The face of our city – like anyone’s, really – is never pristine the morning after an energetic party.

Cigarette butts, trash, leftover food: our streets, while vivacious when the sun is down, can mean a headache for sanitation workers come daytime.

And considering the landmark year for Montreal, the city is going to see its fair share of partying.

With some 11 million tourists expected to visit Montreal over the course of the summer, in the midst of ongoing celebrations for the city’s 375th anniversary, concerns have been raised about whether we’re ready to tackle the potential for mess.

However, the anniversary celebrations have not taxed the city’s coffers when it comes to street cleaning— the budget has held steady at about $60 million dollars.

“That will allow us to make Montreal as beautiful and clean as possible,” said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin.

Approximately one hundred sanitation workers patrol the city for cleanup every day, and Montreal says they are prepared and equipped to deal with the mess that will be left behind. 

This includes the installation of garbage cans – there are more now than ever, according to city officials – and about 200 “butt stop” ash trays.

Cigarette butts alone constitute 30 per cent of all the garbage collected on the street, and although the city recycles them, the bounty of butts draws the ire of cleanup crews almost daily.

Discarded cigarettes have become such a problem, they were targeted specifically in a new ad.



Sabourin does believe that the attendees of the city’s 140 summertime events and festivals do have to take some responsibility for their own waste, and avoid discarding their trash on the street.

Montrealers and tourists alike are divided over the city’s overall cleanliness.

A visiting couple from Ottawa referred to the city as “really nice and clean,” and “lovely.” Other Montrealers say that the city is adequate in its cleanliness, but not the best.

To some, the effort alone speaks volumes about Montreal’s commitment to being an orderly destination for tourists.

“If I go to India, I don’t expect to see clean streets,” one man told CTV. “But if I go to a western country, I expect the streets to be clean.”