Montréal: City of diversity and inclusivity

published on January 20, 2021
Tourisme Montréal: News and People What's New in Montréal

A multilingual metropolis in North America and the second largest city in Canada, Montréal takes pride in its roots and cosmopolitan character. Montréal is open to the world and cherishes its diversity while fostering values of inclusion and respect. The city provides security and safety for its citizens and visitors while fostering a feeling of belonging. 

Montréal is part of several initiatives, such as the Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination and the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, under the aegis of UNESCO. The inclusion model extends to LGTBQ2+, Indigenous Peoples, religious beliefs, as well as ethnic and visible minorities.

A city acknowledging its history

Montréal’s municipal flag is an example of the diversity of its origins. To reflect a more nuanced representation of the city’s narrative, in 2017 the flag was updated. Along four symbols that represent the four main European settlers, a white pine tree was added, representing the continual presence of First Nations Indigenous peoples, specifically using a symbol that is central Haudenosaunee/Iroquois peoples. Learn more about the Montréal flag here.

As part of the movement towards reconciliation, Montréal, like many Canadian cities, is beginning to address the removal of Indigenous cultures and highlight their part in the past, present, and future of the city. Montréal is seeking to become a ‘cultural mediator,’ focusing upon widening and democratizing access to culture for all, regardless of socioeconomic status, origins, or geography.

A city of inclusiveness

While the majority of residents in Montréal are francophones (that is, speak French as their first language), nearly 33% of residents are born abroad and have relocated to Montréal. Many of those peoples come from other French-speaking parts of the world, such as Algeria or Haiti. But Montréal also is home to immigrants and refugees from every country in the world. Visitors will see the cultural mosaic of Montréal displayed across the city in public art, community-based initiatives, diverse festivals, and, of course, the city’s enviable food scene.

To make Montréal a model city for inclusiveness, the city established a three-year action plan to help newcomers integrate through its 2018-2021 Montreal Inclusive Action Plan and also carried out a consultation process with the LGBTQ2+ peoples in 2019, to better understand the unique challenges, issues, and needs facing these communities.


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A city of safety

Montréal is not simply inclusive, but also safe. According to the most recent data by Statistics Canada and the FBI, Greater Montréal ranks as the safest cities among 20 of the largest metropolitan areas in the USA and Canada. To strengthen its commitment to ensuring the safety of women and girls in Montréal’s public spaces, Montréal has participated in the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global FPI since 2019.


A city of events

For three years in a row, Montréal has topped the Union of International Association’s (UIA) annual list of top host cities for international conventions in the Americas. The leading edge keeps Montréal in first place amongst some major event host cities like New York, Buenos Aires, Toronto, and Washington. Read more about why event professionals choose Montréal.



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