all of those cultural activities. And then we also attend all of the fun stuff meant for the tourists! Anything going on on Crescent, Grand Prix, the Jazz Festival, Nuits d’Afrique, Just For Laughs, Francofolies, and then we have our own little Montreal Fashion Week (ok, so this is really nothing compared to anywhere else, we could do a lot better!). We get it on liquidation not on sale. “Going out” is not only for Friday and Saturday. Every night is for going out in Montreal, the streets are never dead. We like to travel. Usually when we have something really funky and fashionable, it’s not from Montreal, because we love being the only one who owns a certain item from an …exotic place! We love New York, London, Paris, and oh yes…..we love to go to the Caribbean when it’s this cold outside. We travel to Cuba, the islands, or just Florida.
(Oh and we’re really upset that YouTube removed Anthony Bourdain’s 24 hour Layover in Montreal, what’s up with that?)
There you have it. Those are some things that Montrealers say, without quotes around them. And it doesn’t promote any stereotypes. We like being unique!