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Brief trip report

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Haverhill...
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Brief trip report

I just returned from our trip.....and as usual, had a great time. I love Montreal....love its vibe, the people, its free spirit. We stayed at the Residents Inn on Peel St....I would stay here again. An excellent location for the jazz fest, and just for visiting. The art museum was right around the corner, the Place D'Arts a ten minute walk, nice stores and restaurants close by.....I highly recommend this place.

I did venture into the art museum....free admission, but the Chihuly exhbit was $20...my wife went to that...he doesn't interest me. It is nice that the permanant collection was free to see, although I was not very impressed. I banged thru the place in an hour. I'm surprised that a city of the stature of Montreal, and its love for the arts doesn't have a more substantial collection. I've seen better in much smaller cities.....no offense, just my opinion.

We went up St Denis, and St Laurent, down to the Old City....ate at Schwartz's, a BBQ place on St Denis, and a dumpling place in Chinatown....all meals were excellent. There was a line at Schwartz's, but it moved quickly.

We were there for the jazz fest....so music was on the main menu, and there was plenty of it. I must admit.....I haven't been to the fest since '99, and I was a bit underwhelmed. My recollections were that they used to get more "big name" acts on the free stages. The only two I saw on the schedule were Fiest, and Larry McCray. Although we saw some good music, the star power was lacking on the free stages.

Another beef.....the tax on everything. A $5.44 beer at the festival turns into $6.50....it just seems as though everything seemed so much more expensive with the taxes. To put things in perspective....the tax on food in Massachusetts is 5%....there is no tax on clothes, and no tax on non-prepared food at the grocery store, and a 6.25% sales tax on everything else.

I would think this is a deterrent towards tourist shopping. The only thing we purchased besides food and beverage; my wife and daughter bought a couple of necklaces off a street vender. There is no incentive to purchase anything else....everything I can buy cheaper in the states.

Besides that...everything else was just excellent.....we had a great time, and will return.

SE Ontario
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1. Re: Brief trip report

Don't like taxes, don't come to Canada. And be aware that most large cities in the US charge additional taxes on accommodation and DMF's.

How much does your healthcare cost?

Edited: 12:44 pm, July 07, 2013
Haverhill...
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2. Re: Brief trip report

"How much does your healthcare cost?"

Probably about as much as it costs for you to put a new car on the road.

Montreal, Canada
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for Quebec, Montreal, Quebec City, Mont Tremblant, Miami, Miami Beach
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3. Re: Brief trip report

Well taxes are a reality in Canada and can vary a bit from province to province (Alberta has little due to the petroleum) Québec being one of the top tax charger. Plus the special city taxes and hotel taxes that can add a lot.

If you travel to Europe you will find that in most countries the taxes are included in the price charged so they are there but invisible. Here everything is taxed separately and shown as separate on your bills. Only non taxable items are food for consumption at home and prescription médecines, even those sold above the counter if prescribed by a doctor.

You will notice that some places don't charge taxes separately as they should do as they get a waiver from the general rule to make things simpler. For example taxis, hairdressers, lottery tickets, bars, etc.

So I am surprised that the tax was separate from the price for a beer at the Jazz Fest but I would be pretty sure that if it was a straight $ 6.50 you would have thought that it is expensive but hey it's a Jazz Fest with free concerts!

As for buying things you don't have to dig so far to find things different from the USA, just have a look at previous posts here. For example the trendy items with European flair at Simon's will never be seen in stores across the border. And they are very fairly well priced with tons of discounts all the time.

Anyways, just to give you a personnal experience relating to the mention of Medicare I am currently treated for prostate and recieve an injection every 4 months that cost $1,300 and some change. For humanitarian reason the government pays all of it, even for those with a private insurance. So this money must come from somewhere...

Anyways I see that all in all you enjoyed your stay and has been here at other times in the past, some of those might have been before 2005 when one USD $ was worth $1.50 Cnd. Not the case anymore as we are more or less on par. Yes this is a much bigger déterrent for tourists than the taxes but what can we do about it if Canada has sustained the whole recession and aftermaths better than the US and most European countries!

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Brief trip report

Our taxes here are higher, that's a reality, but a reality that I am happy with and I think most Canadians are happy with.....I'd rather have health care, better roads and not nearly as a two tier society as you see in the US, IMO...

Montreal
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5. Re: Brief trip report

I just came back from Europe... and I can tell you that even with taxes...everything in Montréal is cheaper by far! Of course, when you compare it with the US, shopping is much better in the US!.....but then again, I will never loose my house if I'm sick.

Haverhill...
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6. Re: Brief trip report

Just a few comments...

The beer at the fest was displayed at $5.44... + tax came to $6.50.

I didn't feel the roads were any better than what I'm used to travelling around in the states.

Gas is the equivalent to more than a dollar US per gallon.

I saw many panhandlers/ homeless....so as far as your two tier system you refered to....looked pretty much in line.

Granted, I wasn't boasting about our economy, or being taxed less, not getting raped at the gas pump....I was simply making a comment on how with the taxes on food, drink and merchadise, everything appeared to be expensive. Obviously, it appears taxes are a sore subject judging by "phpr's" remark.

Edited: 2:51 pm, July 07, 2013
SE Ontario
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7. Re: Brief trip report

We can live with the taxes, and the higher costs of some things, because we know (for the most part) the rationale behind having them... as you can tell from the comments above. The sore subject is listening to people, usually but not always, from the USA complaining about them. In the US, as in Canada, there are different rates of taxes in most jurisdictions, and many are applied to services that tourists (not locals) need, as well as items that both need. My point is that often people will complain about taxes they encounter in one place, not knowing that similar taxes or fees occur in their very own hometowns... the most obvious being hotel rooms.

Travel is never as inexpensive as one thinks it will be. But fortunately you had a good time ... !

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Brief trip report

Yeah....the panhandlers in Montreal are present for sure, but you do not see the hollowing out of city centres, urban prairies they have been called, like in Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, just to name a few.....my comment was not to say that there was not two tiers in Canada, just not nearly as pronounced as it is in the US and anyone that has done any sort of travelling in both countries would have a hard time ignoring that fact....

Haverhill...
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9. Re: Brief trip report

I do love Canada, and Montreal. I have been to Ottawa twice, Toronto twice, and about a dozen times up to Montreal....and I will continue to come up...the biggest difference between the last time there and now...while I'm sure the taxes were as high as they were in'99: US tourist got to recoupe some of them, and the exchange rate was favorable to USD. These were incentives to travelling to Canada, just as it is now for Canadian residents travelling to the USA now with a favorable exchange rate, which I'm sure makes travel into the States much more affordable.

Massachusetts
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10. Re: Brief trip report

Meal taxes in Massachusetts are between 6.25% and 7% depending on what part of the state you're in. We also have to pay tolls to use certain roadways/bridges. We also have excise taxes which is basically an annual tax you must pay based on the valuation of your vehicle. Rent and property costs are also very expensive here. Our healthcare is an absolute joke. Since we're required by law to have health insurance and I am self employed I must purchase health insurance through the state at a cost of almost $400 per month. You would think at that price I'd have fairly decent coverage but that's not the case. Recently required surgery from an accident and got a bill for $19,000 from the hospital because my health insurance only paid 50% of it.

Bottom line is that some things may seem cheaper here but when you factor in other costs its probably pretty even whether you are here or in Canada. We go to Montreal quite frequently and the costs don't really bother me. You'll pay more for certain things there and more for certain things here but it probably is pretty even when all is said and done.