Off Season Traveling in Montréal: How to Stay Warm

Montreal in Winter
Picture by Susan Van Gelder

What’s the best time to visit Montréal? If you’re not into skiing or some other Winter sport then the answer is during the summer, of course – it’s not all ice and snow all year long. But still, planning a trip in Montréal during the Winter season (after the new year), when prices of accommodations and other travel-related expenses are lower, can make for some bargain holidays that are mightily interesting!

Temperature Matters

True, temperatures can get as low as minus thirty fairly easily during the months of January and February but this is not everyday weather and there are plenty of ways to avoid freezing your nose and toes off when it gets that bad. To start with, buildings in Québec and Canada are typically well heated up. If you’re wondering why Canadians are the ones using the most energy on the planet (per capita), it’s because it all goes into the heating. The Winter may be harsher on that side of the Atlantic, but the heating and isolation of the buildings is much better than in many European countries (which, in the end, translates into warmer houses for the occupants).

Travelers not used to Canadian temperatures simply need to not compromise on clothing. If you don’t want to or cannot invest in proper winter clothes, bring many layers to compensate. Wool is great to keep warm and some synthetic outer layer will block the wind. Don’t think you can make it without proper boots however – make sure they are warm and water resistant. Yes, Montréal gets cleaned up very quickly when there is a snow storm but when you are in that snow storm, you need the boots.

Going Downtown

Exploring the downtown area during the winter is fairly easy on account of there being an underground city. It’s a shopping mall ambiance and this might not be your thing but the point is that it allows you to cover some significant distance without going outside at all.

Know also that there are several winter time festivals and activities going on during this time of the year and the city is not dull at all. Places like the Biodome and the Botanical Garden have indoor facilities which make for awesome contrasts (there are tropical greenhouses and desert-like environments to be visited inside). Otherwise, there are NFL hockey games going on and the regular features of Montréal – like a large selection of excellent restaurants and the many cultural activities such as theatre are going full swing at this time as well.

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