The Race

Sport is everywhere at the moment what with Euro 2016 just about to start, Ascot races next week, the final test series against Sri Lanka at Lord’s coming up (can England make it a whitewash?) and Wimbledon tennis at the end of the month.

This weekend also sees the F1 Grand Prix in Montreal, Canada. Taking place 10th-12th June, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will put the drivers through their paces around its “long, fast straights, tight hairpins and tricky chicanes”.

The most recent F1 event in Monaco saw Lewis Hamilton of team Mercedes win his first race of the year in very wet conditions, having started the race in 3rd position. Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who started in pole position, managed 2nd place for Red Bull and in at 3rd came Sergio Perez for Force India.

Team Renault are certainly hungry for a good result in Canada after accruing a mere 6 points so far this year and crashing out of the race at Monaco, whilst Ricciardo had his first F1 win in Canada and is eager to get back on the track, saying the circuit is “easily one of my top five races”, so once again we are in for an exciting race!

A Winning Formula

Formula 1 is renowned as one of the most lucrative sports in the world, generating more than £1.1 billion per year in revenues. The parent company of F1 is Delta Topco based in Jersey and the majority of their income stems from hosting and broadcasting races - not forgetting profits made from trackside advertising and concession stands. Ticket sales also play a large part in the sums as adult general admission on the Sunday at Montreal starts at 85.93 euros but you can pay up to 446.15 euros to get into Grandstand 1 on the main straight. Corporate hospitality organisation the Paddock Club accounted for 5% of total revenue back in 2013. A Paddock Club package for the 3 days in Montreal this weekend will set you back a cool 4,958.24 euros for which you will experience an exceptional view from the Pit Building Terrace which is right across from the start/finish line and just above the pits. There are also allotted times for a pit lane walkabout, and you will be furnished with food, entertainment, champagne and ear plugs! 

As at 30th May 2016 the exchange rates were: 1 British pound sterling = 1.90673 Canadian dollar or 1 euro = 1.45369 Canadian dollar (which is also known as “The Loonie”, the bird that graces the Canadian coin).  

Not everybody belongs to the Paddock Club elite, so to establish what this exchange rate means to the man and woman on the street we will compare the price of a McDonald’s. A Big Mac at McDonald’s in Earls Court, London costs £2.89. In Canada the same Big Mac will set you back CA$5.19. Working on the exchange rate set out above you will clearly be a winner in Canada saving 6% on your savoury treat - this is fairly consistent with reported figures that actually show an 8% saving on food across the board in Montreal compared with London.

More encouragingly, potential expats will be very interested to know the cost of living has just been reported as 46% cheaper in Montreal than in London by Expatistan.com, so you can exchange your sterling currency for loonies and they will stretch much further.

Quick Highlights

Montreal is situated in the province of Quebec, and French is the city’s official language which makes them the second largest primarily French-speaking city in the world after Paris. 56% of the population can speak both French and English.

Originally called Ville Marie (City of Mary), Montreal is now named after Mount Royal – the triple peaked hill in the heart of the city. Historically it was the economic capital of Canada but that status was transferred to Toronto in the 1970s. Montreal is still, however, home to the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The temperamental weather is generally humid in the summer with temperatures up to 27°C but winter is freezing with temperatures averaging -10°C.

Almost everybody has access to high quality healthcare in Canada and this is one of the reasons it is attractive to expats. Expats in Montreal ideally need to be fluent in French in order to gain employment. The infrastructure in Montreal is also French so it can prove difficult to find your way around without at least a basic working knowledge. Once expats have moved to Montreal they tend to take a bit of time getting used to the spirited nationality and politics, but once they are settled in they can enjoy a fruitful life in this cool, vibrant city.

Many celebrities are proud to hail from here including Celine Dion and her late husband, Leonard Cohen, Greg Rusedski, the inventors of the game Trivial Pursuit and Captain James T. Kirk himself William Shatner.

The national sports are ice hockey (just hockey to the Canadians), in which the ‘Habs’ currently stand at 13th place out of 16 in the Eastern Conference, and lacrosse, in which Montreal no longer competes at a national level, but the earlier Montreal Lacrosse Club are famed for establishing the first set of written rules of the game.

In addition to the Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal also hosts the annual International Jazz Festival and Just for Laughs.

Jazz Fest, which holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest jazz festival, takes place at the end of June and attracts 2.5 million visitors with roughly 3,000 artists. Performances take place in an array of locations from small jazz clubs to the large concert halls of Place des Arts and there are also free outdoor concerts across the city.

Comedy festival Just for Laughs occurs in July with a pure and simple mission to “Make People Happy”!