Montreal Culture

of three

Montreal Culture - Food

People living in Montreal consume a variety of foods as they have access to over a hundred cuisines in the city, but food fare is strongly influenced by Jewish cuisine. There is a growing preference among the city's residents for healthy, nutritious food and for fresh produce owing to the large population of immigrants who enjoy cooking dishes from their own culture. Popular food experiences include attending yearly food events such as First Fridays, Mac n' Cheese week, Asian Night Market, Festival YUL EAT, and La Pizza Week.


  • People in Montreal appear to enjoy buying and eating fresh produce. According to George Pitsikoulis, the chief executive officer of Montreal-based Canadawide, "it's always been part of the culture [in Montreal] to eat fresh produce, and the trend and talk has been to eat more and more."
  • Jean-François Laverdure, president of Montreal-based JB Laverdure, observes that locals are becoming more conscious of the types of food they eat. For example, he notes there is growing consumer demand for berries, kale, and other good greens. Pitsikoulis adds that avocados, tomatoes, and beets are gaining popularity.
  • Pierre Guibord, a director at IGA Louise Ménard in Montreal, notes that their customers in the city are seeking locally-produced, organic, and fair trade food products. They are looking as well for transparent and sustainable food packaging.
  • When it comes to restaurants, Catherine Morellon, manager at Tourisme Montréal, observes that residents of the city place a premium on "high quality, creative food."
  • People in Montreal are showing greater interest in vegan food, poke bowls, ramen, Korean food, tacos, banh, empanadas, Thai food, dumplings, and healthy food, with these types of food emerging as new food trends. Seafood appetizers and cocktails/mocktails infused with fresh ingredients are growing in popularity as well.
  • Montreal is known for its smoked meat, poutine, bagels, chocolate almond croissants, shish taouk, and maple treats. Bagels, smoked meats, and smoked salmon are quite popular in the city, owing to the strong influence of Jewish cuisine. Canada's oldest Jewish populations are in Montreal.
  • Dietary patterns of French-speaking men in the city can be categorized into healthy, modified Western — salty, and modified Western — sweet.


  • Cesare Della Santina, president of Montreal-based CDS Foods, observes that locals, mostly immigrants, are "going back to their roots." They like cooking dishes from their culture. He clarifies, however, that people in the city like trying new types of food as well.
  • Pitsikoulis of Canadawide says that even though buying and eating fresh produce is a global trend, it is particularly prevalent in Montreal because a considerable fraction of the city's residents are immigrants who are not used to eating frozen or packaged meals. This is an indication that immigrants would prefer cooking with fresh produce rather than buy frozen meals.
  • Guibord of IGA Louise Menard adds too that there is growing interest in ready-to-cook products, for example, cut-up vegetables. This is an indication as well that a considerable percentage of locals enjoy cooking.
  • There is increasing interest as well in healthy, nutritious food considering Laverdure's observation that consumer demand in the city for berries, kale and other greens, avocados, tomatoes, and beets is growing.
  • According to Morellon of Tourisme Montréal, when eating out at restaurants, Montrealers enjoy sharing plates.


  • People in Montreal have a much cherished tradition, First Fridays, a food truck festival that celebrates food trucks and beer. Taking place on the first Friday of each summer month, it is Quebec's biggest assembly of food trucks.
  • The restaurant scene is quite eclectic considering there are over a hundred cuisines in the city that people can taste and experience.
  • Food is celebrated throughout the year through food events. Yearly food events, apart from First Fridays in summer, include Mac n' Cheese week in April, the Asian Night Market in August, Festival YUL EAT in September, and La Pizza Week in October.
  • Common gastronomic experiences in Montreal include eating at casual eateries, swanky bistros, and pop-up restaurants, biting into piping-hot, fresh bagels, browsing public markets for artisanal delicacies and farm-fresh products, sipping craft beer from any of the city's microbreweries, and eating smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz, poutine, maple products, or steamed hot dogs.
  • Many Montrealers likely follow @mtlfoodsnob, an Instagram account showcasing Montreal's most scrumptious food. The account has over 20,000 followers.


  • When it comes to desserts, there appears to be a preference among residents of Montreal for freshness and flavor. This can be seen in the emergence of pastry chefs emphasizing these two aspects, such as Patrice Pâtissier's Patrice Demers, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe's Stéphanie Labelle, Café Bazin's Bertrand Bazin, and Libertine Bakehouse's Nick Kemball.
  • Animal bao buns appear to be in demand as well, as they were described as a "new food trend." These dessert buns come in various flavors and animal shapes, ranging from hedgehog-shaped taro baos to Hello Kitty-shaped custard baos.
  • Other popular desserts include Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann's kouign-amann, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe's mille-feuille, Patrice Pâtissier's cannelé, Café Bazin's chocolate coffee tartelette, Montréal Plaza's crispy fruits, Crémy Pâtisserie's lemon crueller, Au Pied de Cochon's pouding chômeur, KemCoba's seasonal swirl cones, Cacao 70 Factory's cornflake cookies, Noir Chocolat's croque-mous, Pizzeria Gema's frozen custard, and Cheskie's chocolate babka.
of three

Montreal Culture - Music and Listening

People in Montreal attend a lot of music festivals, listen to "Franglais" music, enjoy live music, mostly tune into The Beat and Rythme FM music stations, and generally enjoy Indie and Jazz music. Some Montrealers stream the music while others prefer to buy physical music records. Below is an overview of the findings.


  • Montreal locals are "appreciative, receptive, and uninhibited" when it comes to live music in clubs, restaurants, and bars.
  • Montrealers are bilingual, proficient in both English and French, therefore, most of the music they listen to is "Franglais".
  • Indie music is popular among the Montrealers and it has an eclectic scene for its eclectic audience.


  • People living in Montreal regularly attend music festivals such as the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, the Montréal Baroque Festival. Montreal is referred to as the city of festivals as it hosts 144 major music festivals annually excluding the smaller festivals.
  • Millennials in Montreal make up the majority of music festival-goers as their interest for it has developed.
  • Montrealers enjoy jazz music, as shown by the numbers of attendees at jazz festivals. For example, the number of people attending The Montreal International Jazz Festival has grown from 12,000 spectators at its first festival to millions at its current annual events.


  • Some Montrealers have transitioned from buying physical music records to using streaming apps to stream music. Some Montrealers still opt to visit physical record shops.
  • The average minute audience is defined as the "average number of persons exposed to a radio station during an average minute and is calculated by summing up all the individual minute audiences and dividing by the number of minutes in the daypart."
  • An average of 9,500 people in Montreal tune in to The Beat music radio station per average minute, the highest number for an English music station.
  • In the anglophone (English-speaking) music radio market, The Beat, CHOM, and Virgin are the most listened to by the people in Montreal, with 9,500, 8,200, and 7,900 average minute audiences respectively.
  • Francophone (French-speaking) music listeners in Montreal mostly tune into Rythme FM, Bell’s Rouge FM 107.3, and CKOI music stations, with 24,800, 14,900, and 14,400 average minute audiences respectively.
  • Most people in Montreal listen to francophone music stations.

Research Strategy

Our search to establish the music and listening consumption habits started on Montreal culture expert websites (such as MTL, Keep Exploring and Orange Smile), music magazines (such as The Fader), newspapers (such as The Suburban and the Guardian), and media houses (such as Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Event organizer platforms such as the Red Bull website were also insightful. To establish the listenership of music radio stations in Montreal we searched through industry market research (such as Numeris and radio media expert blog Fagstein). The sources compiled drew up a profile of the people in Montreal and their music and listening consumption habits.
of three

Montreal Culture - Demographics

Of the 2,029,379 people living in Montreal in 2018, 336,806 people are in the 25-34 age group, and there are about 102 females per 100 males. The median income in 2018 is $38,246.

Montreal Demographics

  • The population of Montreal has increased by about 19% from 2016 to 2018 (1,704,695 vs. 2,029,379 people).


  • In 2018, the age group that holds the most individuals in Montreal was the 25-34-year-old age group which comprises 336,806 people or 16.6% of the total Montreal population. (2,029,379 people)
  • Next, comes the 0-14-year-old age group with 311,933 individuals comprising 15.4% of the total population; Further, the 35-44-year-old age group with 300,948 individuals contribute about 14.8% to the total population of Montreal.
  • The average age of the residents of Montreal in 2018 is 40.5 years old.



  • The visible minority population in Montreal is defined as "persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in color." In 2016, the visible minority group composed of 568,570 individuals living in Montreal, accounting for 33.4% of the total population.
  • Among the visible minority population, the largest groups are Black and Arab, with 171,385 (30.1%) and 122,185 (21.5%) individuals, respectively.

Income Level

  • As of 2016, a total of 1,397,900 individuals aged 15 years and above received income in Montreal.
  • About 19% of the total earning population or 276,675 individuals earn an income in the range of $10,000-$19,999 annually; this is followed by the $20,000 to $29,999 income group with 213,200 individuals. (15.3% of the total earning population)
  • In 2016, the median income of individuals in Montreal was $28,321; while in 2018, it increased by about 35% at $38,246.


  • 865,175 individuals in Montreal possess a post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree. About 29.5% or 255,355 individuals hold a bachelor's degree, followed by 29% or 224,985 with college diplomas.

Research Strategy:

We started our research by studying the official government census record on the city of Montreal. The government collected the most recent census data available on the official website in 2016. To get more recent data points, we looked through the official government web page of Montreal, where we found some statistical information about the total population in Montreal for 2018; but other requisite statistical information on the residents of Montreal were cited from the 2016 records.

Next, we looked through the official web page of the Quebec government's statistics office for additional insights. We were able to find some recent statistics on gender, age, and income; however, other relevant information was again found to be cited from the 2016 records.

Further, we attempted to search through a credible database like World Population Review and City Population to gather recent data on the relevant demographics. The City Population platform pulls information from the government census websites of Canada and Quebec, reports the estimated total population of Montreal for 2018; however, other information like age group still reports data from 2016.

Finally, we attempted to look through news releases from credible sources such as the Montreal Gazette and BBC for insights on the recent demographics of Montreal that is relevant to the request. A news release from Montreal Gazette reports that incomes in Montreal, while rising more rapidly than in other areas in Canada. While the article is from 2018, the statistics reported are still from the 2016 records. We also found out that Montreal is ranked the top city for students. However, we were not able to find relevant recent education demographics information. We found an article that highlights the scarcity of racial data in Canada.

As most, if not all, of the publicly-available resources, reference the 2016 census data, we have opted to report those as the most recent data available for demographics related to education, income level and race in Montreal. We have reported more recent data where they are available.