Montréal is experiencing natural densification due to the scarcity of land because it is an island. The South Shore, North Shore and West Island sectors are experiencing an unprecedented real estate boom with a strengthening of the protection of agricultural land, creating a scarcity building land.
We are possibly the most “Scandinavian” city in America. The Scandinavian countries are popular with their way of rethinking Education, Architecture, Energy production, etc. Basically we are a giant Scandinavian country and Montreal is at the center of this reality. Depending on weather conditions, I believe that in winter we work more diligently, while in summer we are more relaxed. This mix of seasons gives different tones in the workplace and education. We have also developed a capitalist equilibrium and socialist principles that seem to be our strength. It is not perfect but we are at the top of the pack at this level, on the planet. Let’s not forget, it’s the economy that is the leading locomotive that pulls all social programs up.
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Montreal is the largest University city in Canada. Our universities have made good marks in the world rankings of the best universities. We think of the sprawling McGill University (which grows its campus year after year), University of Montreal, HEC Montréal, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Concordia University, University of Quebec at Montreal, École de technologie supérieure and the rest of the province that has no reason to envy the metropolis. The number of foreign students attending our universities is exploding all over the province and has a direct impact on real estate rental and sales. More and more students remain in the province at the end of their studies as well. We also have really good pubic, semi-private and private elementary et high schools all over the island and we see a real estate boom surrounding these schools.
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The small population distribution entails significant costs related to urban sprawl, roads, hospitals, services, etc. But Montreal will not avoid the universal urbanization curve. We will achieve densification more efficiently, like other large cities, in the coming years, which will result in savings and an increase in the quality of services. We can already see it with our two super hospitals, the new Champlain Bridge, the REM (Réseau Express Métropolitain) and so on.
Immigration will be an important lever in 2019, whether for the workforce, students or refugees, we have what it takes to welcome everyone. Do you know that we have one of the largest immigrant community graduate numbers in the world, and it will be a challenge to tie labor needs to this international expertise. We have a Francophile reality that is rather to our advantage despite what we might believe. We become natural communicating vessels for countries such as France, Belgium, and Switzerland but also for francophone Maghreb and Africa. Obviously, the Chinese fell in love with Montreal but also, recently, with the rest of the province. It is a mathematical reality of number. Just as we see more and more Indians, who are buyers in a process of migration or immobilization of capital. We also have an overrepresentation of the countries of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and our neighbours to the South. We must not forget the value of our dollar, which is becoming more than attractive to the wealthy people on the planet in addition to a stroke of the most reasonable life.
Social balance, schools, health, many foreign buyers and immigrants fleeing totalitarian regimes, communist or corrupt democracies. They find in us a social balance, affordable schooling and access to universal and free healthcare.
I am perhaps optimistic but I remain convinced that I am realistic and that we live in the best era of this world-class metropolis, that is Montreal.