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Montrealers can smile knowing their city is considered one of the world's top 10 happiest places.

Canada's second-biggest city has made the list compiled by the popular travel guide Lonely Planet.

Montreal is the second place named on the list, just under the South Pacific island paradise of Vanuatu.

While considerably colder than that far-flung tropical locale, Montreal apparently has a few other things going for it.

Lonely Planet says the city has several attributes - especially in the summer, when it hosts one of the world's biggest comedy festivals.

"Clean, welcoming and refreshingly multicultural, Montreal is happy enough year-round," it says.

"Come July, though, it's downright hilarious. Just For Laughs takes over the city in summer, packing venues with the best in both Anglo and Francophone comedy."

Montreal was the only Canadian place named on the list, which includes spots in China, Japan, Colombia, and Africa.

Bhutan is described as a "jovial," "Himalayan Shangri-La."

Colombia is becoming increasingly safe, contrary to its reputation and violent history, says the guide; a visit to its Caribbean coast, coffee plantations and carnival parties is described as "infectious and uplifting."

Wuyi Shan, China, is "a realm of secret valleys splashed with waterfalls and pocked with mysterious caves."

Malawi is described as "the warm heart of Africa," where visitors are greeted with "effusive grins."

But it's tough to beat Vanuatu.

"Many a human's idea of blissful living involves swinging in a palm-strung hammock while the ocean swooshes gently onto a white-sand beach nearby," Lonely Planet says.

"The water's ridiculously blue and teeming with life; the interior's lush and volcanically rumbling, great for exploring amid the breadfruit trees.

"But it's the sense of community that makes this a truly happy place."

This cheerful list comes after Montreal found itself frowning over some of the headlines it generated in recent months.

There was some hockey-related vandalism during the spring; last fall, Maclean's magazine ran a cover story about the city's mayoral election with the headline, "Montreal is a corrupt, crumbling, mob-ridden disgrace."

While the happiness list was originally published in May, it was picked up today by the popular U.S. website the Huffington Post, where it is generating some discussion and debate.

The page featuring Montreal includes a picture of two young men - their faces painted red, white and blue - wearing Montreal Canadiens jerseys.

There was some debate on a number of the locations included and on many excluded from the list.

As for Montreal, one person on the Lonely Planet website wrote: "Really glad to see a Canadian city included since I am originally from there."

And someone else offered a more philosophical measure of bliss.

"Happiness is anywhere you happen to be - with good health, good company, and a fat wallet in your pocket."

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