11 Things Only Montrealers Understand About Winter
#7 Driving is more of an art than a science.
Photo cred - Théo La Photo
Some will tell you that it's really not so bad, and even, that they actually kind of enjoy winter. Clearly, these people have slipped on the ice once to many times, knocking sense right out of their noodle, because our winters, Montreal winters, are seriously no bueno. Not compared to our summers, anyway. That said, dealing with that season that shall not be named each year has taught us a thing or two along the way, giving Montrealers an understanding of it like no other. It's the reason we manage to survive it time after time, and more importantly, kept us from completely losing our minds.
1. Sidewalks are never to be trusted.
Winter sidewalks in Montreal can basically be categorized into two types: Risky and certain doom. There's a special skill required to navigate these city streets when all that white stuff has settled, and Montrealers are innately aware that with each and every step we take, lies potential for broken bones, or at the very least, making a complete and utter ass of ourselves.
2. If you build it, they will come.
Summer in pretty much anywhere is a hot bed for outdoor revelry and all-round good times. But while most other cities tend to pack it all up as soon as the mercury drops, Montreal has figured out that if you build it, we will come. Just because it's cold enough to freeze the tits off a polar bear, doesn't mean the party has to stop. It's become traditional now to bundle up in our favourite onesies, brave the cold and celebrate everything from EDM, to food, to culture, with invigorating results at events like Igloofest and Montréal en Lumière, to name a couple.
3. A sunny day means the opposite of warm
While a sunny day usually conjures up notions of pleasant breezes and warming rays on your face, Montrealers are quick to recognize that clear blue skies in the winter are a sign of extra crispy coldness. Sunny days at the beginning of the year tend to spell frigid temperatures, the kind of frigid temperatures that freeze our eyeballs shut and can actually make us pray it snows.
4. Dude, where's my car?
It's important not to panic in these situations. You just need to carefully retrace every step and embark on a wild adventure where you'll meet a variety of interesting characters from angry girlfriends, a transsexual stripper after a suitcase of stolen money, a cult of alien-seeking fanatics, and the group of aliens searching for a mystical device that could either save or destroy the world.
5. Slush is its own lifeforce.
To many outsiders, snow appears to be pretty, and charming, fluttering down from the sky like little bits of heavenly fluff, making everything look like a Christmas Village. While it can sometimes have that effect the truth is snow has an evil twin cousin called slush that likes to gather on sidewalks, and street corners, and in doorways, and pretty much anywhere and everywhere else it can manage to fester, making the reality of winter time in Montreal a living hell. A frozen living hell.
6. The rage when those little orange snow removal signs pop up out of nowhere.
Montreal has one of the biggest and best snow removal infrastructures in Canada, even launching its very own app to help citizens keep track of clearing schedules after large snowfalls. Handy sure, but only a Montrealer can fathom the kind of internal rage that manifests itself when discovering that the parking spot they just spent an hour finding, digging out and getting their car into, has somehow just been tagged for clearing in the time it took them to walk from the car to the front door.
7. Driving is more of an art than a science.
We already know that we have questionable driving skills, but in the winter, there are pretty much no rules. The only goal we really aim for is just driving in a straight line without hitting anything. Montrealers understand that street lanes are more suggested guidelines than anything else, and parking wherever the hell we feel like is just fine.
8. Winter does not start on December 21.
While the winter solstice officially defines winter as being December 21 up here in the Northern hemisphere, Montrealers have already busted out our Canada Goose parkas and Timberland boots way before that, back in October. The real trick or treating part of Halloween is in fact figuring out whether or not we need to make our costumes fit over a snowsuit.
9. Anything above -10 is warm.
Anywhere else, when the thermometer shows temperatures below zero, it's time to wrap up in as many warm layers and knitwear scarfs as possible. For a Montrealer though, anything not in the negative double digits means getting out the sun screen and grabbing the nearest beach chair to work on a little pre-summer tan.
10. Teamwork is important.
For 6 months of the year, Montrealers are kind of smug assholes, maybe holding a door open for each other, but doing so with a mild air of contempt. But winter time does manage to bring out the best in us, as we know the only way to beat winter is together. So we join forces, and when a fellow Montrealer is struggling to get out of a deep snowbank or stuck in the middle of the road, we invariably, and without needing to say a word, lend a helping hand and a push. One of the rare examples the language divide in this city is a complete non-factor.
11. When summer finally does return, it's too damn hot.
After months, and months, and months, of relentless snow, and cold, and ice, the heat at last returns to Montreal and graces our fair city with the best summer anyone could ever ask for. The trees are green, the flowers are out, and we are finally free to frolic about in the sunshine. Only problem... it's now too damn hot and we're all too damn sweaty.