While many morning commuters from Brossard drive north towards Montreal, Paul Groce starts his mornings driving south.
Instead of a bridge, Groce will be crossing a border into Vermont where he works as a lawyer in the state's public defender's office. But he doesn't mind the hour-long commute for the chance to build a life with his wife here in Canada.
"We just sort of looked at where the best place to foster a family and a good home life," he said.
"Both of us are never going to be rich, so where can a middle class couple … benefit the most? Where is there more social mobility and resources to build a family?"
Groce met his wife when a friend signed him up on an online dating site. She grew up on Montreal's South Shore and was living here when they started dating.
"At first I thought it made no sense — why would someone from Montreal pop up on my browser? My friend said I should at least say hi, so I did. The rest is history."
Here are excerpts from that interview, which has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What's the best part of living in the Montreal area?
I think our neighbourhood is excellent … our extended family, people refer to our part of Brossard as being a mini United Nations. When I look out my window, I see an abundance of different, diverse people living a pretty middle class lifestyle. People getting along — people of different faiths, religions, backgrounds, sexual orientations. And I don't think I've ever really seen that in America — not to say there aren't diverse places in America, but to see it so well integrated, and see everybody basically middle class, that's really been a great experience.
And Montreal, being so close to so many amazing things to do on a given weekend, or night concerts, museums, displays — you name it, you just look it up on the internet, and there's something to do that will enrich your life and you can learn from and be entertained as well.
What are your hopes as a Montrealer that 2018 will bring?
I hope what I find in Montreal in 2018 is just a place of a country that really is dedicated to being an example to the rest of the world.
I really do think that Canada, especially in 2017 going into 2018, people living in Canada, it's sort of a renaissance of sorts. I think people are really genuinely really proud to be Canadian and are happy with their place in the world as a country people look to to raise their families in and a place for a better life and a global partner with other countries … Canada has been on the forefront of leading the way and I think it's really great.
Personally, I'm hoping to be able to really settle down, buy a house, and start my grown-up life.