Originally Posted by hipster duck
Well, I can't really answer that question. It's like asking "which of the large jungle cats is the most like a tropical fish?" I mean, leopards have spots, and so do leopard fish, but those similarities are superficial and, often, coincidental.
Along similar lines, I could throw out superficialities like:
"Boston doesn't have a grid"
"New Yorkers tend to rent apartments and not own cars"
"Washington DC doesn't have skyscrapers, but it has midrises along boulevards and major monuments to an empire"
"Vancouver has the same climate as a Northern European city, so it has the same attention to landscaping and they use the same plant species" (I could probably make a similar comment about a California city vs. a Mediterranean city)
"Eugene, Oregon is a midsized city with a vibrant, packed downtown and whose urban boundaries give way suddenly to agriculture"
But I think it would miss the point.
What is it about Montreal that is "European" as opposed to a significant variation on a North American template?
Incidentally, I don't think that North American urbanism is always worse than European urbanism. To give you an example, I much prefer the fact that characterful homes in wealthy neighbourhoods aren't hidden behind tall masonry walls. I like DIY workarounds like food carts. I like that stores are open late. I like that the centres of our cities - even the ones that are tourist magnets - aren't given over lock, stock and barrel to the tourist trade (if Montreal were in Europe, St. Catherine street would be full of restaurants selling crappy pasta out of laminated menus with touts trying to lure you inside). I like the variety of skyscraper architecture we have going back over a hundred years. I even sometimes appreciate the fact that our cities are gigantic hundred mile metros that go on forever and are unabashedly large.
I don't disagree that there are "pluses'' associated with North American cities and life here in general. Especially when it comes to quality personal space, affordability of creature comforts, and practical life in general.
Yet we still keep arguing over who is more European as if it was the goose that lays the golden egg. The Canadian forum is particularly bad for this. As shown by the boutade
in my signature, "Frenchness'' also seem to be a highly desirable thing in the Canadian forum, and there are occasionally posts on the Canada forum alleging that Quebec has no French influences whatsoever, or at least, not significantly more than, say, Pincher Creek, Alberta. None of which of course means that Quebec is exactly like France, or even quite a bit
But sorry, comparing Quebec to France vs. other provinces to France is not like comparing tropical fish to a leopard.
In any event, assuming that Montreal and Quebec have some teeny weeny similarities to Europe and France, it's not as if there are solely positives associated with this.
Relative to the rest of Canada and the U.S., we tend to have:
- higher taxation
- a more bloated bureaucracy and more red tape for most things
- higher suicide rates
- more work days lost to strikes
- somewhat lower productivity
- less giving to charities
- less volunteering and community involvement
- more smokers
- more abortions
Just to name a few things off the top of my head.
So why are we fighting over who is more European or French again?