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  #21  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 2:32 AM
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Bolded part, it's definitely not the case, at least in my opinion.

It's mostly the opposite: if you enter the province driving, it'll slowly turn into Quebec and eventually you'll realize you're now deep into it. It's a continuum, and every single one of the areas of Quebec that are just next to a border shows common traits with whatever lies on the other side (usually due to shared history and evolution).
Yeah, it's not otherworldly for sure but this also depends on the person and how observant they are, how focused they are on language as a marker of foreignness, etc.

There are some subtle differences IMO as soon as you cross the border, that are not necessarily related to language.

I wouldn't say that for the vast majority of people, Quebec feels exactly the same to most people. It's more like a foreign-ish, French-influenced variant of the place you just left behind.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 2:36 AM
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Whereas, when I worked in tourism in Ontario, the reactions of American visitors we had ranged from "it's virtually the same as the U.S.", to ""OMG I can't believe this place feels so different and foreign!". The former group was quite a bit more numerous than the latter. These were people visiting southern and eastern Ontario.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 3:11 AM
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I wouldn't say that for the vast majority of people, Quebec feels exactly the same to most people. It's more like a foreign-ish, French-influenced variant of the place you just left behind.
Sure, but that's a gradual change. Every single border area is more Anglo and more connected to either the US or Anglo Canada than the average for Quebec as a whole, while on the other side these areas are more francophone and more like Quebec than average/typical areas that are further away from the border.

Eventually you end up in Old Quebec City and it does feel exotic, but there's no special point on the drive (the one that Centropolis would do, which I've done probably 15 times when "trucking" stuff back home from Amarillo, but all the other points of entry I'm familiar with are also continuums) where you have an unambiguous cultural shock coming from having suddenly entered obviously foreign territory.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 4:45 AM
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I was expecting Quebec City, too. I could also see the argument for New Orleans. Montreal definitely deserves mention though as it does have a bit of a different ethos and local culture from that of Anglo-North America that is definitely palpable.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 6:57 AM
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Man I thought it was Santa Fe before I clicked enter.

On the contrary, I consider Montreal is a typical NA city instead of unique.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 7:00 AM
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  #27  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 1:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
Whereas, when I worked in tourism in Ontario, the reactions of American visitors we had ranged from "it's virtually the same as the U.S.", to ""OMG I can't believe this place feels so different and foreign!". The former group was quite a bit more numerous than the latter. These were people visiting southern and eastern Ontario.
I would say to an American Canada sort of feels strange because it's so similar yet has subtle differences. So it ends up feeling like you've not entered a foreign country at all, but stepped through a dimensional portal into an alternate United States.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 6:03 PM
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Great pics, however, I'd say that of all the major North American cities -- Mexico City is probably the most unique.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 6:18 PM
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its due to the European fusion with North America and that energy and creativity you'd only see here in Montreal.
Montreal has very little in common with a European city. Its built form is largely Eastern Seaboard with some local Quebecois flair (eg. wood-framed, brick-facaded rowhouses with exterior spiral staircases; streets that intersect at right angles with one another). Its demographics are the product of centuries of North American-style immigration. Stores are open on Sundays. Suburban kids hang out at the mall, ride yellow school buses and get 2 months off for summer.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 7:16 PM
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Montreal has very little in common with a European city. Its built form is largely Eastern Seaboard with some local Quebecois flair (eg. wood-framed, brick-facaded rowhouses with exterior spiral staircases; streets that intersect at right angles with one another). Its demographics are the product of centuries of North American-style immigration. Stores are open on Sundays. Suburban kids hang out at the mall, ride yellow school buses and get 2 months off for summer.
Not sure about the demographics argument. Not too many big cities on this land mass where "centuries of North American-style immigration" have produced a city with a majority population descended from French colonists who migrated in the first part of the 1600s.

It's true that Montreal's immigration patterns in the 1800s and 1900s were more in line with what you saw elsewhere on the eastern half of the continent, but contemporary immigration is again making the city's demographics diverge from what we're seeing in other big cities in Canada and the U.S.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 7:35 PM
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Not sure about the demographics argument. Not too many big cities on this land mass where "centuries of North American-style immigration" have produced a city with a majority population descended from French colonists who migrated in the first part of the 1600s.

It's true that Montreal's immigration patterns in the 1800s and 1900s were more in line with what you saw elsewhere on the eastern half of the continent, but contemporary immigration is again making the city's demographics diverge from what we're seeing in other big cities in Canada and the U.S.
What I meant to say is that Quebec is a new world society, where its demographics reflect colonization. As you point out, the majority of French Quebeckers can trace their origins to a combination of original French colonists, Aboriginal ancestry and some early 19th century European immigration, notably Irish. No other part of the Americas has this combination, but most other parts of the Americas - at least the ones that got settled very early on - had this sort of practice.

In that sense, Quebec - and Montreal especially, given that it continued to be a huge magnet for immigration after the rest of Quebec ceased to be - is really an "American" (i.e. of the Americas) society and not European at all.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 7:53 PM
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What I meant to say is that Quebec is a new world society, where its demographics reflect colonization. As you point out, the majority of French Quebeckers can trace their origins to a combination of original French colonists, Aboriginal ancestry and some early 19th century European immigration, notably Irish. No other part of the Americas has this combination, but most other parts of the Americas - at least the ones that got settled very early on - had this sort of practice.

In that sense, Quebec - and Montreal especially, given that it continued to be a huge magnet for immigration after the rest of Quebec ceased to be - is really an "American" (i.e. of the Americas) society and not European at all.
If you put it that way, then I get it.

I just find it's a bit ridiculous when people say Montreal/Quebec are just your regular run-of-the-mill Canada/USA, except in French.

It's like when people say Canada is exactly the same as the U.S. except for different colour money and universal healthcare.

(We all know how people loooooove that!)
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  #33  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 7:57 PM
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Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
Montreal has very little in common with a European city. Its built form is largely Eastern Seaboard with some local Quebecois flair (eg. wood-framed, brick-facaded rowhouses with exterior spiral staircases; streets that intersect at right angles with one another). Its demographics are the product of centuries of North American-style immigration. Stores are open on Sundays. Suburban kids hang out at the mall, ride yellow school buses and get 2 months off for summer.
To be fair, my family is from Europe, they all agree Montreal is the most European big city. Other family members who have moved to Toronto or NYC say Montreal's lifestyle is "just like home" referring to Europe, while Toronto is American. And its also many European immigrants here who agree that the lifestyle is more European than American.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 8:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
If you put it that way, then I get it.

I just find it's a bit ridiculous when people say Montreal/Quebec are just your regular run-of-the-mill Canada/USA, except in French.

It's like when people say Canada is exactly the same as the U.S. except for different colour money and universal healthcare.

(We all know how people loooooove that!)
Right. But, at the same time, it's ridiculous when people say that Montreal is the most "European city" in North America. It's the flipside of your argument: that a lot of Quebec is run-of-the-mill Canada/USA, only in French, and people associate the use of the French language as somehow European.

They even made fun of this on Master of None: "I went to Montreal not too long ago. Have you been there? It feels like you're in Europe!"
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  #35  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 8:23 PM
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Right. But, at the same time, it's ridiculous when people say that Montreal is the most "European city" in North America.
Well, I do see Djesus' point. Out of all of the other large cities in Canada and the U.S., which one would you rank ahead of it?

I won't attribute percentages of each but as Djesus says, it really does feel like a bit of a mix between the two.

In any event, there isn't one single European style of city (or even society).

What's a typical European city? Napoli? Frankfurt? Oslo? Athens?
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  #36  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 8:29 PM
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I mean...

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  #37  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 8:42 PM
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The thing about SSP is that it's an urban fan's forum populated by a lot of people who live in places that are often wanting (to varying degrees) in terms of urban charms. In that sense, European cities are kind of seen as the model to aspire to, and saying that North American City X is the most European of the list on the west side of the Atlantic is kind of like proclaiming in a nursery that your baby is the most beautiful of them all, or that your kid is the smartest in the class to a gathering of elementary school parents.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2016, 9:27 PM
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Well, I do see Djesus' point. Out of all of the other large cities in Canada and the U.S., which one would you rank ahead of it?
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"

etc., etc.

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.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2016, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
The thing about SSP is that it's an urban fan's forum populated by a lot of people who live in places that are often wanting (to varying degrees) in terms of urban charms. In that sense, European cities are kind of seen as the model to aspire to, and saying that North American City X is the most European of the list on the west side of the Atlantic is kind of like proclaiming in a nursery that your baby is the most beautiful of them all, or that your kid is the smartest in the class to a gathering of elementary school parents.
Well to be fair, most Western European major cities have the best urbanity in the entire world. They combine density with charm(across very large portions of the cityscape), something lacking in many cities around the world that are dense(usually there's only a few charming neighborhoods).
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  #40  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2016, 2:19 AM
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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"

etc., etc.

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 like France.

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?
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