Individuals as diverse as G8 leaders, undergraduate students and community-based service providers increasingly recognize that the world needs to better understand global health challenges and their solutions. Yet what global health means continues to be defined as many people seek to understand how we may effectively collaborate across cultures, disciplines, languages and sometimes wide-ranging differences in resources and training to solve shared challenges to ensuring equitable health for all. The obstacles are substantial, but the opportunities are greater.
Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec and the second-largest city in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or “City of Mary”, the city takes its present name from Mont-Royal, the triple-peaked hill located in the heart of the city, whose name was also initially given to the island on which the city is located. The city of Montreal proper has a metropolitan population of 3,635,571.
French is the city’s official language and is also the language spoken at home by 59.8% of the population, followed by English at 19.4% (as of 2006 census). More than half of the population reports being able to speak both English and French. Montreal is the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world, after Paris. Montreal is consistently rated as one of the world’s most livable cities, was called “Canada’s Cultural Capital” by Monocle Magazine and recently was named a UNESCO City of Design.
Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, 22 km west of downtown, now serves all domestic, U.S. and international passenger flights.
A taxi ride from the downtown area to Trudeau Airport costs a flat rate of $38.00. A public airport shuttle, the 747, runs 24/7 from several anchor points in the downtown area out to the airport. It is equipped with luggage racks and accepts regular STM tickets and passes although cash fare (coins only) is $8.
Most goods and services in Quebec are subject to two taxes, a federal Goods and Services Tax of 5% (usually listed as TPS on receipts – Taxe sur les produits et services) and a provincial sales tax of 8.5% (TVQ on receipts – Taxe de vente du Québec). A tax of 3% per night of hotel stay is also charged. Books are not provincially taxed, and most groceries are not taxed at all unless something counts as ready-to-eat. Almost everything else is taxable.
A tip of 15% is customarily left for waiters and waitresses at the table, calculated on the pre-tax total of your bill. It will not be calculated for you – the additional charges on a restaurant bill are taxes, not service charges, and are not voluntary. You are free to leave more than a 15% tip if circumstances warrant. In bars, the tip tends to be offered as you pay for each drink or round. Taxi drivers also normally get a tip of 10 to 15% as do those who render personal services such as haircuts. Many counter service establishments have a tip jar: whether you drop in a bit of change is entirely up to you.