Advice for New Graduate Students

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR NEW GRADUATE STUDENTS

  1. It is a good idea to try to arrive in Montreal 10 to 14 days before classes begin. Start looking for housing before arrival following the advice and using the links to be found on the McGill Off Campus Housing site www.mcgill.ca/offcampus/. Some students do arrive at the end of August only a few days before classes start and then they are under a lot of time pressure.

  2. Generally when looking to rent or share an apartment it is not a good idea to commit yourself before seeing the apartment and meeting the other occupants. For that purpose it is helpful to set up appointments to visit apartments immediately after arriving in Montreal. Below you will see some brief descriptions of various areas where our students live.

  3. McGill offers some graduate student housing. For details see www.mcgill.ca/residences/graduate/apartments/ The general feeling is that this housing is relatively expensive. It does however have advantages of proximity, security and the convenience of being furnished.

  4. When you first arrive we recommend that you stay in a hostel, unless you have been able to make some other private arrangement. It is essential to book with a hostel before arriving. Here are two useful websites:

  5. You can get from airport to the place where you will be staying using a taxi from the airport, or usually more economically, by a combination of shuttle to downtown and taxi. If you have a lot of luggage paying about $30 to $35 for a taxi is probably a good investment.

  6. You can get a public transport weekly pass for about $20. Extensive information on the transport system with maps is available here: http://www.stm.info/English/a-somm.htm

  7. Initially it should be possible, living modestly, to get by on about $50 per day.

  8. The following website is useful not only for apartment searches but also when looking for used furniture, bicycles, etc.: https://home.mcgill.ca/classified/

 

INFORMATION CONCERNING HOUSING AREAS:

These descriptions have been prepared by current graduate students. Feel free to contact them for more information and advice.

Just west of campus to Cote-de Neige, between Sherbrooke and Pins. (prepared by Geva Maimon: maimon@math.mcgill.ca)

This area is a very nice, quiet area that is within walking distance to school, metro (Peel, Guy), the mountain, a dog park, and the heart ofdowntown. Rent is a bit on the pricey side. In my building, for instance, a studio is ~ $600, 21/2 ~ $750, 31/2 ~ $900 and 41/2 ~ $1200. This includes everything but electricity, which is approximately $50 every two months. I am assuming the prices for the other buildings nearby are similar. Grocery stores are not conveniently close, but are definitely within walking distance, and if you buy too much to carry, then delivery is always an option. Although there are many students that live in this area, it doesn't feel like it is overrun by students, as I found the case to be in the “student ghetto” east of campus.

Mile End / Outremont (prepared by Nicholas Sonnerat: sonnerat@math.mcgill.ca)

This is the area around Avenue du Parc, roughly between the cross-streets Laurier in the south and van Horne in the north. Outremont is west of Avenue du Parc, Mile End to the east. The closest metro stations are Laurier (on the orange line) and Outremont (on the blue line). To get to campus, taking the bus or cycling are the best options. During peak times, the 535 bus on du Parc comes every five minutes or so, and outside of peak times, the 80 bus comes fairly frequently. Getting on the bus at Bernard, say, getting off at du Parc and Milton and walking to Burnside from there takes about 20 minutes. There is also a night bus line on du Parc. Cyclists have the choice of either braving the somewhat incompetent and dangerous Montreal drivers and taking Ave. du Parc or St. Urbain, or sticking to the quieter side streets. Cycling to campus should take between 15 and 20 minutes. Rent prices are lower than downtown; expect to pay $600-800 for an apartment with one bedroom, living room and kitchen (called a 3 and 1/2), $800-1000 for a 4 and 1/2 (two separate bedrooms), and $1000-1200 for a 5 and 1/2 (three bedrooms). These are very rough estimates. The area is very fun to live in, with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants, particularly on Laurier, Bernard, St. Viateur and du Parc. There are many small grocery shops, bakeries, specialty food shops (e.g. for cheese), and of course the bagel shops on St. Viateur and Fairmount.

McGill Student Ghetto (prepared by Marc Ryser: ryser@math.mcgill.ca)

Area east of campus, roughly bounded by University (West), Pine Avenue (North), Sherbrooke (South) and St. Laurent. This area is very anglophone, almost exclusively residential and populated mostly by McGill students and young professionals. The renting prices are rather high, but the location is very convenient since McGill campus can be reached within at most 15 minutes (the far end) by foot. Public transport does not exist within the Ghetto, merely on the boundary streets. It is also close to the downtown nightlife scene: Crescent street, St. Laurent, St. Denis, Quartier Latin. Taking into consideration its central location, the area is relatively calm, although numerous house parties can cause some noise.

McGill Student Ghetto (prepared by Olga Trichtchenko: trichtchenko@math.mcgill.ca)

Lies just east of campus up until approximately St. Urbain between des Pins and Sherbrooke.

This area is the most popular among McGill students since it is closest to campus. Since it is populated by students, there are people out at all times of day and night and the apartments are not necessarily kept up. There are options of renting apartments in houses or buildings and these can be pricey, ranging from $550 - $850 per person on average. It is near the McGill and Place des Arts metro stations as well as near the 24 and 80 bus routes. There are a couple of grocery stores on Parc Ave and most going out places are within walking distance.

 

Plateau (prepared by Marc Ryser: ryser@math.mcgill.ca)

Roughly bounded by Sherbrooke in the south, Parc Avenue in the West, Papineau in the East and Laurier in the North. This area is fairly francophone. The Plateau used to be the hip part of town and due to its persisting popularity the renting prices are relatively high (higher than Mile End, a bit lower than in the Student Ghetto). It is fairly central, close to the nightlife of St. Laurent and St. Denis, not far from the hip Mile End region, and finally pretty close to McGill campus. McGill can be reached within 15-20 minutes from metro Mont Royal, within 15 minutes by bus or metro from Sherbrooke and Papineau and within 10 minutesby bus from Parc and Mont Royal. The South Western parts are within walking distance (15-20 minutes) from campus. There are nice shops, bars and cafes. The streets are rather quiet and sometimes fairly picturesque and the area certainly provides a good quality of life.

South Shore -Longueuil (prepared by Tayeb Aissiou: aissiou@math.mcgill.ca)

Longueuil is on the south shore of Montreal. www.rtl-longueuil.qc.ca/images/reseau.pdf

Rent, on average 400$ for 2-1/2 and 500$ for 3-1/2, includes, electricity, heat, hot water and basic furniture. The apartments are usually very clean and nice. Some ads are at http://www.lespac.com/

Compared to Montreal, food at the grocery stores is cheaper as there is more choice of stores and relatively close to each other. Depending on where you stay, there are a couple of stores, IGA, METRO, MAXI & Cie,PROVIGO, LOBLAW, WALMART and SUPER C, you might check the weekly flyers, they save a lot of money. Public Transit: Most of the buses have 10min frequency during rush hour to 30 min otherwise. www.rtl-longueuil.qc.ca , the monthly, zone-3 bus pass is 105$ and gives access to all public transit in South Shore, Montreal and North Shore. This is probably the only down side to living in South Shore. Depending on where you live, it usually takes between 30 min and 45 min to get to McGill University. There are no night buses between 1am and 5am , the last ones being by the last metro. A map of the network can be found at www.rtl-longueuil.qc.ca/images/reseau.pdf

Saint Henri (prepared by Dave Cottrell: cottrell@math.mcgill.ca)

"Saint-Henri is still pretty cheap" is often the description given of this Montreal neighborhood. Traditionally considered a working class neighborhood, there has been a recent influx of students, families and other urban dwellers looking for an affordable and convenient place to live. While many of the old factory buildings are being converted into condos and lofts, the majority of buildings are rental units, usually rustic buildings about three stories high, or industrial lofts. There are many parks scattered throughout the area and the Lachine Canal is always about 7 minutes walk away. While the area is most attractive to students from Concordia and Dawson College, McGill is still quite close. The trip to McGill takes about 15 minutes by metro (Saint-Henri or Lionel-Groulx), 15 minutes by bike or about 35 minutes walking. Saint-Henri has a fair selection of restaurants located mostly on the main street, Rue Notre Dame. There are a number of grocery stores but there is not yet the abundance of fruit and vegetable stores that seem to populate many other parts of the city. The Atwater market is a great source for more upscale food items (pastries, special seafood and meats) as well as local produce during the warm months. Saint-Henri has some of the best traditional Quebecois breakfast diners in Montreal. There are a number of coffee shops scattered through the neighborhood but there are few commercial chains. The relative absence of name-brands gives the area a fairly unique feel. The bars in the area may frighten the cocktail crowd, but the regular appearance of clusters of 'uptown hipsters' suggests that demographics are shifting slightly. Reasonable rental prices are usually around $500-700 for something like a two-bedroom (4.5 or 5.5) though they appear to vary significantly from place to place. It may take some looking to find a place that is both good /and/ cheap. It is probably best to walk around the neighborhood with a cell phone to find an apartment in Saint-Henri although the more modern loft-style apartments will usually be advertised online or in the classifieds.

 

Georg Schmidt,
Graduate Program Director,
Department of Mathematics and Statistics,
McGill University

June 25 2008.

Last edited by on Fri, 11/19/2010 - 16:31