Montreal Tourism Info
Montreal is often referred to as The North American City with a European Feeling. Our citizens are ethnically diverse, friendly in nature, for the most part hospitable and open to others. Some characterize Montrealers as cool & laid back, with a genuine interest in new ideas and alternative ways. The City has a creative character unique unto itself. This vibrant ethos of French, Anglo and Allophone (other) cultures living together makes Montreal open and accessible for everyone.
The SeasonsMontreal operates all year round, regardless of the season. During the first months of the calendar year, the temperature ranges between 10ºC (14ºF) and 30ºC (-22ºF). Thats not counting the windchill! At this time of year, many local storefront windows frost up entirely, creating large crystaline motifs. We have to bundle up in layers of clothing and good boots, but the season has its pleasures. On very cold days during sunset, a visual phenomenon occurs on some large windowpanes similiar to the light of a flame. The quality of this light strikes me as somewhat special and unusual, albeit the low mercury level! During this season some guests enjoy the cross-country skiing on the Mountain, and ice-skating at the Port in Old Montreal or just down the street on Lafontaine Parks large pond. Those who care to exit the island have wonderful skiing in the Laurentians, some less than an hour away. What makes Montreal tourism a going concern is the approach Montrealers have toward the climate and the seasons. We tackle winter with gusto! We've learned how to deal with whatever Mother Nature happens to send our way. Braving the elements does require some organization and effort. Freezing rain, drizzle, strong gusts, quick thaws, drifts of snow or slush on the streets are commonplace during the period December-March. They simply require a little getting used to.
The Citys snow removal is excellent. Witnessing the City of Montreal Snow Removal Crew move into action is a fascinating event! Urban Living takes on a new dynamic. Huge 26-wheel snow ploughs prowl the streets of the City of Montreal while back-loader tractor ploughs form continuous lines of snowpiles. Smaller belt-driven caterpillar type ploughs zip up and down the sidewalks pushing the snow off the sidewalks past the curb and into the street. Huge snowblowers quickly fill enormous dump trucks which wait in a patient, slow-moving line and drive off to the snow-dumping area once they fill up. The advance guard of the snow removal convoy is the tow trucks, with their claxon-type horns that can make you jump out of bed, and race outside to move your car before the tow trucks pluck the hapless autos out from the drifts and plunk them on adjacent streets! Should your car be the unlucky one, a retrieval phone service will help to locate your car, inevitably a few blocks away! Non-residents learn quickly to adapt to the climate. Observing the combinations of clothing people wear in the winter months is one of my favourite pastimes. Many are creative, most are essential. Mitts are mandatory. Hats with earflaps are gear for here!
We change dramatically when spring starts somewhere between mid-March and the beginning of April. In a few weeks its time to freshen up the summer duds which we will wear into September or even October. Through the fall, we gradually re-adapt to the layered look. Its all fun, and life certainly does not stop for a minute no matter what the weather.
The Underground City
Tourism Montreal publishes a map highlighting Montreals famousnow huge and growing--Underground City of Shopping and Services. In winter you might want to pickup a piece of clothing to help you brave the weather! Others prefer to hang out in this underground mall just to keep warm.
Old Montreal and the Old Port
The Port of Montreal and the Old City are public areas where Montreal Tourism changes with the Seasons. Place Jacques Cartier rings in the New Year with an outdoor stage and music concert. Fireworks are part of the ringing in the New Year and the various Night Clubs and Restaurants do a brisk business during the Holiday Season. A favourite for many is the outdoor skating rink in the Port by the shore of the St. Lawrence River.
Montreal High Lights Festival
Montreal revs up each February with the Montreal Festival of Lights held throughout the last two weeks in Place des Arts and the adjoining courtyard and street. This Annual Winter Festival offers Music, Dance and Outdoor Light Shows which are free. Internationally renowned musicians and eminent artists perform at scheduled indoor events during this Celebration of Light.
Please login to the website for information about The Montreal High Lights Festival , part of Montreal Tourism.
The Mountain is a popular place in all seasons. When covered in snow, the rock's outline against the horizon becomes more pronounced and takes on a different scale. You can experience the stillness of winter in the City on the Mountain at its many vistas and belvederes; its like a large nature preserve, our natural treasure and a great pleasure. On holidays and weekends you'll find children and families on the slopes, for an afternoon of sleighing and sliding. At the top of the Mountain near the Beaver Lake Skating Pond is a ski tow lift where youngsters and beginners can try downhill. Needless to say, there are many cross-country paths on the Mountain.
You can walk to the base of Mont-Royal from Boulanger-bassin B&B in twenty minutes or take the #11 (Montagne) bus from the B&B to the Beaver Lake Stop at the top of Mont-Royal. It's an inexpensive outing and a clear demonstration of how Montrealers embrace the outdoors. Of course February is the month for Valentines Day. Some of my favourite stores are full of chocolate and amourous people!
Springtime and Montreal TourismAs the Sun places higher in the sky and the length of daylight increases, Montreal Tourism looks up and forward to the many activities which springtime holds. The moment the temperature rises, the sidewalks of Montreal and particularly those here in le Plateau Mont-Royal fill with pedestrians. It doesn't take long before some cafés set up their outdoor tables and chairs. The sidewalk on Mont-Royal Avenue at times becomes six abreast! People just out for a stroll, to window shop, to meet with friends or simply to feel the rays of the Sun. Along nearby St. Denis Street and in the Latin Quarter, you'll find people everywhere! The more Sun-starved peel away a layer or two of clothing and gaze to the sky.
Bicycles reappear the minute the streets are clear (in fact some hardy citizens ride their bikes here twelve months of the year!). This single event literally transforms the City of Montreal. Streets become narrower, roller-bladers and skateboarders emerge, joggers return to the many parks including Lafontaine and the City begins to blossom. Those who arrive by air often mention how green the City of Montreal is. Millions of trees contribute to the clean air quality for this island city. Here in the Plateau many residents adorn their sidewalks with planters and soon the concrete is spotted with colour. There is a competiton sponsored by Eco-Quartier which celebrates those residents whose floral initiatives beautify our City of Montreal.