Even though summer is already half way done, I’m still on a mission to grab a beer with all my Ontario friends by cajoling you all to come to Montréal. Of course this mission is a bit self-serving (I like beer, I like wine..) but I believe you would enjoy yourself once you get here. I know my food baby loves Montréal (I’m definitely on my second trimester).
Here’s an easy and quick guide on how to get to the land of the French using public transportation.
Do yourself a favor and take Porter Airlines. If you are diligent and check their sales (which they have often) you can get flights as low as $100 with taxes. Their lounge and service is by far the best economy flight experience I’ve ever been on and the Toronto City Airport (aka the “Billy Bishop” Airport; any WW1 nerds like me?) is near the Union Subway Station. They also have a an awesome shuttle that picks you up near the station and takes you on a five-minute journey so you don’t have to walk or take a small cab fare.
Forget Air Canada or West Jet if you are flying in from Toronto to Montreal, Porter Airlines is what the homies and homettes take. If you are taking PorterAirlines during the day or evening, don’t forget to ask for your free beer beverage. If you are nice, they’ll even give you two. Sometimes if they forget they gave you two, you can even ask for three!
Once you arrive at the airport, there is a convenient 24 hour airport to downtown shuttle service, aptly named the 747. Forget the taxis too, you won’t actually save any time and the bus is 80% cheaper. http://www.stm.info/english/info/a-747.htm.
Featuring nine stops in each direction, the 747 service is provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year between Montréal’s central bus terminal (Berri-UQAM metro station) and Montréal-Trudeau airport.
ViaRail is actually fast becoming one of my favourite ways to travel back and forth from Toronto->MTL. Yes some haters would say that the train is dead but for a smooth ride with acceptable wireless internet service and for about 75% the price of a plane, the train is pretty darn sweet. Economy class and assigned seating will run you about $70 total one way and believe it or not, the total time it takes to get from point A to point B is not that much longer than a plane than the train (if you include the plane wait times).
Another reason why I like taking ViaRail – I can actually get my shit done on the train! If you are always on the go, having five or so hours just to yourself does wonders for your productivity. I can usually get through all my emails, play a season or two of Football Manager, and edit some photos while enjoying the nice low hum of a large metal object going over some rails.
The train station is conveniently located in downtown Montreal (895 de la Gauchetiere West).
One word – Megabus. Technically it’s two words squashed into one word but if you are low on funds but high on adventure, Megabus has some pretty crazy deals from $10 one way. The average price I would say is $20-27 but I’ve gotten quite a few trips for $10 the past year. I only ever go on Megabus when I need to red-eye a trip (midnight bus ride, arrive 6am) but it’s definitely a very popular choice for many travellers.
Forget about Greyhound if you are trying to get from Montréal from Toronto. They have about three thousand stops and takes about nine hours as opposed to the six hours on Megabus.
Bonus tip! Megabus no longer stops in Kingston for a food break. So pack accordingly or the six hours is going to feel like six days.
Bonus tip number 2! Get to the line up about 45 minutes prior to departure and you’ll probably end up getting the coveted “front of the bus, on the second floor” seat. It’s worth getting there early to be on the second floor of the bus because it’s significantly less bumpy.
Watch out for drunk people getting on the red-eye bus though. More than likely, they won’t make it. You’ve been warned.