Montreal is located in the Canadian province of Quebec where French is the official language, but English is also widely spoken. The city has more than 120 cultural groups and over 20% of population speaks three languages. It is common that you will be addressed in French, but people will quickly speak English when asked.
Many of the ICN Congress sessions will have interpretation available in English, French and Spanish.
July is Montreal’s hottest month of the year and often the most humid. The average daytime high is around 27° C (80.6° F) which often feels more like 35°C (95°F) on those humid days. Evenings remain quite warm with an average temperature of 18-20°C (64.4-68°F). July is a lot wetter than most people expect, but rain usually comes in the form of short rain showers.
Remember that while it might be hot outside, air-conditioned buildings such as the Palais des Congrès (convention centre) can be cool, therefore, having a few warmer items such as jackets or cardigans is suggested, especially if you are spending a few hours per day in meetings.
Country dialing code and cellphone usage
The country dialing code for Canada is +1. Your cellular phone will work in Canada, however, to avoid potentially expensive roaming charges, it is strongly recommended that you turn off your data before arriving in the country. Montreal has hundreds of free Wi-Fi connections in the city, not to mention hotels, the convention centre, restaurants and cafés, so there is no reason for visitors to incur additional charges with their cell phone carrier.
In July, when the ICN Congress will be held, Montreal will be on Eastern Daylight Time (summer time zone) which corresponds to GMT -4 hours).
Most shops are open Monday to Wednesday from 10:00 to 18:00, Thursday to Friday from 10:00-21:00 and Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00. They are usually closed on legal holidays but some establishments (supermarkets, SAQ outlets, etc.) may still be open. For more information, consult the Tourisme Montréal website.
The electric current is 110V and the plugs are Types A and B (the same as in the USA). If you come from a country that uses 220V electricity, you will need an adaptor (for computers, cell phones, tablets / iPads, cameras etc.) or a converter (to transform voltage- for your hairdryer, electric shavers etc.). The ICN Congress organisers cannot provide adaptors or convertors for our participants.
Montreal has the highest concentration of eateries on the continent with 92 restaurants per square kilometer, in tourist neighbourhoods and representing various types of cuisine inspired by 120 countries and regions. There is something for every palate and budget. Browse the Tourisme Montréal website.
Canada, like the USA, has a strong culture of tipping. Tipping is optional but it is customary and expected. Standard tipping in a restaurant is 15-20%, For taxi drivers, you should tip about 10-15%. In hotels, you should tip the porter CAD (Canadian Dollars) $1-2 per bag, the housekeep between $2-3 a day, and the concierge between CAD$10-20 depending on services provided.
Banks, currency exchange and taxes
Canadian currency is the dollar, which is divided into 100 cents. There are 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollar bills. There are numerous currency exchange offices for visitors to exchange money into Canadian currency. Most exchange offices are open during regular business hours (9:00-18:00) and Saturday from 10:00-17:00. Credit cards are also widely accepted in restaurants, stores, taxis, etc.
Taxes in Montreal are calculated as follows: a 5% Federal Goods & Services tax and a 9.975% Provincial Goods & Services tax. Only basic groceries (breads, dairy, fruits, vegetables, etc.) are not taxed. Taxes paid by visitors are not reimbursable.