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Montréal for Winter

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Manchester, United...
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Montréal for Winter

How is a holiday to Montréal specifically during the coldest and snowiest time periods to combine snow and a holiday in an urban setting? Being in the UK, Canada obviously have more snow and colder temperatures during winter, thus for example there is not 1 m of snow usually in British cities as those in Canada (i.e. Manchester does not have as much snow as Montréal). I was contemplating Christmas or New Years for 2013/2014, and if not, at least January or February.

Montreal
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1. Re: Montréal for Winter

Well, the holiday will be snowy and cold :)

In general, Montréal is a nicer city to explore in the summer: it's warm and green and the sidewalk cafés are open and there's life in the streets and festivals and so on.

However, the winter can still be nice, and Montréal is still a nice city to visit: an interesting mix of European and North American, a fairly compact downtown beside a well-preserved historic centre, a good transit system that makes it easy to get around town, and some interesting and human-scale inner neighbourhoods with the perfect density that provides us with fairly large apartments but also walkable streets and small parks and enough people to support a large number of shops and restaurants and commercial streets throughout the city,

There's also the underground passageways downtown so if the weather is particularly nasty, you can still get around, although they're not that interesting, more very practical.

There are a few festivals in winter -- the Highlights festival, Igloofest, and La Fête des Neiges which is good for families. And there is a lot of stuff going on indoors of course, although the French theatre scene is MUCH larger than the English one. Luckily, dance and music crosses language barriers more easily.

In terms of weather: you just don't know what it will be like. Sometimes it can be nasty and very very cold, or a nasty snowstorm, or calm and not too cold with beautiful huge snowflakes falling slowly down and walking in Old Montréal on those days can be the most romantic thing you can imagine. After a snowstorm, we normally get clear skies and brilliant sun and everything is white and sparkling and beautiful. And although the snow stays white on lawns and parks, it gets cleared from the streets and turns grey and nasty, and if it warms up, it can turn into slush, or we can get freezing rain that turns the sidewalks into skating rinks or almost, and just horrible to get around. And there's no way of knowing what you'll get. However, for the majority of the winter, it's actually really not that bad.

For what to wear, see tripadvisor.com/Travel-g155032-c141436/Montr…

Manchester, United...
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2. Re: Montréal for Winter

Thanks for the information. I have actually been to Montréal three times, once during a May, and twice during two July's. I prefer colder weather (like UK weather and even colder), and the July weather in Montréal I found quite disgustingly humid and extremely hot. Even May I as in July I was sweating heavily, having to change my shirt twice and sometimes even three times a day due to excess sweating.

I have been around Quartier Latin and the Waterfront during holidays during those summers, and once during the Juste Pour Rire festival, but have never been during winter. I have never experienced snow in a large metropolis (Newcastle and Manchester did not have as much as Montréal) during a holiday, so I thought returning to one of my favourite cities during a snow period, even blizzard-type conditions, would be worthwhile to see the snow.

Montreal
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3. Re: Montréal for Winter

Well it will be good to see how different Montréal is in winter. Oh, everything is still in the same place, we just live a little differently. People still walk the streets, but if it's a cold day there's not much lingering on corners chatting with friends you bumped into -- more a quick Bonjour ça va and Ostie qu'y fait frette which means God is it cold out and you continue on your way. The city stlill bubbles, just more indoors.

Snow in the city is a lot more troublesome than in the countryside, and it gets trucked away making streets that have no setback just the street, sidewalk, then building not very snowy at alll. Snow is its prettiest in the contryside and in city parks where snow plows make trails so you can walk unencumbered. In Parc Lafontaine NW corner and the mountain by Parc and Côte-Sainte-Cathérine children (and adults!) tobaggan and you can use just a flattened box for,the same experience. In the Old Port and Parc Lafontaine you can rent skates, and on the Mountain at Beaver Lake, skis, skates, and snowshoes.

And although the city can be drab during the winter, they do make an effort to liven it up -- the festivals mentioned for example , or pretty lights and shiny coloured things on lamposts and trees and in the Latin Quarter the lights are an interactive art installation for example.

You might get a kick out of seeing rivers frozen over and covered in snow; the Saint Lawrence is kept flowing, but the edges frewze like the old port where it is protected, as does the river to the north so the parks by Hemri-Bourassa métro offer nice views. No biggie, but not something you'd ever see in England.

Edited: 11:57 pm, December 29, 2012
Manchester, United...
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4. Re: Montréal for Winter

That sounds interesting, but how are the inclement weather affect travel? Would it be easy to fly into and out of Montréal during December, January or February with the snow? Do ViaRail have any disruptions each winter due to the weather?

Montreal, Canada
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5. Re: Montréal for Winter

Unless their is a major snowfall of 25cm or more life goes on as normal here in Montreal, and even if there is a major snowfall all forms of transit/transportation are usually back up and running within 24hrs..

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Montréal for Winter

It takes quite a wallop to slow down Montreal, the snow removal ability of the city of this size is second to none...

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7. Re: Montréal for Winter

For having travelled in many cities, I agree with the foregoing.

8. Re: Montréal for Winter

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