The Classiest City in North America: Why I Frequently Visit this City on an Island

*Note: Synonyms of the word classy include elegant, smart, and stylish. Also, many pieces of evidence I use here are anectodatally based, and I henceforth acknowledge that my claims can either be false or subject to further argument.

I have little authority to categorize North American cities. I have not been to all of North America’s cities (doing so would require more than a lifetime for many) and I will never understand the obstacles and perserverance mechanisms that every one of them possesses. The sliver of authority that I like to think I have derives from my travels across the continent (with exception to Central America, which shreds most of my credibility here; Central America is home to America’s heart) and my residency in Los Angeles, the world’s most diverse city (you and I can argue about this later if need be). Within this microscopic knowledge bubble, I deem Montreal, Quebec, as the classiest city in North America. The classiness of Montreal, nonetheless, is not the primary motivation factor behind my visits to Quebec’s largest city.

Being classy is when you can harmoniously pull off skyscrapers, castle-like structures on a hill, and some smoke all at the same time.

A photo posted by Jodutt Basrawi (@joduttbasrawi) on


Montreal is classier than the rest of Canada’s cities, for it holds most of modern Canada’s history and houses Quebec’s biggest melting pot (Quebec, as the second-most populated Canadian province, has French as its sole official language. Montreal hosts prominent English-language institutions). Montreal is classier than any U.S. city I have been to, and surpasses Los Angeles in the same regard. Although Los Angeles has the edge in terms of its diversity, Montreal plays the language-card to a great extent. Almost every Montreal denizen I interact with is either bilingual or nearly fluent in English and French. Too many Angelenos don’t know enough Spanish (myself included) and everyday life does not cater to ubiquitous L.A. languages besides English. With Montreal’s pace over L.A. in this regard, Montreal automatically wins the classy status over all U.S. cities. In other words, L.A. is the classiest city in the United States (via its diversity, the Beverly Hills and Bel Air finesse, its enclaves, etc.). Montreal beats L.A. in this arena. The point should be easy to grasp from there.

Darker shade = more.  Lighter shade = less
Darker shade = more. Lighter shade = less

Additional classy features behind Montreal’s classy stature include its fantastic metro-train network (no driving = more things to do while on the move), its walkability (walking, I believe, is more rewarding than any other transportation mode in Montreal), its melting-pot ambiace, and its synchronization of old and new (refer to my instagram photo on skyscrapers, castle-like structures, and smoke synergy).

My affinity to North America’s classiest city is not only based on the city’s elegant status, but also the people it brings within desire and need. Important friends of mine live in Montreal and inspire some of my actions from afar. Many of my relatives call Montreal home and are raising a generation of montrealais folks. I also have family members who have decided to stay in Montreal following rather harsh conditions in Damascus associated with the Syrian Civil War. To me, it is nearly a no-brainer; Montreal is a destination in which people I care about happen to deem the city as either their home or second home.

There’s depth behind a place because of its people, and there is depth behind people because of their places. Montreal easily underscores this concept with a near-rambunctious tone. Thankfully, being classy does not mean being perfect, and thus other places bring about inherent values that cannot be found anywhere else. Montreal has many things right, and so do many other places.

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