Information for international visitors


The emergency number in Canada is 911.


French is the language used in Montréal. People in the service industry – hotels, restaurants, shops – will likely also speak English (you will surely hear the infamous “Bonjour-hi” bilingual greeting). But they will be very happy if you can greet and thank them in French!

Bonjour (bon-joor) = Hello

Bonsoir (bon-swar) = Good evening

Au revoir (oh-re-vwar) = Goodbye

Merci (mare-see) = Thank you

S’il vous plaît (seel-voo-play) = Please

Oui (wee) = Yes

Non (non) = No

Currency and payments

We use the Canadian dollar (CAD).

There is a sales tax of 15% (14,975% to be precise) on almost everything, which is not included in the displayed price. If something is displayed as being 10$, you will in fact be charged 11,50$.

You can pay in most places with cash, debit cards or Visa or Mastercard.


Tips are expected in restaurants where there is table service and bars. A 15% tip of the amount before tax is the amount usually expected in restaurants and bars. You can tip more, 18% or 20%, if the service was very good or exceptional.

The tip automatically calculated by the machines is usually after tax, so beware.

Also, coffee shops and restaurants where there is no table service ask for tips when paying with a card, but feel free to skip it.

Tips are also expected in taxis (10% – 15%) and for food delivery (10% – 15%).


The weather in September is mild in Montréal. Usually, it is fairly sunny and the temperatures are between 10°C and 25°C. In the morning and in the evening, it is colder, and during the day it is warm, even hot.

Bring a jacket and dress in layers.

Daily Data Report for September 2023 from Environment and natural resources Canada.


We use the type A or B power plugs, either with the two flat prongs, one slightly larger than the other, or the two flat prongs and a round one in the middle.NEMA-AC-Power-Plugs.jpg
Image by Evan-AmosOwn work, Public Domain, Link

The sockets look like little scared emojis.

American power socket.jpg
Image by LegoktmOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Officially, Canada uses the metric system, but adoption is not complete yet. A funny, but very accurate flow chart has been circulating on Reddit.

The “Official” Canadian measurement system
byu/PacOmaster inengineeringmemes

Also, prices at the grocery store are displayed in pounds, but you actually pay by the kilo…

Walking and jaywalking

You will see a lot of people jaywalking in Montréal. It is illegal.

Be sure to look both ways before crossing the street, even at pedestrian crossings!  Make eye contact with drivers or cyclists to make sure they saw you before crossing. 

Cell service

Cell service is assured through a couple of major companies, including Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Vidéotron. 

Cell plans are extremely expensive in Canada. We recommend you check with your local provider for roaming options as it will most certainly be less expensive than getting a local SIM card.

Grocery stores and co.

The main grocery store chains are:

  • Metro
  • IGA
  • Provigo
  • Super C (discount chain)
  • Maxi (discount chain)

There are also a lot of smaller grocery stores, as well as specialty stores such as bakeries, fromageries (cheese shops), poissonneries (fish shops), etc.

Dépanneurs, or “dep“, are “corner stores” which have a little bit of everything. The name comes from the verb “dépanner” which means something like “helping someone who is in a tight spot”. Prices are usually higher than in grocery stores, but they are open longer hours. Most dépanneurs are independently owned, but there are some chains, mostly in partnership with gas stations:

  • Couche-tard
  • Provi-soir
  • Voisin

Pharmacies in North America are like general stores. They do have a “pharmacy” section in the back where they sell medicine and with an actual pharmacist, but unlike pharmacies in Europe, they sell a lot of other things too, including food, various supplies, cosmetics, shampoo, etc. The main pharmacy chains are:

  • Jean-Coutu
  • Pharmaprix
  • Familiprix
  • Uniprix


Alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis

Alcohol is sold in SAQ stores in Québec. Wine and beer are also available in grocery stores and dépanneurs.

Cigarettes are sold in grocery stores and dépanneurs, but you need to ask at the counter. Vaping accessories are sold in specialty stores only, recognizable by their frosted windows.

Most establishments forbid smoking, including on patios and terraces. Smokers need to stay at least 9 metres away from doors.

Cannabis is legal in Canada and sold through SQDC in Québec. Smoking cannabis is forbidden almost everywhere.