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I agree that the rivalry between Montreal and Toronto which was so evident 15 or 20 years ago seems to have pretty much died down, at least in Toronto. I don't really know enough people in Mtl. to comment from their point of view, but I suspect it's true there also. Some of that rivalry was actually more like nervousness and resentment tracing back to the political situation in Quebec, which obviously has stabilized in recent years.

And I think perhaps some of it had to do with the fact that Toronto was doing so much better economically than Montreal, for several years. I remember how shockingly shabby Ste. Catherine, almost right downtown, looked in the mid 90s. The recession of the early to mid 90s hit Toronto as well, of course, but not to that extent. Now that Montreal is again doing reasonably well economically, would it be fair to say that maybe resentments in Montreal of big bad well-to-do Toronto may have cooled off? In return maybe some in Toronto are more willing to look favourably on Motreal as a great city, as opposed to that uneasiness that I mentioned before. There is perhaps more of a recognition that the cities are "peers" instead of "rivals".

To be honest, I've never known anyone who didn't like Montreal. I did know a lot of people who didn't care for Toronto, but I have noticed recently that a lot of Montrealers are starting to admit that Toronto is becoming quite an interesting place where one can have a good time (even if it is grudgingly).
 
Yeah, I was strolling through downtown and old Montreal and there are definitely shades of Soho and other parts of Manhattan abound. But the attitude of the people, the terraces, the narrow streets lined with lowrise apartments, and certainly parts of old Montreal are very European... like a second tier European city, not London or Paris. The Arab presence in a French environment makes me think of Marseille or Brussels. So I do think the "combination or New York and Europe" description is a good one. Others will disagree.

That is possibly the best description I've ever come across. I happen to be very familiar with Marseille (part of my family lives there), and I agree that it resembles Old Mtl much more closely than Paris. Something about the mix of grand schemes and master plans vs. the day-to-day grittiness and shabbiness of a working-class city. On the other hand, in my neighbourhood of Snowdon / NDG there are countless street corners that could (and actually do, when Hollywood comes to town) pass for Brooklyn or Queens.

Well with all respect to brad (welcome!), I have thought of Montreal as at least somewhat "European" every time I have gone there. A major reason, I think, is the architecture. Ganjavih's pictures above could almost be in Paris, or a number of other European cities. These scenes definitely don't feel like anywhere in Toronto, no not even Front Street East. Montreal is 200 years older than Toronto, and it continues to show.
Yeah, visually I think it's pretty clear that Montreal and Toronto do not share much at all. As for the rivalry/jealousy thing, I think at least among francophones who haven't had a chance to experience Toronto yet there are still a lot of old cliches going around, but more often than not these get blown away after a couple of days in the city. But given the respective growth rates of both cities, I wouldn't really bet on there being a 'peer' relationship for too long -- it's going to be interesting indeed witnessing Toronto become more and more of a juggernaut on a Canadian level.
 

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