Yes, every city has its problems, but what I noticed here was that residents and police alike didn't waste their time and energy trying to "clean up" the city. That said, it was cleaner by far than New York, where people regularly throw trash on the ground as they walk, completely oblivious to the city around them. Montréal has pan handlers, street kids and punks, sex clubs, cinemas and sex shops - and the city goes about its business. I didn't see police with lights flashing everywhere or cops harassing the street dwellers as you do here every day in NYC.
Sex shops and street culture and open parks and walking streets and seating designed for humans give a city life. Montréal seems to have learned that policing public space doesn't make it safer - instead they've opened it up so it's always filled with people. That's smart.
Here are some bicycle culture photos:
Here's a 'meter' bicycle rack in use.
Bicycle and car parking sharing space.
You can take your bicycle on the subway - but only in the first car.
I kept remarking that Montréal was like Portland, OR + Paris, France - kind of smashed together... And here's another example, these could easily be Portland bicycle police. But in fact they're Cadet with the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal.
Overall, I was VERY impressed with the way that Montréal has designed many streets to be pedestrian and bicycle friendly. I especially like the way planters are used to slow down traffic and create a very 'public living room' feel on these side streets.
At the FrancoFolies music festival, I found this ultimate irony - Ford was the sponsor for the valet bicycle parking.
And right across from where we stayed - this local bike shop.
And they had a makeshift sign for the Anglophiles as well.