10 Quintessentially Montreal Signs That Spring Is Here

Oh god, is THAT what the sidewalk looks like?!

Staff Writer
People sit on the lawn next to Beaver Lake in Mount Royal Park.

People sit on the lawn next to Beaver Lake in Mount Royal Park.

The depths of winter have passed us by (hopefully), with their minus 35 degree wind chills, endless piles of filthy snow and frost-tinged fingers and toes. Now, we're entering the slush-and-rain period (again, hopefully) which other, more fortunate places might call "spring." But despite its trials, spring in Montreal is a crucial herald of summer, that best of seasons when everything seems okay for a little while.

In the meantime, we hold on to little signs of the coming warmth, like these ten harbingers which, for better or for worse, welcome us into spring.

The sidewalk emerges, and we wish it wouldn't

Any Montrealer can tell you — and will, loudly — that when the snow thaws and the sidewalk reappears, not only do we benefit from extra walking space, but we also are faced with the refuse that was hidden from us by the generous snow.

There, a dog poop. Here, a dog poop. Further still, a pile of cigarette butts. Beyond, a heap of gravel — the collected remnants of innumerable layers of stones spread to prevent slipping on ice.

Is that vomit? Next to the scraps of Tim Hortons garbage?

And lo, in the distance: the curved peak of a construction cone, reminding us of the work that will soon resume, to our great chagrin.

Opening the window is kind of nice again...

...until the smell of all that disgusting thawing trash is carried directly into your home by that lovely crisp breeze.

At least it's better than a snowy Armageddon taking over your bedroom.

That one guy reappears, in a T-shirt and... Birkenstocks?!

There he is, like an angel of the warmer weather: the overconfident but mostly harmless breed of man who seems convinced that "not freezing" temperatures are the same as "summer clothing" temperatures.

In his foolhardy shorts, shirt and sunglasses, shivering slightly against the wind, he reminds us of the true heat that is to come.

Your big coat becomes suffocating

One way to tell when the winter is relinquishing us from its grasp is to notice when your heavy-duty coat becomes more of a burden than a necessity. "Soon, it'll be time for no coats at all," your thinner jacket — which in other cities would serve as your sole winter jacket — whispers in your ear.

The sun is still up when your workday is over!

It's a special type of near-euphoria to realize that 4 p.m. sunsets are firmly a thing of the past, for now. Squinting up from your classwork into the setting sun is almost as refreshing as winter sunsets are depressing.

Speaking of seasonal depression, she's fading away

This is the time of year when your Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) begins to thaw into regular sad.

No longer must we rely on the sunlight lamps and vitamin D pills, because the sun is returning in all her glory.

You do still have to take your psychiatric meds, though. Sorry folks. Don't get too excited.

The snow stops dampening the sounds of traffic 

In fact, just about everything feels a little louder. It's the polar opposite of the gentle quiet that comes after the first big snow: it's a soft roar that fills our ears with the bustling sounds of people, especially children.

The kids are back! 

Suddenly, children are everywhere! It's not too cold for their tiny little hands and feet, and their happiness is palpable. It's one of the nicest things to notice: an influx of baby joy can turn your day around, if you're a nice person who doesn't hate kids for no reason.

Your utility bills are no longer heart-stopping

Montreal's unique residential architecture is remarked upon by every tourist and is a key factor in the city's beauty, but the metropolis' century-old buildings are NOT well insulated. You might wear double socks & a sweater and devotedly cover your windows with plastic to keep your thermostat down, but when that December-January Hydro-Québec or Energir bill lands it's still like your rent just doubled.

The first utility bill of the new year that makes you feel like you might not go bankrupt is sort of like a personal finance version of the first robin of spring.

You can talk to your neighbours about something besides the freezing cold

Forget snow and ice and bonding over the pains of shovelling, now you guys can talk about fun things! Like going to the park, or summer festivals, or terrasse season coming back.

The weather isn't trying to force you back into your hermetically sealed bubble, so you can relax and engage in (gasp) real human connection.

Or just scroll outfit inspo on TikTok, it's okay. But maybe say hi next time, eh?

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Willa Holt
Staff Writer
Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog, often found covering weird and wonderful real estate and local politics from her home base in Montreal.
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