Old Photos Of The Worst Snowstorms In Montreal History Prove We've Got Winter In Our DNA

Montreal, you are one tough cookie!
Old Photos Of The Worst Snowstorms In Montreal History Prove We've Got Winter In Our DNA
  • Every year, as the months of November and December roll around, our city gets hit with a bunch of white dust. And throughout the winter months, we're bound to experience a snowstorm or two.
  • Even though us Montreal folk are tough, there are some snowstorms that we can't even brave.
  • Find out all about Montreal's worst snowstorms below!

Montreal locals are tough. Every year, we face horrendous conditions and massive amounts of snow and we still remain a city full of life. Throughout the years, Montreal has been hit with some pretty serious snowstorms. From experience, we know that as we begin to see snowflakes falling, it is just the start of our long winter season.

Montreal summers are beautiful, spring is pleasant, fall is spectacular, and winter is winter. Although some people love the cold and winter wonderland months, I'm someone who is constantly trying to plot my escape to somewhere warm the second I start to see snow.

Historically speaking, Montreal has had some pretty wild snowstorms, some of which I was alive to witness and others that I heard about through my dad. 

Thinking about this, I thought it could be interesting to go through some of the worst storms in Montreal history. I also thought it would be a good chance to prepare you all for what is to come. 

Every year’s first snowfall acts as a gentle reminder for us Montrealers to buckle up and get ready for some very long, cold, white snowflake-filled months ahead.

Archives De La Ville De Montréal

The Ice Storm Of Late February (1961)

From February 25 to 26 of 1961, Montreal was hit with one of the worst ice storms it had ever seen, which ended up costing the city 7 million dollars of damages.

The wind blowing through the city reached a speed of 130 km/h. That combined with the 30 millimetres of freezing rain is what added to the intensity of this storm. Many locals lost power for a few days and it's still considered to be one of the worst storms in our city's history.

The Snowstorm Of The Century (1971)

The 1971 snowstorm is still known to this day as the snowstorm of the century, which paints a pretty lively picture of how bad conditions were.

The storm hit Montreal on March 4, 1971, and dumped 47 centimetres of snow onto our city. This amount of snow combined with the 110 km/h winds ended up destroying power lines and cables all throughout the island.

Some areas in Montreal were without power for up to 10 days. And the worst effect of the storm was that 17 people lost their lives during it.

To put it into the perspective of how bad the storm really was, it caused the cancellation of a Habs game — something that rarely happens.

Archives De La Ville De Montréal

The "Snow Removers Are On Strike" Storm (1972)

We are lucky enough to have awesome snow removers working throughout the winter to make sure that we can get around the city. Really, we should give them more credit than we do.

In February of 1972, a massive blizzard hit eastern Canada and Montreal got swarmed with about 15 inches of snow, which for us, isn’t that bad.

However, what made this a disaster was the fact that our city snow removal workers had gone on strike during this time. So, the snow around the city kept piling up.

The Montreal Ice Storm (1998)

Of course, the infamous Montreal ice storm of '98 would make this list, and for good reason. The '98 ice storm left our city covered in 10 cm of ice, which is twice as much as the '61 ice storm.

As a child, I remember fearing that chunks of ice would crash down onto me and my family and killing us all. Granted, I was a slightly dramatic child, but the reality was that conditions were incredibly dangerous and many of us locals lost power for numerous days.

In total, 25 people lost their lives in the storm and about $3 billion were spent cleaning up the city, 5,000 trees in Mount Royal Park had to be cut/trimmed and countless streets were closed off. The Canadian Armed forces had to be called in due to the horrible conditions and large amounts of damage caused by this terrible storm.

The Valentine's Day Weather Massacre (2007)

February is always a cold month, this we know. But, in 2007 on the day before Valentine's day, it reached new levels of storming as our city was rocked with a massive snowstorm.

Not only did the storms result in schools and flights being cancelled but the roads were in such bad conditions that cars weren’t able to drive through them.

The 15-20 centimetres of fresh snow, accompanied by 60 km/h winds, forced the city into a state of panic. And, florists around the city tried to arrange themselves to have their deliveries dropped off, which made for a terrible day of business.

The Coldest February EVER (2015)

Technically this isn’t a storm but an entire month of freezing hell, which is why I thought it was worth adding to this list. Unlike the snowstorms and ice storms on this list, February 2015 was 28 days of pure intense and cold conditions and it was confirmed to be the coldest February in Montreal in over 100 years. Twelve of the 28 days of this month had temperatures below -20 C.

And, we all survived it, which means we can pretty much tackle anything. Pat yourself on the back for that one, Montreal.

The Montreal Snowfall Record Is Broken (2012)

As previously stated, 1971 was an intense winter for Montreal and its locals. However, that intense snowfall was nothing compared to what went down in 2012.

On December 27, two days after a not so white Christmas, our city got hit with massive amounts of snow.

For those of you who remember this horrendous storm, Montrealers experienced a downpour of 43 centimetres of snow, which was the largest mass of snow to fall in recorded history.

The good news was that no deaths were reported and the only things that happened were flight delays and cancellations, as well as closed roads and highways.

I remember there being an eerie calmness to the city that I was not used to. Thankfully, it didn’t last too long and Montrealers were back in action that same week!

Here's to hoping our winters only get better from here on out...

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