By  on April 17, 2008

Greater Montreal population: 3.7 million

Retail sales in 2007: $41.3 billion (up 4.2 percent from 2006).

Employment growth rate: 2.5 percent (2007). Montreal ranks first in job creation among the top five Northeastern metropolitan areas.

Famous Montrealers: William Shatner, Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion (who also owns a golf course north of the city), Leonard Cohen, late jazz great Oscar Peterson, Melissa Auf der Maur (formerly of rock band Smashing Pumpkins).

Largest area employers: Bell Canada, National Bank, Hydro Quebec, Bombardier Aerospace, Air Canada, McGill University.

Underground city: Twenty miles of tunnels and passageways linking seven major hotels, 2,000 restaurants, 1,700 boutiques, 37 cinemas and used by an average of 500,000 people daily.

Single-family house average price, January 2008: $218,000, up 10 percent from January 2007.

Total number of houses sold, 2007: 43,543, up 12 percent from 2006.

Average monthly rent for a one-room apartment: $800

Snowfall this year: 160 inches

Average snowfall: 88 inches

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