Winter in Montreal


Myriam Jézéquel
Journalist, freelance

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“My country, it’s not a country, it’s winter” sang Gilles Vigneault as a distinctive sign of Quebec. The small mountains of snow in the heart of the city often make the big mountains of urban legends about the winter cold in Montreal! This may impress the family back home in Europe. But not enough to discourage Montrealers from enjoying the beautiful season here at home!

Montreal in winter – Mount Royal: winter beauty


There are all kinds of clichés about the Quebec winter. Thirty years ago, when I was told that sometimes a bus driver had to get out of his vehicle to help a frozen passenger get on the bus, my blood ran cold. Certainly, snowstorms, cold waves, freezing rain are icy realities but exceptional. And above all, they are tempered by a hyper-functional societal system: adapted winter clothes, underground commercial life, festive and warm outdoor activities, massive snow removal from the streets, etc. A daily life prepared for the coldest weather!

Montreal in winter – Skating at Beaver Lake on Mount Royal

In concrete terms, in Montreal you will learn to dress in onion skins (several layers thick) and to wear Canadian brand coats (more resistant to the cold), to put on winter tires, to clear your driveway with a snow shovel, to locate food kiosks in underground tunnels, to get around in the metro during a storm or on a sled for the little ones, to listen to the weather forecast before leaving for work, to climb the mountains near Montreal… Mittens (gloves), tuque (hat), underpants will become part of your vocabulary! As well as boot scrapers, boot covers and anti-slip soles. Also, “honey, where did you remember to put logs in the stove?”. Hear the chimney.

Montreal in winter – the joys of sledding from early childhood: know how to slide before you walk!


The first winter in Montreal is often the most magical. If you are used to the white powdery landscape, the “snowfall” effect can catch you off guard. In a few hours, the city is covered with snow until you can no longer see the roof of your car on the street. A great burst of white. An enveloping brightness. Big flakes like winter suns. Ah the first snow bath is unforgettable! Just like the first sled on Mount Royal, the first skating or ice hockey on the frozen lake, the first snowshoe walk in the forest, the lighted ski slopes, the jolts on the snowmobile or the long dog sled rides, the white fishing. Between the 34 arenas, the 260 skating rinks, the 19 large parks… you have the choice of activities and the leisure to get active in winter! And with all the activities, winter seems to stretch out pleasantly without dragging on. Sometimes, without realizing it, it lasts from November to April… even May! January is the coldest and the days are the shortest. But, it is also at the beginning of the year, that we enjoy the streets always sparkling with Christmas decorations.

Montreal in winter – park under its snow coat


Montrealers love anything that lights up the eyes and the heart… The party in the city doesn’t wait until the ice melts. Festivals in the entertainment district and outdoor shows raise the adrenaline thermometer. A host of cultural events and fun, sports and gastronomic activities are offered to families.

Montreal in winter – Place Jacques Cartier – the magic of the holiday lights

Montreal in winter – the magic of Christmas in the streets of Old Montreal

Some shows in Montreal:

Igloofest : the electronic music festival in the Old Port of Montreal

Montreal’s Festival of Lights

Luminotherapy, A journey of light works

Montreal in winter – Igloofest: we know how to party in any season, you just have to keep your hat on!

In Quebec City (to be mentioned anyway):

Carnival in Quebec

Snow Pentathlon in Quebec

Igloofest Quebec

Montreal in winter – knowing how to have fun even when it’s cold: we move to music and it warms our hearts!


  • Put on your snowshoes and stroll the trails of Mount Royal Park for a panoramic view of the snowy city
  • You can skate or try inner tube sliding at Beaver Lake
  • Comfort yourself with a poutine, a beaver tail (dessert) or a hot chocolate
  • Relax in a Scandinavian or Nordic spa, immersing your body in a warm bath surrounded by a winter landscape
  • Walk through the network of 32 kilometers of underground tunnels linking shopping malls to gyms, restaurants and downtown buildings


Montreal in winter – a squirrel comes to meet you

Montreal in winter – meeting for a Little Prince : the fox friend
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