10 Do's + Don'ts for Visiting Québec + Register Now for N85!

10 Do’s + Don’ts for Visiting Québec
NANOG 85 Meeting Will Take Place Jun. 6 - 8 in Montréal

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Montréal is Canada’s second-largest city and is known for its melting pot of diverse culture, established universities, enthralling art, food, history + festivals. It has been called one of the world’s “happiest locations” as an estimated 45,000 immigrants relocate to the city every year.

For those who don’t call Québec home, we have prepared a list of cultural “Do’s and Don’ts” to help you quickly acclimate + thrive in this foreign destination.


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I have lived ten minutes from Quebec and two hours from Montreal for a long time, I have never encountered either item 1 or item 2. Of course, there might be a place that won’t take a credit card, but your credit card company will charge you a fee and be happy to use a terrible exchange rate as will restaurants if you pay in US cash.

Consider getting cash from your bank account at an ATM at a bank once you land although there are fees there as well. If you are a TD bank customer, TD is a Canadian Bank and that will eliminate a fee.

As for culture, smoked meat, bagels (they are different) and poutine should be on this list.

I think I have actually heard « tire-toi une bûche » before! But it was as a child, visiting our annual Fête du Voyageur historical re-enactment, and certainly not in any normal day-to-day setting.

I’m just happy that an American author (who quite likely has never been to Montreal), writing for an overwhelmingly-American audience, recognized that we have separate cultures in the first place.

Meanwhile, one thing I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere yet is ArriveCAN[1] and/or eTAs[2].

If you’re trying to enter Canada right now you must use the ArriveCAN system before you get to the border, or you’ll likely be denied entry. That means doing it before you get on the plane, not after you land.

Anyone entering Canada using a Canadian or American passport should not need an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization, sort of an e-visa), but pretty much everyone else does (e.g. passports from Mexico or anywhere in the Caribbean, in this case).

Absolutely check this out for yourself, links are below, I am not guaranteeing in any way the accuracy, nor the durability, of what I’ve written here.


[1] COVID-19: Use ArriveCAN to enter Canada - Canada.ca

[2] Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) - Canada.ca

General info: Visit Canada - Canada.ca

Official landing page: Welcome / Bienvenue | Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada / Affaires Étrangères, Commerce et Développement Canada (canadainternational.gc.ca)

I already wrote all of this up for a conference based in Ottawa, that sees a large qty. of int’l visitors from around the world: BSDCan 2022 - Travel Travelers from the US generally don’t have the kind of issues at customs I’ve described there.


P.S. ArriveCAN is a pain to Canadians, too, I can’t just pop across the border for shopping trips whenever I want any more without planning for it in advance. Yeah, I know, first-world problems…

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Having lived in and continue to spend as much time in Montreal as I can. This list made be laugh, especially for a group where most of us do a lot of travel.

Other then no right on red. Montreal like any other city. Don’t be an ass and enjoy yourself.

God no !
There are many great things about Canada and Québec .... but poutine most certainly is not. A culinary abomination that deserves to be confined to the history books.

It is but the refined variant of 'cheesy chips & [british] gravy' and no-one will convince me otherwise, especially at 3am following four hours of swearing, sweating and more swearing in a data centre.

Poutine uber alles.

As a Quebecer, I think it’s my duty to say that good Poutine is good. There are plenty of bad poutine (like any other food) in Montreal but definitely something to try for anyone here for NANOG.

For a portuguese style poutine : http://mapoulemouillee.ca/

And for something a bit more mass-market : https://labanquise.com/en/

These two are literally right in front of each other :wink:

I will add that card cloning is common enough in Canada that one should take precautions, particularly if just using the magnetic strip instead of tapping or chip/code. Don't hand your card to anyone to allow them to swipe either, no matter how nicely they offer.

If you are not from Canada and do not speak French but have an English accent that could be from another part of Canada, you may get an atittude from some service workers.. just explain that you're not from Canada and the attitude will clear right up.

It's a wonderful city, just use your head.

I speak French, but the European one.

I struggled to make myself understood because I was speaking with the "proper" accent and mannerisms (e.g. rolling of R's), both of which are brutally murdered by French Canadian speakers.

So I switched to speaking English. Worked out well, and I never saw the "chip on shoulder" that Stephen alludes to (although I'm aware it exists, having been briefed by Canadian friends).

once upon a time at an ietf in ville de québec, i was out to dinner with
a crew of fellow researchers all french, well one belgian. i can
usually read a french menu, but was having serious problems so sought
help from my dinner companions. they were struggling with the same
parts i was.


Yeah, you’ll get that more in Quebec city =D

In Montreal, you should be fine with English, even more in the city center where the meet is scheduled.

If you’re a world traveler do not expect the same experience as old European cities… but it can pretty good. The old Montreal and “Plateau” is where its at, if you’re willing to pay those prices.

It is in June, so weather should be fine.

It appears that Laura Smith via NANOG <n5d9xq3ti233xiyif2vp@protonmail.ch> said:

poutine should be on this list.

God no !
There are many great things about Canada and Québec .... but poutine most certainly is not. A culinary abomination that deserves to be confined to the history books.

I dunno. The foie gras poutine at Au Pied de Cochon, on R. Duluth in the plateau, is pretty darn tasty.


Definitely try the smoked meat sandwich I recommend asking for ‘medium fat’ used to visit Montreal frequently pre pandemic