Photo cred - gguillaumee
Winter may not officially begin 'til December 21st, but anyone looking out of their window in Montreal will tell you that winter is no longer coming, it is up in our collective grills right now. The flakes are falling and the heralds of the season not only bring tidings of cold weather, but also a whole mess of fears that Montrealers experience everyday during the months of winter.
All cities share certain winter woes, like slippery sidewalks or salt stains, though in Montreal, you have some city-specific terrors of the season. You know them well, as you've been filled with dread for all of fall with their impending arrival. Now the most fearful parts of winter are nearly here, and just in case you've forgotten what the season has in store, here is a harsh reminder of Montrealers greatest winter fears.
Photo cred - Michael Leland
Losing A Single Glove
Somehow, no matter what you do to prevent it, you always lose just one glove at some point throughout the winter. Thor only knows how one glove remains on your person while the other is mysteriously absent, but it happens at least once without fail. Every time you take off a glove, fear will fill your being, making you wonder "is this the last time I'll see my left red mitten?" The answer is yes.
Photo cred - Jonathan Clark
Many have pondered on the architectural origins of Montreal's outdoor staircases, though anyone who has walked up or down one in the winter knows they were designed to cull the population of the city, as the normally steep steps become literal death traps once a thin layer of ice and snow covers the structure. Hold on to those rails peoples, because it's a way down. May Odin be with you if it's a spiral staircase.
Photo cred - Edward Bilodeau
Black Ice (And What's Underneath)
The ninja of the ice world, black ice hides in plain site, lulling you into a false sense of security, until BAM! That's not plain ol' asphalt, that's a huge patch of ice that's put you on your ass. Every step is a gamble with black ice on the streets, and every fall is made even worse at the thought of what could be hidden in the ice and snow you just fell on. Let it stay a mystery, because only future's warm weather will uncover all of the condoms, trash, and puke covered by winter's dandruff.
Photo cred - Bill Baloukas
Pedestrians are not safe on sidewalks in the winter, as at any moment a motorized sidewalk cleaner may crash right into you. Yes, these are easy to avoid, since they're pretty loud and have blinding headlights, but every Montrealer fears meeting one while walking about in winter. Unless you want to get obliterated by an incoming sidewalk cleaner, you'll have to get out of their way, 'cuz they sure as hell ain't moving, which may mean jumping into an adjecant (and dirty) snowbank by the sidewalk. Never a good scene.
Photo cred - gguillaumee
Going Out For A Smoke
Having a smoke (cig or joint) should be a respite from any stressors, a moment to enjoy your addiction without the worries of the world on your mind. Well, not in winter, as the season turns the once-enjoyable action of going out for a smoke into a test of one's conviction and constitution. You will begin to fear your next smoke as the weather begins to drop, not that you'll ever stop going outside for one though.
Photo cred - Stéphane Gauthier
The Bus Possibly Never Showing Up
Once winter hits, the certainty of your bus arriving (relatively) on time is now gone. Standing at a bus stop becomes a test of faith, as you know full well your bus may never show, because, well, winter. Nothing is more fear-inspiring to folks using the STM network than the thought of you standing at the bus stop for Loki knows how long, only for it to never arrive, and you're just there freezing your nips off forever.
Photo cred - Karel Chladek
A Lineup Outside of Any Bar/Club
Actually getting out of your house to go out on the weekends of winter is a feat in itself, a brave endeavour which can quickly turn sour once you see a lineup outside of the bar or club you were looking to go to. Either you wait in the line, ever-fearful that it will take longer to get in than your body can handle, or you go to a shittier spot nearby without a lineup. Neither scenario is all that great, which is why Montrealers get a pit of fear in their gut every time they head out in the winter, praying to the lords of Asgard that the bar isn't at capacity. Bar/club operators should know that during the winter, creating a faux-line to make your venue look busy simply isn't okay.
Photo cred - Marlandova
Montreal is a city of hills, all of which become inclines of doom once winter hits. Walking up or down any street with a slight incline is a scary task, though Montrealers should know by now to steer clear of the city's most treacherous hills at all costs. The mortal fear inspired simply by mentioning Avenue Clarke in Westmount (map) is crippling, in that no one will dare walk up or down 'dat street once even a single snowflake as fallen.
Photo cred - Lou Musacchio
The Very Dark Early Morning
In the summer, or during any other season, you wake up, look outside towards the shining sun, and fantasize at the beauty the day will bring. Winter is another story. You drag yourself out of bed, your bedroom suddenly freezing because the temperature dropped 5 degrees overnight, and head to your window, the sight of a grey, dark sky meeting your gaze, without even the dimmest ray of sunshine to break through winter's blockade. Will it get colder? Will it snow a disgusting amount? Will blocks of ice fall from the sky and crush me? Will I survive? All questions we ask ourselves every, single morning of the seemingly never-ending deep-freeze that is winter. You simply fear a day, any day, everyday while it lasts.
Photo cred - Doug Caribb
The Fear Of Summer Never Coming Back
At some point in mid-February, this ridiculous-sounding statement begins to sound like a very real possibility. Summer becomes a fantasy and you're left wondering: will it ever be summer again? The answer is maybe.
Winter sucks but did you know Montreal’s Olympic Stadium Will Have A Free Public Skating Rink This Winter >
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