In case you haven't noticed, it's frickin' hot outside.
40+ degree heat has shattered long-standing records and killed at least 15 people in Montreal. Local retailers have run out of air conditioning units and many have been without power for a few days.
Humidity only exacerbates the high temperatures. It often feels five to seven degrees warmer than the air temperature. With thousands of kilometres of pavement, millions of people, and high density, the city is especially scorching.
That density and activity has also produced a cloud of smog that looms over the downtown core. Such pollution can multiply temperatures and intensify health dangers.
Luckily, the Montreal metro area has one of the best public transit systems on the continent, even though it may not always feel like it.
To combat the smog, the STM has begun issuing FREE two-way metro and bus tickets to pedestrians downtown. Over 40,000 tickets are up for grabs at kiosks on dozens of street corners.
The metro offers at least a small respite from the heat. Despite a lack of environmental controls, changing air pressure and the movement of trains keep the tunnels and cavernous stations relatively cool.
Keep your eye out for STM banners announcing "Bye Bye Smog!"