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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a job offer to work in Quebec city downtown. I've never been to quebec city but I have been to montreal and surrounding areas.

Apparently it's one of the lowest cost of living cities in Canada. Aside from that, I was wondering what your personal opinion is of the city. I hear it gets a lot colder than Toronto, but I'll be living very close to work and plus they pay for transportation.

Is there a lot to do in the city? Aside from the language, people, and architecture, how is it different than Toronto? How is the social life, night life, and general retailers? Do they have american retailers like BestBuy and Famous Players (are movies in french only?) or are they completely detached? How are restaurants there and the food? I assume it's not as diverse as Toronto. Are people laid back or always in a hurry (business mentality)?

Thanks!

edit: Just checked, they don't have a best buy in quebec city :X nearest is laval, not that it matters.
 

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Is there a lot to do in the city? Aside from the language, people, and architecture, how is it different than Toronto? How is the social life, night life, and general retailers? Do they have american retailers like BestBuy and Famous Players (are movies in french only?) or are they completely detached? How are restaurants there and the food? I assume it's not as diverse as Toronto. Are people laid back or always in a hurry (business mentality)
Sounds like you made your decision, but for future reference I'd boil down the differences to this: Québec City is one of the most beautiful cities in North America but it's a lot less diverse and has a lot less going on than Toronto. The old part of town reminds me of my other favourite city in the world, Edinburgh (Scotland), and the location is stunning...amazing views, and if you like the outdoors you can be out in some gorgeous countryside in no time.

However, compared with Montréal or Toronto, Québec City is pretty uni-cultural and I'd say the nght life and general level of activity are closer to what you'd find in Ottawa than Toronto. In my experience more shopkeepers and people on the street can speak English in Québec City than in most of Montréal, surprisingly (I do all my shopping, banking, etc. in French and here in Montréal everyone replies in French but in Québec City they often switch to English when they hear my accent), but I doubt there are many movie houses in Québec City where you can watch films in English. It's not a place you'd want to live if you don't have at least some French. I find people there friendly, but overall the feeling is that people in Québec City are more parochial and less open than people in Montréal.

When I first saw the city I instantly wanted to live there, but now that I've been six or seven times, I view it as a wonderful place to visit but not to live. All of my Montréal friends who've gone up there to live have come back to Montréal after a year or two.
 

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Been to Quebec City a few times, I think it's a beautiful city (Old Quebec) for tourists. It has that very much European feel to it, and I've always loved Europe.

Having said that, I stress the word tourist. I dont know about living there, it's quite far from anywhere (Montreal being the closest major city) and living in a French-speaking environment might not be suitable for everyone.

Personally, I wouldnt mind the living environment so much - I would be concern more on the:

  • Financial advantage/disadvantage

  • What the job can do for you - new knowledge, important skills to learn?

  • What's your plan for the future - are you thinking to work there for 2-3 years then move?
The main point being: How does this job falls / affect your overall grand-plan of life?
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I really appreciate your responses, out of all the forums I've been on, no one has given me such detailed and exact responses. You guys bring quality content to this forum!

As for my job, it's really irrelevant, since I can do this kind of work in any country and I have lived in NYC, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley. I am also at the top of my field, so there isn't much I can learn anymore, my position usually involves leading and training everyone else..

At the end of the day I am looking for a balance of work life and good money, and in the US it's more of work/slave mentality (especially in NYC and LA), and doesn't meet my balance of life. Quebec seems like it would be unbalanced as well, too much life and not enough money plus high taxes..

I've had an opportunity to work in Tampa, FL which had good pay (no state income taxes, and rent & food is ridiculously cheap) and good work life balance, but they're due for a katrina like hurricane anytime soon and also their crime rate is huge, specifically property crime and burglary.

Overall maybe I should incorporate and create my own work environment and attract like minded individuals to work for me.
 

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I am also one of those "can work from anywhere" types (I'm a full-time employee but have a portable job that just requires a phone and internet connection), and while I'd save taxes by moving to another province I honestly have no interest in living anywhere else in Canada. The province of Québec's an amazing place to live and the culture here is incredible (from my perspective and tastes, anyway).

One thing you have to remember is that while taxes may be higher, property and rents tend to be far cheaper here than in comparable cities in other provinces, so the overall cost of living is relatively low. When I was renting here in Montréal, I had a nice 3-bedroom apartment for $550/month. I bought a lovely house two years ago for $375K that would cost easily twice that in Toronto, and probably three times that in Vancouver. Québec City is even cheaper than Montréal, and the towns outside the city are cheaper still.
 

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If you're fairly open-minded, flexible and interested in other cultures, and have some interest in the French language, I would choose Quebec city in a heartbeat. Much more character and history than Toronto. (Mind you, I've never been a big fan of Toronto - I find it to be wall-to-wall freeways interspersed with skyscrapers.)
 

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When I was renting here in Montréal, I had a nice 3-bedroom apartment for $550/month.
How long ago was that? $550/month is very cheap for a 3-bedroom, even by Montreal standards. I lived 7 years in Montreal (moved to Toronto three years ago). I was renting a bachelor for $450/month so I agree that rents are cheaper on average in Montreal. However, my impression has also been that the average standard of living is higher in Toronto (e.g. cleaner, better-maintained apartments, etc.). I think if you factor in the lower salaries and higher taxes, you will find that you're going to pay about as much (if not more) in Montreal as you would in Toronto to maintain the same standard of living.
 

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How long ago was that? $550/month is very cheap for a 3-bedroom, even by Montreal standards.
I lived in that apartment from 2002-2007 and paid that price. It's still possible to find deals like that here, but they're not as common. The best bet is to find a duplex with an older landlord who lives in the other part of the place, has paid off the mortgage, and is more interested in having a quiet, reliable tenant than in making money.
 
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