My North American culture shock: Montreal

Last week I wrote about my experience in Houston, Texas earlier this month. I was on location taping my annual Christmas radio broadcasts and showcasing the area in partnership with the local tourism board. From there I flew to Montreal where I did the same thing but highlighted area activities to promote the city.

Houston gave me eye-opening moments because of the American politics and gun laws that allow people to sit all around me at a restaurant with guns. In Montreal it was more the snotty attitudes of locals that was a shocker.

I had been to Montreal before. It was a few years ago when we taped spring break programming. Oftentimes I don’t get a chance to interact with locals because I have a tourism rep attached to my hip the whole time and we go from place to place. This time that wasn’t the case.

Rather than have a team in tow I was flying solo. I was still in Canada but I felt like I was in a foreign land.

The ignorance of people was astonishing. I would ask for help and get brushed off because I wasn’t speaking French. I wouldn’t tell this story if it randomly happened once or twice, so for it to have left an impact means it happened throughout the trip no matter where I went.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some nice people who assisted when they could. But the majority of people treated me like an outsider who wasn’t welcome.

While having lunch with a tourism rep she informed me that Montrealers don’t celebrate Canada Day. There it is called Moving Day when everyone’s leases are up and they move out of their places. As for Canadian flag waving on July 1, she said it doesn’t happen.

For a brief moment – and for the duration of the trip – I felt like I had gone back in time. I didn’t think that in 2016 there would be an entire city full of anti-Canadians, especially when compared to what we witness with our neighbours to the south. I thought their dysfunction actually united us as a country.

Though it is ironic that the separatist point of view is still alive and well but those people had no problem using our currency and everything else that has become the foundation of a great country. They didn’t seem to be all in on their feelings when they proudly use Canadian things.

Highlights from the Montreal visit are online at

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