What’s cheaper in Montreal is pedicure. Not for any nefarious reasons but because it’s a lot faster. A pedicure where I live takes an hour 15 minutes. And here, it’s an hour for both manicure and pedicure. The whole thing feels a little industrial because the manicurist moves with a military precision. She ends up making more per hour but the procedure is cheaper for me.
Everything else, though – food, books, the kids’ gym, toiletries, children’s shoes, and most of all gas – is ruinously expensive. And it’s not like the people we are visiting live in the equivalent of Manhattan. They live in a green, quiet suburb like we do.