Student bars in Côtes-des-Neiges versus family brunch in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, the borough has two distinct faces. Nevertheless, the two neighbourhoods have much in common. Perfect examples of Canadian multiculturalism, they both offer major social and intellectual diversity. Spacious housing, green spaces, and good schools attract families looking for the best compromise location and budget.
“NDG” is a family-friendly but trendy neighbourhood, sociable but calm. Not shocking that it’s gentrifying quickly! Newcomers and families who move to NDG appreciate the easy access to downtown, its good schools in both English and French, its parks, its pretty tree-lined streets, and the charm of its historic duplexes. The life force of the district centres around Monkland Village. Organic grocers, cafes, bakeries, restaurants, pubs, toy stores: there’s something for every taste and age!
Situated on the side of the mountain, to the north of Mount Royal, the aptly named Côtes-des-Neiges is first and foremost a student neighbourhood. Between the University of Montreal, HEC, Polytechnique, the Collège International Marie de France, the Jewish General Hospital and the Hospital Sainte Justine, CDN attracts professors, doctors and students from the world over. From the terraces of the bars on Avenue Lacombe to the bookstores of Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges, including the exotic grocers around the Snowdon metro station, life in the neighbourhood doesn’t lack excitement! But it’s above all the affordability of CDN, due to its distance from downtown and the disrepair of certain buildings, that seduces many newcomers.
My day in Côte-des-Neiges NDG: grocery shopping on the way out of metro, homework on the terrace with a view of Saint Joseph’s Oratory
- Density of 7,500 inhabitants/km2: more urban on the Côte-des-Neiges side, the borough has more suburban allure the farther west into NDG you go.
- The Décarie Autoroute divides the borough in two and permits a quick escape from the city. It’s easiest to get downtown from the Snowdon or Villa Maria metro stops. Côte-des-Neiges is farther removed (count on a 40 min. commute), but perfect for those who work on campus.
- With Mount Royal and the St. Joseph’s Oratory for a backdrop, small shops, warm cafes, world cuisine and terraces animate Monkland Village and the areas surrounding Snowdown and Côtes-des-Neiges metro stations. Everyone loves the Jean Brillant market open 24 hours a day!
My home in Côte-des-Neiges NDG: older but less expensive makes for happy newcomers
- 74% renters: in NDG, expect $1500-$1800 for two bedrooms, $2000 and more for 3 bedrooms and yard (rare). Smaller budgets are accommodated more easily in Côte-des-Neiges.
- 60% of buildings have less than 5 floors: the majority are duplexes. A few high-rises and student-housing complexes provide relief!
- With 2/3 of buildings constructed before 1960 and the rest in 1960-90, CDN-NDG’s stock of housing is aging. Perfect if you prefer space and historic charm with contemporary functionality!
- As usual in Montreal, options with parking are rather rare, though it does exist.
My neighbours in Côte-des-Neiges NDG: students, professors, doctors, and international families.
- 50% of the population has a university education. Some are still working on it!
- 64% of inhabitants earn less than $50,000 per year. A strong contrast between the students of CDN and the affluent families of NDG.
- With 53% of the population immigrants from every region of the world, this borough is one of the most multicultural in Montreal!
- Perfect equality between English, French, and other languages.
- 45% of families are couples with children.
My children in Côte-des-Neiges NDG: aim for the verdure and excellent schools of NDG
- Unique in Montreal: NDG has excellent public schools in both English AND French (and 1 bilingual school). The quality of life in the neighbourhood makes it a prime choice for expatriate families.
- In Côte-des-Neiges there are two international schools including the CIMF. The public schools are less reputable than those in NDG: it’s necessary to be comfortable with a certain level of social and cultural diversity.