23 signs you were born and raised in Montreal

1. You say “Bonjour, Hi!”

Even though no Quebec politician would dare speak the truth and say that Montreal is truly a bilingual city, this greeting defines you as a Montrealer. To you, “Bonjour, Hi!” is more than just a greeting – it’s publicity for courteous, bilingual customer service and a snark attack on the OQLF.

2. The HABS are your boys

The HABS are sacred. They are your boys whether you like hockey or not. Even if you move away, they’re still your team. No one messes with the HABS. Plus, you can brag about 5 buts = 8 ailes. Do other hockey teams allow their cities to enjoy one of the best pig out foods for free? Mais non! Bravo, La Cage aux Sports!

3. You speak en deux langues at the same fois

First you grew up speaking more French at school, then when you finally got used to it, they switched the programs to include more English. And nowadays, you better watch out what you say and write otherwise the OQLF may bust you. Hence, you don’t know quoi parler anymore. Vive le Franglais!

4. You can swear perfectly in both languages

Your English may not be as good as your French, or your French not as good as your English. But you’re still proud to be bilingual and if something ticks you off, you recite a freaking good rant à la Montréalais, ‘sti.

5. You know the value of a real Montreal poutine

Disco fries, cheese curd fries and other imitations from the US or other provinces do NOT qualify as real poutine. Real poutine is made in La Belle Province. You’ll line up at Poutineville or at La Banquise just to have those crisp fries, stringy cheese curds and mouth-watering gravy. Bonus points if you’re there at 4 a.m.

6. You know the seasons as almost winter, winter, still winter, and construction

Old joke, but it really is always “white season” or “orange season” out there. Construction season never ends. The forecasts for the number of rue barrées, entrée barrées, sortie barrée and détours are unpredictable and change minute-by-minute. A street without bright orange traffic cones looks so strange.

7. You’ve used an app to understand parking signs

Of all the driving frustrations, one of the ones in the city occurs when your car is not even moving. Parking sign confusion leads to more wasted time than actually finding a parking spot. The P$ Mobile Service app is your best friend when it comes to decoding badly written, mistranslated or just plain confusing parking signs.

8. The -30°C winter doesn’t stop you from having fun

The best things happen on the coldest days, but you know that staying indoors and missing the fun would be silly. There is no way you will miss Montréal En Lumiere, Nuit Blanche or IglooFest. And if your friends want to drive “up north” to Mont Tremblant to ski or snowboard, you’re game.

9. You call anything over 5°C “warm” and run outside in shorts

And call all your friends saying “Hey, let’s hit Le Bilboquet for some ice cream and have lunch on an outdoor terrasse!”

10. When you go to Toronto, you roll your eyes at the way they party

Like, it’s only 2 a.m., why are you asking us to leave? We just got here, and we didn’t pre-drink for this!

11. You’ve stopped looking at STM schedules

If only they would add the things that matter, like how long you’ll have to wait outside in the broken bus shelter while the bus driver drinks his coffee in the bus three feet away, or which metro line will be “en panne” today.

12. You’ve memorized the metro PA announcements

And you know that everything between “attention” and “d’autres messages suivront” will either be incomprehensible, about some kid trying to jump off the platforms, or about “service interruption” on the green or orange lines.

13. You believe all visitors from out-of-town MUST go to Schwartz’s and St. Viateur

You still can’t believe that most of the world has never heard of smoked meat. And they are so wrong about having eaten good bagels before.

14. You show off the Musique Plus station

In the 90s, you “accidentally” walked behind the Musique Plus cameras just to say you’ve been on an episode of Bouge de là ! or bragged to your friends that you shared some screen time with Véro Cloutier. Now, you show the studio to your friends who visit from out-of-town and tell them that this is where people came to get a real-life glimpse of Janet Jackson, Pink, Madonna, Britney Spears and other stars.

15. You jaywalk with impunity

And you’re proud to say that you NEVER get fined for it. You know it’s safer to jaywalk than to wait for the green light!

16. You eat different cultural meals in a week because you can

And you take advantage of the the many affordable and to-die-for cultural eateries like Boustan, Piri-Piri, Carlos & Pepe’s, and the bakeries in Chinatown.

17. You take tourists on a “Céline Dion” tour

You proudly show off the Notre-Dame Basilica and eat out at Nickel’s. You top it off by going to the Grévin Wax Museum and taking pictures with the immortalized version of Céline.

18. You know what the “Shatner building” is

And you talk about it like it’s some cool Star Trek shrine instead of a boring university centre. Either way, you’re proud that someone from Star Trek comes from your city.

19. You pronounce it MUNtreal, not MON-Tree-All

And not Mahn-treal. It may be the Canadian way of pronouncing it, but it baffles you that people can pronounce Versailles, Cairo, and La Jolla, but have trouble pronouncing our internationally renowned city of Montreal.

20. You’ve celebrated Canada Day by moving out

In other words, you’ve bribed friends with free beer and pizza for them to carry a refrigerator up and down a narrow spiral staircase on one of the sunniest and hottest days of the year.

21. You like to rire

You worship Sugar Sammy’s unilingual ads in the metro, and you know that the best jokes are 50.5% English and 49.9% French. You get a kick out of jokes about the province’s laws, politics, and even those against your own ethnic group and don’t take them personally. Quebecers can’t take a joke, but Montrealers can!

22. You’ve taken or gone on a date to the Belvédère lookout

With the city and its glimmering lights laid out before you like a beautiful mural, you know things will heat up once you get to the best lookout on top of Mont Royal, especially by nightfall.

23. You can’t get enough of the Montreal skyline

You feel a breath of fresh air and know you’re really home when you see the string of distinct skyscrapers and the famous rotating light on top of Place Ville Marie. Every Montrealer can recognize their city’s skyline; the beautiful view just never gets old.

Reader Interactions

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February 01, 2021 at 9:37 pm

I have come to learn that a victim mentality can begin before birth, the child becomes aware of the feelings of dangers the mom is facing and reacts like mom, often reactions from womb to abuser becomes normal and survival issues become lifetime victim reactions….your columns are so needed by so many who do not have roots of love and support to ground them as they heal. These core issues, unresolved, can and do suppress the immune system, disrupt self respect and hinder one’s ability to make good decisions about self care. Many cancer patients would do well to read your columns. Survival from disease often comes down to the voices that echo in our minds in the middle of the night that we need to change to positive empowerment rather than angers that fester within our tissues. Blessings of love and peace to you all. Be well by thinking wellness

Angela Denzer

November 10, 2020 at 1:18 pm

Jeez I am recieving the message… lol. I was so hurt by a friend a few days ago and this is exactly how I was acting…. playing the victim card and this was exactly how it played out so I am pretty sure that I didn’t run across this article by mistake. I am recieving this message and saying thank you! I will be more mindful of my actions and take more responsibility for my actions! I love receiving these messages even when they are calling me out lol

Dede Maser

October 31, 2020 at 8:05 am

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October 06, 2020 at 4:51 pm

A very needed slap in the face. Thanks for the article :)

Sad Sad Panda

September 12, 2020 at 7:31 pm

I guess I needed to read this.

I’ve just had another terrible fight with my partner because she’s convinced her closest friend secretely loaths her (for her religion) and is trying to sabotage our relationship by for example being nice to me (not flirty!).

The whole thing feels ridiculous (and tbh really unfair towards her friend). The other day I had to read through endless text conversations between my partner and her friend, looking for the slightest hint of this conspiracy. From the bottom of my heart: I can only see a good friend, albeit pehaps a bit too clingy.

Now my partner thinks I’m siding with the enemy because I told her honest to God I can’t see these supposed microaggressions. “You don’t understand me”, “you don’t have the full picture”, ” I can’t be with someone who supports a racist”… That’s what I’ve been accused of just because I wanted to mediate and suggested it could be a misunderstanding.

It’s exhausting and I have no idea what to do….


Here we go again with this victim blaming mentality. If you want people to stop being victims, then people need to stop having the perpetrator mentality.

Aletheia Luna

Hi Shaun. There’s a difference between victim-blaming and victim-naming. We need to be able to name what’s realistically going on in order to understand it and evolve past it. This article isn’t about “shaming” victims, but empowering them to step into a new role.

As mentioned in this article right at the beginning:

While it’s important to claim the role of victim if we have genuinely been victimized or abused, we cannot move on with our lives unless we step out of the victim role and into the survivor role.

Yes, we need to accept that we’ve been victimized. But no, we don’t have to stay in that place forever.


August 22, 2020 at 11:06 am

This article every bit of shaming the victim. No where in this article that shames the perpetrator. You can’t solve problems when you attack the effect, but not the cause.


September 23, 2020 at 10:33 am

Everybody does it though don’t they to a more or lesser degree. People rely on other people or co-depend in marriage. I look after someone else and live on my own so don’t depend on anybody, its about being responsible for yourself

Trying to Help

How do you help someone who has the victim mentality get out of it, if they are unwilling to become self aware and listen to the advice and input of others? May be a rhetorical question but sincerely hoping someone in my life finds a way out.

Aletheia Luna

Hey Trying to Help. Thanks for your open-heartedness.
Ultimately, you can’t force someone to change or even coerce them – it must come from deep within them. With that being said, you can personally walk the talk and be an example for them. If there is an opening, you could even forward them an article like this in the future. Perhaps something will click within them. I hope that helps


My dearest best friend has always been pure as gold and sweet as Sweet Southern Tea. Then back in 2014 her eldest daughter became pregnant. She just modeled for an agency and going into her Senior year with a 4.0 and scholarship.
My best friend couldn’t see her being able to deal or even understand what was about to unfold. She begged me to go with her to get rid of this problem she said. I was totally against it, but she needed me to drive. From that day my best friend has spiraled down hill. It’s been since 2014 and it’s now 2020 and in the past 6 years she’s went on antidepressants, quit her job, had a nervous breakdown, and slept the past 4 years away avoiding life and lost her home. Moved in with her mother.. this child went on to college, quit the first year and moved to the big city to waitress for a living. She now has an 8 mo old child at age 22. Still a bad parent but I didn’t expect the best bc she’s been spoiled her entire life. No gratitude, no humbleness, no care.
And my best friend is now at the lowest point she’s ever been. I’ve tried to make her talk about it. She became homeless only to move in with me and sleep 24/7. Not once did she help us with anything. I asked her to do the dishes twice in 5 months. I got tired of the victim role and sent her back to her mothers. She will do for her new grandchild but not for anyone else. I’ve tried to address is and all she tells me is that she still agrees she made the right decision. I don’t think she really feels that way. I found her journals. She’s tucked it away but has beaten herself up so bad she’s no longer herself. Now she plays the victim. Constantly. But I know it’s bc of what she did. She refuses to face reality. Even with this COVID-19 she doesn’t believe it’s that bad. She’s self destructing and refuses to get help!
Now I’m angry. Hurt, and angry. I got involved too but today I found where that baby was further along and how she could’ve done that just kills my soul completely. Help me.


I go to al-anon, it helps a lot, along with a good bible reading church.


I’ve always been searching for what it is exactly I’ve been doing, feeling and why. I found too many abstract explanations none of which really gave me a satisfactory conclusion.I have low self confidence, am very anxious, pessimistic, self conscious, but have a strong sense of self respect and believe I’m righteous. I love to be in my own space, alone and in my head. It’s so much simpler that way.
Recently I identified that I loved playing the victim.
Victimizing myself justified everything so wonderfully. I have knowingly used this behaviour to manipulate arguments and behaviour. It makes me feel like I’m in control of atleast something and somehow adds to my self worth. I have been craving for sympathy and pity but not quite.
This is affecting my close relationships. I see it now.
This behaviour is definitely something I’m mirroring as one of my parents also exhibits these traits. I’ve been exposed to this mentality all my life and have been unknowingly and knowingly playing the victim card as well. So many years were bearable for me because I considered myself the real victim. This was something I felt obligated to do to protect myself and I found solace in. Till today, it’s sort of an escape mechanism. I had no intention of changing my behavior. But now knowing that all my other worries may be owing to this, I’d like to turn a new leaf . I’ve also hurt someone I love, quite recently.
I’m glad I can move forward from here and try to solve things.
Nothing has resonated with me more than this article and I’m grateful I’ve read this. Thank you for this insightful read!


February 23, 2020 at 1:26 pm

Yup this is me and it’s costing me a lot . I don’t have any support at home just get told to stop playing the victim .

michael clark

February 28, 2020 at 10:39 am

why are you still playing the victim? Read your own comment back to yourself… Can you not see that you are still playing the victim?


February 19, 2020 at 7:59 pm

It feels horrid to realise this what I’m like, I don’t know how to stop.

Marcia Martins

Hi Belle. Love yourself the way you are right now because we all are here learning at different levels, there are no shame on make mistakes when we are students of life, you body, mind, heart, they all are used to play the victim game for too long, it is a safe territory specially for your mind and that’s why is hard to switch. Don’t try to solve the problem by thinking on the problem, simply switch in little shots, tiny changes everyday. Think as cleaning a house room by room, if you look the whole picture is too messy but if you concentrating in square meter by square meter realizing that you’re dealing with cleaning and organization instead of concentrating the whole mess (this is a metaphor for the victim mode) then it will feel and it will be easier and easir to get it done.


January 26, 2020 at 2:52 am

I feel like i have it but i purposely avoided the ways to control it. I self harm, cuz imma bad person. I often feel like being persecuted or sacrificed for some cause. Cigarettes, drugs, alcohol have a special place in my life!

1. You’re not a stateless person and own a passport. You can go to an institution of your own government to ask for and obtain your own passport to travel abroad. Moreover, there’s no need for you to first obtain permission from a male family member. Likewise, you can travel as a single individual without drawing suspicion about your moral character. Your government allows its citizens to travel internationally.

2. That passport is a useful passport of a nation-state with (good) diplomatic relations with the outside world. You can travel to some neighboring countries on that passport without needing a visa for everything.

3. There’s no need with your passport to cross borders illegally by swimming through rivers, climbing 6m high fences, or digging tunnels. In other ways, you can enter just by queuing.

4. You can cross an official border without including hours of interrogation for travel time. Because when people see you, they don’t make stupid assumptions from your appearance about your religion, sexual orientation, class, marital status, political affiliation, etc. whatnot.

5. You don’t get “randomly” picked out of the line at any border crossing 10 out of 10 times. Receiving a pat-down or extra luggage-check because of vague reasons at immigration still catches you off-guard.

6. You own basic things. Like luggage.

7. Your need and desire to travel doesn’t come forth out of political/religious/ethnic/sexual persecution by your own country or people inside your own country. You’re not traveling because someone threatened you.

8. Your travel style doesn’t include being a “sardine in a can” taking boats made for 50 passengers, but in reality taking 300 souls across, without any safety vests on board and with a sinking-rate of “unbelievable”.

Also read this piece, whether you’re privileged or not: How Many People Can Visit All Countries on Earth?

9. You’re not being extorted by people who give you the idea of a better life on the ‘other side’ of the journey. For instance, someone won’t charge you the price of everything you got to travel, without even the guaranteeing you’ll arrive alive. Trust at its finest.

10. You’re not ruthlessly sent back to your own country upon arrival at your destination, because of vague reasons no one wants to get into.

11. You speak a language that other people tend to speak to get around the place you travel to so you can make yourself understood and keep you out of trouble.

12. You’re healthy and able-bodied enough to travel independently.

13. a) Your country has (basic) education for everybody, regardless of class, gender, ethnicity, etc. for starters.b) Your country has a good education system that doesn’t distort your world’s view as “your country being the only one on this planet”, leaving children unable to even imagine more outside their own country. Within this education system, you actively learn about other countries.

14. The internet in your own country is without censoring, so you can look up information about other countries and places to maybe travel to. Also, it would be nice if you grew up in an area that had access to the internet or at least an atlas. A working toilet, running water and electricity would also be nice.

15. You grew up not too poor to travel, maybe even have done some international travel as a child and now as an adult, you have enough funds to do it yourself – or have enough creativity to make money on the road.

16. The country you travel to welcomes you as a “tourist”, “business person” or maybe even “expat” or “exchange student”, not a “refugee” and “asylum seeker” or even as a “criminal”.

Want to read more? Here’s another suggestion: Tourist vs Traveler Debate: Don’t be an Asshole

17. The laws and medical facilities in your own country don’t require you to travel to another country to receive the safe medical treatment you need and have a right to, you have authority over your own body and your body is not the property of your government, religion or culture. Moreover, your government doesn’t violate your sovereignty to travel for such reasons.

18. Generally, your own country is portrayed in all international media as peaceful and developed or there’s never any news about your country ever. No news is good news.

19. The stereotypes about your nationality and/or ethnicity and the connotations and assumptions with those are either positive or not particularly harmful.

20. You are employable pretty much anywhere around the globe with the nationality you have. Your passport is never the obstacle to advancing your career or following your dreams.

21. When you enter an establishment where people usually spend big money, people greet you positively based on your skin color because of assumptions that you’re rich and will tip well. People never assume from your skin color you’re going to rob the place or do other illegal shit. People don’t act weird around you because of your appearance.

22. You didn’t need to leave your country because of a natural disaster, highly infectious disease, or basic goods (such as condoms, medicine, food, and soap) shortage.

23. You can dream of travel as a leisurely activity, rather than a means to survive, to begin with.

∞. So many more things beyond what I’ve just mentioned here. No one should make a bold claim as that they were “born to travel”, while some people on this planet are forced to travel or forced not to travel.

Nobody is born to travel. Some are forced to travel, while others have the opportunity to travel. If you have the opportunity to travel, treasure that.

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