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Shopping in Montreal?

new York
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Shopping in Montreal?

I will be in Montreal for 30 hours for my friend's wedding. I am going solo (leaving my hubby and 3 kids at home in NY) and would like to have some quiet shopping time while I'm there. What are the good areas? What's the sales tax? Is FX rate good for shopping there? Thank you for your advice!!

West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

"What's the sales tax?"

Hi kmchan;

There are two taxes added to most purchases, the federal Goods & Services Tax (GST) and the Provincial Sales Tax (PST)

The GST rate is 5% and the PST rate is 7.5 %

Best Regards

Montreal, Canada
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2. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

I am an obsessive shopper. To make my addiction useful to others, i have made a list of shopping spots:

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i22489-Shopping…

As RT said, calculate a tax of about 13% on the original price. The same tax applies to restaurants but not to essential untransformed foods (ie. an apple).

I don't really know what FX rate means. Sorry it's probably something obvious but i don't know it.

Montreal, Canada
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3. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

@Sylve684 to be nit picky... it applies to apple or banana but not apples or bananas. Buying one of a ready-to-eat fruit is legally supposed to be taxed as a "snack food" while buying plural isn't. Just like bath salt is taxed but cooking salt isn't, 5 muffins versus 6 or salted peanuts over unsalted peanuts.

Quebec's sales tax until the 31st of December is a cumulative 12.875% for all goods except books (5%), insurance (9%) or accommodations (16.825625% in Montreal). There is no longer a refund program for sales taxes.

(January first it goes from 12.875% to 13.925%. It's going to be a BIG Boxing Day this year!)

Ottawa, Canada
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4. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

Hi Kmchan,

Welcome to the MONTREAL TRAVEL FORUM.

As I see you are also NEW to TripAdvisor’s FORUMS… a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

FX = Foreign Exchange

For the past year, the Canadian Dollar and the US Dollar haven’t been very far apart… and they have gone back and forth being worth a few cents more than one another.

As of today FAIR EXCHANGE as posted by the Bank of Canada is $ 1.00 US will get you $ 1.03 CDN

However, I am not sure if you are totally aware of how Exchange Rates work… so I’ll give you a bit of info.

That is the FAIR EXCHANGE – POSTED BANK RATE… no matter how you choose to actually exchange your money, you’ll also incur some “Foreign Exchange Fees”… these are the Service Charges that are applied for the act of changing money.

These days Travellers to Canada are telling us that the Foreign Exchange Fee is running anywhere from 0% to aprox 5% (with 2 or 3% being about the norm… so by the time your done $ 1 US = $ 1 CDN). The lower rates seem to be had if using a Capital One Credit Card, and the higher rates if one uses a Foreign Exchange Kiosk or Travellers Cheques (although I have heard that Travellers Cheques can go as high as 10% for Foreign Exchange Fees).

The easiest, and cheapest ways to access Canadian Currency is via plastic… either a Credit Card or whatever you put into an ATM Machine. For both of these, the Foreign Exchange Fees go on behind the scenes, and you see the results on your Statements when you get back home. Because Visa is a major player in both of these situations… and one of the biggest purchasers of Foreign Currency in the world… the rates on plastic tend to be much lower than going to a Bank (teller), or any other way of getting Canadian Currency.

With an ATM, you put in your card, and ask for however much Canadian Currency you want… and out it comes… back home on the Statement you’ll see what the Exchange Rate was, the Foreign Exchange Fees, and the any Transaction Charges. Transaction Charges are the “convenience fee” for using an ATM… they are usually a flat-rate (so say $ 2 per transaction)… so no matter whether you withdraw $ 20 or $ 200 the Transaction Fee stays the same… which is why it is better to make a large withdrawal vs a series of little ones.

Also only use ATMs at Banks… there is one on almost every corner in Canada… the ATMs you see in Convenience Stores, Hotel Lobbys, Restaurants, Casinos etc have super high Transaction Fees… $ 3, $ 5 or even $ 10 per withdrawal is not uncommon.

Transaction Fees will be lowest for Banks with which your home Financial Institution is affiliated (those logos on the back of your ATM Card)… best to check BEFORE you travel. And while you are at it, let all your providers of plastic know you’ll be out of the country… so that your cards will keep working, and not be “flagged” for unusual activity. It sucks to be in line to pay, only to be told by the clerk that your card doesn’t work, and you need to call the company.

Back to FAIR EXCHANGE… you’ll find Merchants in Canada, will accept US Currency at a rate that they post, the signage usually says “US DOLLARS… Today’s Exchange Rate is ____ “

This is the rate for which the Merchant will accept your Dollars… NOT THE FAIR EXCHANGE RATE… Because Canadian Currency is the ONLY Legal Tender in Canada… there is no law etc that says a Merchant must take your US Dollars, or offer you FAIR EXCHANGE. They can pick whatever rate they choose… Taking US Dollars is a “convenience” to you… and a hassle for the Merchant (what is he going to do with US Dollars? He has to somehow convert them into Canadian Currency… and that usually means a trip to his Bank etc)…. SO taking them for your “convenience” translates into you getting less than the FAIR EXCHANGE. Typically a Merchant will charge anywhere from a 5% to 25% premium for this “convenience”…. which is why we tell Travellers… avoid the whole mess and just use plastic… and the whole ATM thing is really easy too… we have Banks almost on every corner in Canada.

To not exchange US Currency means you could find yourself in the situation we had earlier this summer where a Traveller took a cab that cost $ 20 CDN… the Traveller said he only had Credit or US Currency… Taxi Driver said he didn’t take credit, and if US Cash then the price was $ 25 US. (At the time, the US Dollar was worth more than Canadian)… so in the end the Traveller lost 25% on that one Transaction just for using US Cash.

For more info on Canadian Currency issues… see the CANADA – TRAVELLER ARTICLE entitled *Banks & Money* = tripadvisor.ca/Travel-g153339-s601/Canada:Ba…

SHOPPING (Every Gal’s favourite topic !!)

When it comes to shopping in Montreal… you probably won’t find too many deals vs in the USA (larger country, smaller population base… keeps our prices higher) BUT you’ll certainly find things in Montreal that you won’t see elsewhere. The European influence is definitely apparent.

Also Montreal is a real fashionable town… so you’ll see trends here that you won’t see at home… and the Quebecois are definitely the BEST DRESSED of all Canadians.

I’ve seen SYLVE684’s TRAVELLERS LIST *Shopping Spots in Montreal* and I couldn’t agree more… my personal faves when I am in town are… St Catherine Street – Simons – Olgilvy’s – and Plaza St Hubert and Holt’s (Bigger store than the one we have in Ottawa). As a US Resident you’ll probably also want to check out The Bay (La Baie) which is one of the oldest Retailers in the world… and North America’s oldest company (originally known as The Hudson’s Bay Company). The Bay can be a good source of finding some uniquely Canadian merchandise (Bay Point Blankets etc).

Also be on the lookout for the other BIG Canadian Retailer, Roots Canada… again another great spot to find uniquely Canadian items… and some nice leather goods.

Both The Bay & Roots have in recent years been the suppliers for Canada’s Olympic Teams (remember those cool poor-boy hats from the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics?). You’ll usually find interesting clothing items at both Retailers.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS... RE - Sales Taxes... there are 2 entries on most bills... Federal Sales Tax which is a Goods & Services Tax (GST = 5%) and then Quebec Sales Tax (QST = 7.5%)... BUT the QST compounds on top of the GST... so the overall effect is actually 12.875% as stated by TRAVELADVICECA. And as noted there is also a 3% Hotel Tax in Montreal... so on your Hotel the overall effect becomes 16.825625%

Fort lauderdale
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5. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

Heres a tip, shop at home and then go to the wedding. There is nothing you are missing out on since you live in New York.

Montreal, Canada
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6. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

I disagree. I go on NYC shopping trips regularly, but Montreal fashion is amazing. I'd say that it is topped only by asian countrys (Shibuya, Hong Kong... *drool*). Places like Simons will offer unique clothing nobody else will have in your home town.

And, unless you shop at Forever 21 or the NY orNH outlets, Montreal fashion is cheaper.

Old Montreal
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7. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

While you *may* find things in Montreal that you won't find in NYC clothing wise, I fully agree with Audrey Bella. New York is arguably the shopping mecca of the world, it offers the most diversified shopping experience in the world. You may find that Paris offers more Louix XIII antiques (and I'm not even sure about that) or that Tokyo has more interesting gadgets, but overall, New York offers the most diversified shopping experience.

While Montreal is fun and offers decent shopping for a city its size, it is no match to New York.

new York
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8. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

Thank you so much for all your info. It's ironic, but I have no time to go shopping in NYC because I'm always with 3 little sons......

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

hey,

If u r like me I love to buy and wear clothes that u can't find at home. Go to the Bay, my mom went last yr and went to customerservice desk since she was a non Canadian she got a pass for 20% of her purchases there. Plus winter stuff is great esp the boots. They r very stylish and well made, also there r stores u can't find here like Mexx and Jacob(ok there is one in Boston). Enjoy the shopping, I know I plan to in 2 weeks!!!

Oh plus there is a great kids shop called Souris Mini, not cheap but great clothes for winter for those cold chilly days. If u enjoy dollar stores, check out Dollarama - luv it...

MA
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10. Re: Shopping in Montreal?

St. Catherine is a great shopping street for the big stores. If the weather is bad you can take the underground passages from one store to another. If the weather is nice, I also like wandering up St. Denis which has lots of smaller boutiques and shops (above Sherbrooke). One of my favorite shoe shops is Browns on St. Catherine. I also like Zara on St. Catherine since they have women's upstairs and kids' downstairs. I agree with the other poster re: Souris Mini, really cute kids' clothes. It is in the mall on the corner of Rene Levesque. Another good kids' shop on St. Catherine is Orchestra, but I can't remember which of the malls it is in. Agree with Sylvie, Montreal is a GREAT fashion city!