Living in Montreal is nothing short of a dream for me. I think it's clear to anyone who knows me + reads this blog that I'm a huge fan of our living situation, though it may not be ideal for others.
True, we live 7 hours from most of our family.
True, the taxes are higher in Quebec than any other province in Canada.
True, it's a French province and French is not our first language (or hardly a language for me at all right now).
True, we live in an urban centre meaning no yard, no garage, no parking, no basement.
But we L O V E Montreal.
I would ideally like to live in Montreal my whole life. Downtown. Right in the action. Despite everything.
But there's no doubt that Montreal is a hard place. It can be a dark place. Especially for those in Christian ministry. I'll post more in the weeks and months to come, but here's a snippet of the cultural landscape of urban Montreal via the most recent census.
Every other city in Canada has seen a rise in population since the last census. Montreal's birthrate has dropped even with all the fantastic government initiatives for families (just ask me about them!). Families are abandoning Montreal in droves. Surprised? No. But it will still have a negative effect on the city. And it is very telling about the lifestyles in Montreal, above any other urban city in Canada.
In addition to not having children, people aren't marrying in Montreal, either. Only half of those with children in Montreal are married (compared to 67% in the rest of Canada). Canada as a whole sees 17% of the population in a common-law union (read: shacking up), while 32% of Quebecers choose living together over marriage.
Having babies and getting married is certainly not the ultimate good I'm suggesting. But they are a telling side effect of a city that chases personal freedom, satisfaction, and success above anything else, more than anyone else.
I never thought being married with children would make me a minority, but indeed it has. My particular borough (the Plateau) has more families than most in Montreal, but it's still rare to have more than 1 child, and shocking when you have kids before 30, with your husband.
I love sharing about Montreal. It truly feels like a different world from where I was raised in Southern Ontario. It is bizzare and beautiful and unique because of common grace that God has sprinkled on this fallen world. But it is also a city crying out for ultimate grace found only in Jesus, whether it knows it or not.