Stay Warm For The Winter And Enjoy The Snow As The Locals Do
If you’re staying in Montreal during the winter, you’re in for a lot of fun. Make the best out of it by checking out the frosty festive spirit! But be sure to be well equipped! Montrealers don’t let a bit of cold weather stop them from having fun. From winter sports, to Christmas and New Year parties to Igloofest and Nuit Blanche. Winter doesn’t have to be all about staying cooped up indoors, but it does help to learn some local tips and tricks to staying cosy and stylish as the temperature drops.
The weather can change quickly, suddenly, and dramatically, so check the forecast, but prepare for all eventualities anyway. Layers are key, and always carry sunglasses and an umbrella! Many people from warmer areas have little experience of wind chill, not considering it to be part of the “real” temperature, but it is real and makes a huge difference, so it is worth paying attention to the “feels like” temperature in the forecast. Windproof coats and jackets are a huge asset here, and wearing waterproof outer snowpants just to walk around town is perfectly acceptable.
Gloves, hats, and scarves are essentials – not accessories – in wintertime Montréal. Mittens are better than gloves, as mittens have less surface area to let the heat escape from between the fingers. Ears freeze easily, which is why tuques that cover the ears are such a popular style of hat. If you decide to sit in an outdoor hot tub when the temperature is at its lowest, don’t forget to wear a hat or towel around your head, because even if the rest of you is warm, your earlobes can still get frostbite!
KEEP WARM AND DRY
Footwear has a tough time in Montréal, as salt and grit on the sidewalks can quickly spoil leather and suede finishes. Changes in temperature mean snow often turns to slush, and so it can be hard to keep shoes dry. Rubber rain boots are tough and durable, and range from cheap and cheerful ones sold in dollar stores to highly fashionable styles. Keeping your feet dry and warm makes a huge difference. So if you are going to be walking about in the snow at the coldest times of the year (January and February), it is worth making sure you have well insulated footwear by checking the temperature guide on the labels, and making sure they are waterproof and not just “water resistant”.
There are various sprays and treatments to waterproof shoes – an option to consider if you don’t want to buy footwear specially for your trip. Snow ploughs often leave big piles of snow at the side of the road, so high boots are popular. It is not fun to step into a snow pile that turns out to be deeper than you expected!
Walking on icy sidewalks can be tricky too. Ice hides underneath snow, and black ice can be very hard to see. Footwear with a good gripping surface helps. Styles with heels that send a lot of pressure to small parts of the foot can be especially tricky. Some boots are manufactured with little spikes to help grip the ice, and you can buy ice grippers or cleats to put over your own shoes. You may see people doing the “Montreal shuffle” – sliding their feet rather than walking heel-toe. The cold doesn’t stop Montrealers from going out and dancing, even at the coldest time of year. So why should it stop you? Come on down and enjoy the winter fun as the locals!