The 4 Seasons of Montreal: Is It Really That Cold in Montreal?

The 4 Seasons of Montreal: Is It Really That Cold in Montreal?

Did you know that Montreal, an island situated in the Quebec province of Canada, is the second-largest city in the entire country? Montreal is certainly a city of extremes. It is one of the largest French-speaking cities in the world (overtaken only by Paris itself), it plays host to over 100 events and festivals throughout the year, and is considered to be one of North America’s most exciting cultural hubs.

The weather in Montreal is also a wide spectrum. The summers are humid and warm, and the winters are cold and frosty. All four seasons of Montreal are very distinct, each boasting its own individual quality.

If you are planning to move to Montreal, here you can find all the tips you would need to enjoy the weather, not only in the winter, but all year round. Let’s begin!

Is It Really That Cold?

On average, temperatures will sit around or below freezing during the city’s cold periods. Winter weather can last for several months in Montreal too – from the middle of November to April, on average. It is, however, not necessarily considered to be a bad trait, and the region of Quebec has many great things to offer. The cold comes with the territory, but it adds its own charm to the city. It’s not a climate to be afraid of, nor is it uncomfortable, providing you have the right tools.

In the same way that it’s worth investing in air-conditioning in hotter countries, it’s worth properly preparing for the winter in Montreal. The city itself is equipped with the means to cope with the cold. The city’s public transport company ‘STM’ prepares for winter every year and from the middle of November, their entire fleet of buses (almost 2,000, in fact) is fitted with all-new tyres to combat the snow and ice. They work with the city council to ensure public transport runs smoothly and efficiently throughout the cold months. Just because it is cold, it doesn’t mean that your day-to-day life has to come to a standstill. The city is not plunged into a dreary grey cloud of doom and gloom, if anything, Montreal comes alive in the winter.

There are plenty of days with bright sunshine and blue skies, even during the coldest periods, which makes the entire city sparkle with ice and light. 

What to Do In The Winter

If you’re not used to the cold, it’s easy to assume the city goes into hibernation during winter, but the reality is much the opposite. Montreal thrives in the cold, as much as it does in the spring and summer, which is proven year on year by how many fun things there are to do. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or one to opt for creature comforts, there will be something for everyone even at the coldest of temperatures. Winter is perfect for anyone interested in sports or the outdoors. The snow and cold provide the perfect opportunity to try your hand at snowboarding, ice skating, or what Canada is most famous for, ice hockey! The NHL (National Hockey League) was actually born in Montreal way back in 1917, and the city homed the league’s headquarters until 1989. 

If you do tend to opt for coziness and comfort, Montreal can absolutely still offer you exactly that.

The city and its outer reaches have an abundance of gorgeous Nordic spas, perfect for a long, lazy day of relaxation. Dip into hot, steaming baths set against the beautiful winter backdrop, freshen up again in the snow if you’re brave enough, before settling into the finale of the experience with a long nap in the hot stone sauna.
If you’re also a foodie, then Montreal is perfect, as the Canadian staple of poutine was actually created in Quebec, which is likely why it hits the spot so well on a cold day. The name ‘poutine’ itself literally translates to ‘a mess’, and is an apt name considering its appearance. A mountain of French fries topped with melting cheese curds and warm brown gravy, it’s the perfect street food to feast on.

There are a great many sports and activities to enjoy in the winter in Montreal, whether it is a solo day of downhill skiing or taking the family ice skating in Parc La Fontaine.

If you have a bit more of a thrill-seeking streak, try your hand at ice canyoning and abseil down the facade of a frozen waterfall. The city can offer all of this and more, even at the height of winter.

How to Cope With The Cold

The best way to combat the cold is proper clothing. An immediate thought would be to invest in the biggest, thickest winter coat you can find – which is a completely fair assumption! But in reality, layering is maybe the most effective way to help cope with the cold. Underclothes are a key to winter dress. Good insulator materials like wool are a surefire way to keep the warmth close to you, so long-johns and thermal tops are a must-have. Then you can layer up with long-sleeved tops, flannel shirts, sweaters and cardigans. Couple this with a good winter coat, and you’re ready to tackle the chill. 

A sturdy pair of boots is also a Montreal must-have in the winter. Make sure they have soles with a good grip, are made of waterproof material, like leather, and are at least ankle height. This can help keep your feet warm and dry when walking through the snow.

A hat and scarf are also staples in your winter wardrobe. Look for the thickest material possible, something that keeps the heat in such as wool, and a style of hat that protects the ears as well as your head.
A neck gaiter is also a life-saver, as you can pull it up or down at will – perfect for if there’s a sudden gust of icy wind to protect your face from. It may sound like a bit of a curveball, but it’s also worth investing in a good pair of sunglasses. The rays of the sun are still strong despite the cold, and UV tends to get reflected back at you from the sparkling white blankets of snow coating the ground.

Properly dressed, there is no reason to let the weather dictate how you spend your winter in Montreal.
As the saying goes, there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.

Seasons Of Montreal

If you are looking to immigrate anywhere, then Montreal has it all. Winter may well be your biggest concern, and it does get very cold. Temperatures tend to drop into the minus for most of the winter months, but this doesn’t hinder activities as much as you would think.

You can take the family cross-country skiing along Parc Du Mont-Royal or find some festive cheer outdoors at the Montreal Christmas village in Atwater Market. And what better way to ignite your sweet tooth than with a visit to one of the city’s famed sugar shacks?

Spring into summer in Montreal is as stunning as it is in the winter. As temperatures start to warm up after the colder months, the city itself blossoms. Springtime is best enjoyed by taking a trip downtown to the gorgeous Botanical Gardens, close to the Olympic village. You can take an afternoon stroll around 75 beautiful hectares of land, home to a number of incredible themed gardens and huge greenhouses.

Summer in Montreal plays host to many different events and festivals. You can watch the skies light up during the Montreal Fireworks Festival, an incredible event that sees different countries participate in the largest of pyrotechnic competitions.

Montreal is also home to the world-famous Cirque de Soleil. The neighbourhood of Saint-Michael is transformed into a hub for the arts during the middle of July, where you and the family can enjoy street performers, indoor and outdoor acts, and free acrobatic performances. Montreal is also famous for its gorgeous autumns. As the humidity of summer starts to fade and the leaves begin to fall from their branches, the city is plunged into technicolour. The city is home to more than 300,000 trees, and as they shed their greenery to sport a fiery jacket of reds, yellows, and browns, it proves that autumn is one of the most aesthetic and beautiful seasons.

Year-round, Montreal is a gorgeous place to live. Whether it’s ablaze in autumnal colours or glittering beneath a blanket of snow, there is no denying that it is Quebec’s biggest and best city for good reason.
Moving to Montreal

The seasons of Montreal all benefit life in the city. It is a cultural hub, full of diversity, excitement, and stunning scenery. If relocating to Montreal is on your list, then what better time than now?

We offer personal services to aid you and your family with settling into your new life. You can also find several great articles explaining the intricacies of life in Canada on our blog.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and check out our other services!