Even though it is known by the city's name, it didn't get its start there. This bagel didn't start anywhere close to Montreal in fact, it had to do a fair amount of travelling before landing at its forever home. The bagel dough that we know and love originated in Poland, where Jewish immigrants created the sweet dough and brought it with them to Canada. From there, the first bagel bakery in Montreal opened around 1919 and started a provincewide phenomenon. It is widely debated over who spun the first Montreal bagel, but reportedly (by a Jewish historian), Chaim Seligman was the first at the Montreal Bagel Bakery, close to where Schwartz's Delicatessen is.
So, what makes Montreal bagels so special? Everything.
The inclusion of egg and honey in the dough gives it the initial hint of sweetness. In addition, the bagels are boiled in sweet honey water, which provides them with a light glaze.
Secondly, this chewy bread is thinner and smaller than your average bagel, with a larger hole in the middle.