This is probably the most important question for the majority of the incoming Biotech grad students. Simply put, you have two options: living downtown or living at/around Mac campus. There are advantages and disadvantages to both as outlined below.
St-Anne-de-Bellvue (Mac Campus)
In our humble opinions, living near the Downtown core is an opportunity you shouldn't miss out on. Montréal is a very reasonably priced Canadian city and provides endless amounts to do. However, the prices are definitely higher than Mac Campus. You will also need to commute to Mac for some of your required courses. McGill offers a shuttle service for free between both campuses, but this may be a downside for anyone not willing to wait for a bus outside. Having said that, Mac Campus dwellers will also need to commute Downtown for a number of classes (especially complementary courses). Public transit can also take you directly to and from the campus, so you are free to live a bit further away from McGill.
St-Anne-de-Bellevue is an absolutely beautiful area right on the water. You'll also have access to fresh vegetables and fruits from the Mac Market (definitely a plus), but this sort of life isn't for everyone. We don't suggest living on Mac Campus if you enjoy a city lifestyle.
In past years, the majority of students have either immediately lived downtown or moved downtown in the Spring term (depending on their research lab location). It is very easy to find reasonable accommodation in the city, especially if you consider roommates!
All in all, it is useful to get in contact with as many incoming students as possible and see where they plan to live. There are great apartment searching tools for the city of Montréal. They can be accessed here. We also suggest that you use a combination of Kijiji, Craigslist, PadMapper, and other montreal-based rental consolidation platforms. Using a real estate broker is also a safe way to ensure legitimacy and quality.
Again, if you have any specific questions that you want to ask current/previous Biotech students regarding living, do not hesitate to contact us!