A Primer on Montreal Estate Speak

If you’re from out of town, you may need a primer on “Montreal Real Estate Speak.”  Ask any Canadian – we do things a bit differently here in Montreal.  French has infiltrated English, and English has infiltrated French.  Most of us love it.

Here are a few common expressions and translations to help you along the way:

1. “There’s a dep right around the corner.”

Wasn’t that a brand of hair gel back in the 80s? We’re not referring to hair here: dep = dépanneur = convenience store

2. “You can walk to the metro.”

Good for commuters: metro = subway system. But it’s also the name of a grocery store, so better check whether you’re going to be travelling or cooking.

3. “Is there a saq nearby?”

Sack of what?  Actually, someone may be thirsty: SAQ = Société d’alcool du Québec = liquor store. By the way, you can also get wine and beer at the dep.

4. “I already have an agent.”

That’s just not possible. As of May 2010, a real estate agent is now called a broker, and those formerly called brokers are now agencies.  I believe we’re the only jurisdiction in North America that felt the need to confuse everybody in this way.

5. “The lights should all be open for you. Please close them when you’re done.”

No, we’re not messing around with the wiring here. We’ve adopted the literal translations for turning the lights on and off: ouvrir and fermer = open and close = turn on and turn off.

6. “The terrain is beautiful.”

They don’t mean it’s rugged or mountainous or with lovely valleys, even if it is: terrain = land or lot.

7. “The salon is nice and big.”

No, you cannot get your hair done here: salon = living room.

8. “Tabernac.”

Sh*t!  Somebody’s not happy.  Maybe you should find the nearest SAQ!

For more of this fun, check out The Gazette’s series on Frenglish