The decorations still weren't up as of Monday, leading antsy members of community Facebook groups to wonder why — some theorizing it had become too dangerous for whoever's maintaining the installation. Meanwhile, others questioned whether the secret daredevil trespassers behind the pink house are graffiti artists who recently passed away.
But on Tuesday morning, neighbourhood residents began noticing that Secret Santa had paid the pink house a visit overnight, leaving a Christmas tree, huge blue gift, ribbons on the window shutters and a wreath — different decorations than last year, which featured a big yellow present.
One such resident was photographer Shaune Thompson who snapped a picture of the house in its holiday attire.
"I drive to work every day along Rue Saint-Ambroise and finally spotted something new on the roof [Tuesday] morning," Thompson told MTL Blog. "I am so happy our Secret Santa returned this year and brought a special Christmas to Saint-Henri."
"I've been up there before. The last 40 feet is with a ladder, outside, and it's high," Steven Quon said. "It's unacceptable and it's dangerous."
While we may have no idea who's behind the little pink house, one thing's for sure: their dangerous stunts are not in vain.
"St Henri has a mysterious Santa who, to the delight of all, miraculously scales the ruins of our beloved and historical Canada Malting silos to annually install a fully dressed Christmas tree. Alongside the tree is an enormous present with a gift tag addressed to St Henri from Little Pink. This year a large wreath was added to the side of the pink house as well," wrote Centre d’Art E. K. Voland in an Instagram post about the pink house.
"Whoever gifts us with this phenomenal feat every year chooses to remain anonymous which greatly adds to the charm. Thank-you to whomever you may be! This tree has become emblematic of the love we all share for the hood."
Sure, there are COVID-19 measures in effect, but you can still get outside and explore your city. From enchanting scenery to winter sports to illuminated walks with a cup of hot cocoa in hand, Omicron can't take away ALL our fun.
Why You Need To Go: Feel the magic as you skate across this illuminated 500-metre trail at Parc Jean-Drapeau. According to the website, it's "refrigerated and regularly maintained, thereby ensuring a memorable experience, especially after a small snowfall."
When: December 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and December 26 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed December 25)
Address: 105, rue Sainte-Catherine O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: With more than 30 local artisans, in a setting fit for a Christmas movie, The Great Montreal Christmas Market is the ideal holiday weekend activity. On-site, you can taste all kinds of delicacies such as tartiflette, waffles, churros and hot chocolate.
Address: Starting at Lola Petite Bourgogne, 2652, rue Notre-Dame O., Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: If you're up for a challenge this weekend, the escape game company A/Maze has put together an outdoor escape game, "The Winter Store Fronts," a holiday treasure hunt in the streets of Little Burgundy. To play, you'll use a special journal to solve riddles that "the holiday spirit spread around the neighbourhood shops."
Address: On Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, between Crescent and McGill College
Why You Need To Go: This Saturday, warm your heart with a choir that will sing holiday classics with a hip-hop twist. With a cup of coffee or hot cocoa in hand and their sweet voices ringing in your ears, you might just believe in the magic of Christmas.
Why You Need To Go: The borough of Verdun is known for being one of the most decorated neighbourhoods on the Island of Montreal. Take a stroll through its streets and take in the bright lights that could almost blind Santa Claus.
"Saturday we are letting people who absolutely want to meet and gather in a group of 10 to do so," said Premier Legault.
"However, I invite all Quebecers who are able to postpone celebrations to do so and also once again we're asking to have only one celebration either the 24th or the 25th of December, for example, but not both nights."
Legault stressed that Quebecers aged 60 and up should be particularly cautious when it comes to holiday gatherings since 70% of hospitalizations are people in that age range, mainly those who haven't yet gotten the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"People who are 60 and over, perhaps ideally you stay home," said Legault. "If you stay home there is no risk. If you must absolutely go to a family gathering or friendly gathering, you must know that there is a risk."
Legault suggested four ways of minimizing this risk: reducing the number of people, wearing a mask, keeping a distance of 2 metres with other people and opening at least one window in the house to ventilate the area.
You can have 10 people in your home until Christmas. However, Legault announced that starting Sunday, private gathering limits will be reduced to six people or two household bubbles. This will also apply to tables at restaurants.
On December 22, the province recorded 6,361 new COVID-19 cases, 445 total hospitalizations with 88 of those patients in intensive care. There have been 501,698 cases officially reported in Quebec since the beginning of the pandemic.
This article’s left-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
With about a week to go until Christmas (can you believe it?) and with hardly any snow on the ground, you may be wondering if you'll get to experience a white Christmas in Montreal this year.
According to The Weather Network's 2021 "Holiday Snow Report," which it released Friday morning, the chance of Montrealers seeing a white Christmas is actually pretty high.
"Most of southern Ontario and Quebec is devoid of snow after two bursts of uncommonly high temperatures, but all is not quite lost: a system this weekend will bring 5-10 cm over a wide area," says The Weather Network's report.
"Ottawa and Montreal should stay cold enough over next week to let them hold on to any snow that does fall."
Other cities may not be so lucky — if you, in fact, consider an end-of-December snow dump a good thing.
The Weather Network predicts that Windsor and Halifax have low chances of seeing a white Christmas. Charlottetown and St. John's have medium-level chances.
Overall, The Weather Network expects that "the majority of Canada is likely to see a white Christmas, but for a third of the population, whether it's a white or green Christmas will come right down to the wire, and depend on how some particular details shape up in the leadup to the day."
According to the report, this year's holiday forecast is in line with past trends. Historically, 77% of Montreal Christmases have been snow-filled.
Based on The Weather Network's 14-day forecast, the weather on December 24 will be a mix of sun and clouds, reaching a high of -3 and a low of -6. December 25 is expected to be sunny with a high of -3 and a low of -7. However, the daytime temperature could feel closer to -8 C with the windchill.
While you may not be able to watch the snow fall from your window on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, at least there will likely be a beautiful blanket of white snow on the ground. Not even Omicron can take that away from us.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Price: $60/person for a reservation; Hiverside also accepts walk-ins
When: Thursdays to Saturdays
Where: Riverside Bar, 5020, rue Saint-Ambroise, Montreal, QC
Why You Need To Go: The cold will never stop Montrealers from enjoying the things we love, like a night out for drinks. Riverside's transformation into Hiverside, a bar carved from real ice, is the perfect example.
Why You Need To Go: Montreal's new supper club, 212, now serves Sunday brunch so the good times keep rolling straight through to your favourite meal of the week. There are some fancy dishes on offer like eggs benedict with cognac and caviar hollandaise and frittatas dusted with actual gold powder.